Direct response television is television advertising that requires viewers to respond to the ad to take advantage of a special sales price, coupon, or other benefit. Viewers may call or text a phone number or can visit a website. Advertisers qualify for special rates on such advertising and typically work with a direct response television marketing firm on ad development and placement. Such firms are experts in this kind of advertising and can design an appropriate and effective campaign.
Advertisements can vary in length. Short-form advertisements run for under two minutes, while long-form spots are over two minutes in length. Even longer ads of 30 minutes or more are known as infomercials. The length of an ad usually depends on the type of product. A company may want a longer spot to educate consumers or draw them in to the presentation, while a short-form ad might be more appropriate for a quick sales pitch.
One way companies can use direct response television is in direct marketing of products and services. These may only be available through the television. Viewers who want these products and services need to contact the company through the information in the advertisement. Companies may add a sense of urgency by suggesting that promotional rates will expire and viewers need to act now to get the best price. Goods are also commonly marketed as limited edition or few in number to encourage buyers to buy immediately.
Other direct response advertising may solicit a response from viewers who want a coupon or informational pamphlet. Rather than placing an order, the prospective customer contacts the company to get more information or a special discount. The initial contact provides an opportunity to collect customer information the company can use in future marketing campaigns. Ideally, the consumer will make a purchase after getting the information. Companies can use promotions of this nature on television to supplement ad campaigns elsewhere, like print and billboard ads.
Specialists in direct response television can design an appropriate ad for the demographic, test it, and place it on the most appropriate television networks. Ad spots can vary in cost. For prime-time television, the number of slots may be limited and very expensive. On sales networks where viewers tune in to access advertisements and promotions, the cost may be a lower bulk rate. Companies have to consider the most appropriate venue for their ads when they decide where they want to place a direct response television advertisement.