Holiday Bonus

by , Nov 30, 2005, 6:00 AM
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Few would deny that online retailing is the biggest thing to happen to holiday shopping since the introduction of the Sears Catalog. But while many companies try to figure out how to get a share of those shoppers, innovative advertisers are using direct response features to turn a branding ad unit into a more immediate revenue opportunity. Whether they are simply adding a click-through for purchase, or creating a virtual store through clickable items within the video (hot-spotting), advertisers can create a sales opportunity in their interaction with viewers.

A recent Klipmart report shows home video ad units performing above the average in both video viewed and interaction rates. These ads increasingly feature direct response options. DVD ads with links to Amazon or Best Buy were the first to use this concept because of the low product prices. But other products can follow the lessons of that marketing model. The power of suggestion, along with the consumer's desire to avoid shopping trips, works to the marketer's advantage.

Most online advertisers are content to enhance branding with their ad units and wait for those consumers to follow up at their local shopping mall. Recent research suggests that online branding increases offline purchase intent by 7 percent to 10 percent. So by exposing consumers to an effective branding campaign, marketers can build the relationship online that is later completed offline. While they have the consumer's attention, though, why shouldn't marketers offer the additional convenience of closing the deal? In many cases marketers don't need to wait and hope for offline completion of their online advertising.

Since video ads can run on any site, marketers not only can put the idea of the product in a consumer's mind, they can induce the purchase at the same time as the viewer is thinking about it. Consumers who are putting off their holiday shopping but make time to read news, sports, or entertainment can be reminded of a great product and then act on that purchase intent without leaving their desired Web site. If they just saw a branding ad, they might move away from that idea and never return to thoughts of that product.

We live in a society that is becoming increasingly used to quick answers and immediate resolution of needs. Consequently, ads with direct response opportunities can often close the deal. If consumers like what they see online and the price is right, many are ready to buy.

Online shopping is most appreciated during the holiday season, when people welcome the chance to avoid crowded parking lots, long lines, and added stress. Advertisers should play off that same concept and take convenience to the next level. When consumers can make a purchase directly from a commercial, those ads become a more welcome distraction and a revenue opportunity for marketers

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