Wednesday, April 25, 2007


DRTV advertising is a metrics-driven business, and media buying is all about efficiency. How many dollars do you get from an advertisement or a particular media channel in return for the dollars you spend? Upon entering the online world, agencies agree, advertisers thinking strictly in those terms will tend to put all of their money into paid-search ads on engines, such as Google and Yahoo. Paid search usually has the highest efficiency, by far, of all forms of online advertising, so that strategy seems obvious.

But it quickly leads to problems, says Jeremi Karnell, president and co-founder of One to One Interactive, a Charlestown, Mass., marketing agency specializing in digital media. "It's a mistake to throw all of your money into paid search," Karnell says. "It's like a drug: Companies see how efficient it is at the beginning, and they can't get enough. They pay no attention to testing other channels, and then they're left hanging when the inventory runs out and the efficiency is gone."

Paid search often is the best place to start with online advertising, Karnell says; it just isn't the place to stop. "Any single channel [for DR products] has a short lifespan," he says. "That's true everywhere, but especially online."

It's easy to track and measure the number of clicks on a paid-search ad that translated directly into sales on your website. What isn't so easy to figure out is what motivated those ready buyers to click through to you in the first place. Did they recognize your name when it popped up among the paid listings on Google, because they had seen some of your seemingly inefficient banner ads previously? Or, maybe visitors clicked on one to check you out before they were ready to buy. Karnell points to recent research by the Atlas Institute showing a 20-percent increase in sales when DRTV campaigns mix paid-search ads with display (banner) advertising, rather than relying solely on one or the other.