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Changes to the Game - Decline in Traditional Response

September 13th, 2017 marked a record for the Cleveland Indians, reaching 21 consecutive game wins – tying with the 1935 Chicago Cubs record and surpassing the 2002 American League record set by the Oakland Athletics, a team assembled by general manager Billy Beane using an analytical, evidence-based, sabermetric approach.

In baseball, we often look for patterns to explain such a commanding team – looking at player stats such as batting averageon-base percentage, and runs batted in to estimate a team’s effectiveness to drive wins.  Similarly, we look at patterns in a DRTV campaign to maximize ROI with accountability.

There are a lot of parallels with DRTV and baseball, and managing a television campaign is a lot like managing a baseball team. You have your station roster, your station cost per call, call conversion (akin to baseball’s base percentage), and a grand slam is seeing your media efforts translate into wins.

Just as the long ball is becoming ever more prevalent in the game of baseball, we too are seeing changes in the DRTV space, which is changing how we buy our media this fall.

Changes to the Game – Decline in Traditional Response

Now more than ever, our DRTV ads are playing a bigger impact in the digital space. We are seeing a shift in consumer habits, with more viewers looking to complete their research within the digital space.

In many cases, we are no longer seeing the majority of response driven by the telephone. With the increasing prevalence of smartphone and digital savvy users in Canada, we are seeing response shift from traditional DRTV calls, towards increased response via web traffic and online sales.

The challenge then is in tracking the conversion of consumers, from television through their progress to the online space. In order to effectively measure online activity driven by television, we must work closer with digital metrics, looking at the attributed lift for paid, organic and direct channels as an example..

Star Players on the Disabled List – TV’s Lack of Cost Efficient Avails

You can’t win baseball games with your star players sitting on the bench with injuries.

With clients looking increasingly towards driving efficiencies and increasing return on ad spend, there is big competition in the marketplace this fall.  There is a strong expectation of price increases this season from Canadian broadcasters due to decreased avails, as advertisers migrate back to television from the digital space, as more advertisers take note of televisions effectiveness for awareness and brand safety; gone are the days of 100% media clearance purchased at pre-emptible DR rates with 20%-30% bonusing.

Finding availability on strong performing DR stations for traditionally successful 1:20 or :60 second spots, compounded with our small market woes of limited programming and available stations, clearance is becoming more and more of a challenge.

However, just as Billy Beane approached building a successful team with a limited budget; we must combat clearance issues by looking at alternative approaches to media buying; continually expanding our station mix and leveraging the online space to aid in conversion driven by awareness generated through television.

The Streak Continues – Looking Forward at the Media Landscape

As we look towards the next generation of broadcast, we see increasing developments towards data freedom with the Advanced Television Systems Committee working towards its next-generation 3.0 broadcast environment.  The new environment will allow for information to travel both ways between viewer and broadcaster, tied through the internet and eliminating the need for proprietary set-top boxes or metering devices.

This will mean huge changes in the DRTV space, as the advanced data that we currently see in our online campaigns will be brought to our television screens through addressable, programmatic TV advertising.

Just as Billy Beane ushered in a new way of thinking in baseball, using advanced analytics to build a winning team, altering the games lexicon and changing the way many major league front offices do business – so too will DRTV lead the trend in delivering meaningful campaigns on the forefront of increasing complexities of available analytical data.

About the author

Chad MacKay, Associate Media Director

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