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What Is Direct Response Media Buying?


From a television advertising perspective, direct response media buying offers discounted rates to marketers on remnant inventory. These rates are also preemptible and based on a daypart or broad rotation basis. Due to these limitations, DRTV media rates are typically discounted by up to 80 percent off of general market rates.

Due to the possibility of preemption, direct response TV media is often overbooked so that the budgeted amount of spend will actually clear and air. If a marketer needs to guarantee clearance based on other goals (visibility to certain partners; managing customer response/customer service mechanisms; measuring web traffic lift; and more), higher rates can be paid to assure clearance.

DRTV media buying differs from brand/general media buying in a number of important ways, even though it airs on the same outlets as general campaigns. The media buy gives the outlet flexibility to run an ad in broad daypart rotations rather than specific programs. Brand advertisers seek to buy into specific programs in order to measure gross ratings points (GRPs) to confirm how many viewers were watching when their ad ran.

While DRTV media buyers can access GRP stats after their ads run, there is no guaranteed GRP level in the contract. That’s because direct response marketers don’t measure success on GRPs, but rather on consumer response to the ad (product sales and lead generating responses). Direct response media buyers can still buy DR media on specific programs at a premium DRTV rate that’s still lower than brand rates for the same program.

That measurement of direct response media buying mentioned above? It’s achieved by using a number of unique response mechanisms built into the call-to-action in the ad: web URLs, SMS codes, unique toll-free numbers, and more. Each of these response mechanisms allows direct response media buyers to do daily and weekly tracking of response results that allows them to optimize campaigns on a regular basis.

Direct response television media is available on most national and local cable, local broadcast, and syndicated properties. The best media buying partners will select a mix of outlets based on the specific target audience demo combined with past performance metrics of each outlet. Direct response media buying leaders also offer immediate reporting, attribution analysis and technology, buy management recommendations and more.