Old School Meets New School: The Beauty of Testing with DRTV

My 6-year-old son doesn’t know what channel surfing is.

When he wants to watch a show, he goes straight into TiVo and selects one of his pre-recorded programs. Did I mention he does this with TiVo’s iPhone app, which turns the phone into a remote control?  And if he wants to watch something different, he’ll search for it on our computer or iPad. At the same time, I get grief from my son because our TV can’t play Angry Birds like Grandma’s Roku. Yes, his 65+ grandparents are cooler than I am. 

Obviously, this is a sample size of just two. But one fact is undeniable – consumer video viewing habits are changing. Viewing is no longer limited to broadcast programming on the living room screen. And this is raising some important questions for advertisers like:

  • How do you keep up with the change? Not only stats, but understanding how consumers are using new devices and platforms.
  • Do you rush to test every new device, platform, and form of content? Or do you just sit on the sideline and wait for one of them to fully mature? 
  • How do you measure success compared to what you are doing now?

While I may not know the right answer to all of those questions, I do know we can’t ignore the change that is occurring.

Now, this change brings good news for TV advertisers – total video consumption is rising.

In the age of smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, common sense would say consumers are simply shifting video viewing hours from one device to another. But in reality, consumers are adding video minutes, even hours, to their day. Today it’s never been easier to find what you want, when you want, on multiple devices. And it’s only getting easier.

My son could easily be using a Roku, Boxee, XBox, Fios or SmartTV. Each system is a great choice. However, each system offers a different ad platform. As a result, an increasingly fragmented media environment is created, making it more difficult to develop cohesive creative and media strategies. This is especially true for advertisers who use GRP’s and impressions as their main measurement tool. 

It’s easy to throw your hands up, get frustrated and fall back to what you have always done. One of the great things about DRTV strategy and mindset is testing – new creative, offers, and channels are a major part of what we have always done. So our approach to the evolving media landscape is to carefully analyze each platform and only test the ones that meet these key criteria:

  • Does the audience match our target demographic?
  • Is this an environment that is conducive to response?
  • Can we accurately measure response?
  • Does the pricing offer flexibility to adjust based on results?

When the answer to all of these questions is YES, we test. And the results dictate which platforms we move forward with.

Sound simple? That’s the beauty of testing with DRTV. We’ve found success on several different video platforms with very small tests. DRTV helps us minimize risk, while generating new leads for our client.

As I mentioned before, it isn’t easy keeping up with the evolving media landscape. Let alone deciding which media platforms are the smartest choices for your product. But it can be, if you start by asking the right questions, and testing with DRTV. Its quantitative results can help you make informed strategic advertising decisions. Otherwise, you risk never advertising to my son or his grandparents.

Matt Cote is the Director of Emerging Media at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.