And the second piece of good news ... we are actually beginning to see scalable evidence of this phenomenon. In the last year alone, Mercury Media en español has integrated an online component to three campaigns on a test basis. Of these, in varying degrees, proved to be unexpectedly successful.
Each campaign had a few threads in common. Online leads were directly source-able to a Spanish-language television campaign. All three sites were in Spanish or had an in-language component. And we had managed our clients' expectations.
The result ... online conversions from leads that were sourced directly from Spanish-language television represented as much as 30% of total sales in any given week. WOW! This is as close as you get to found money.
I have been active in the Hispanic electronic retailing marketplace for about five years now, and I have never seen the kind of activity that I am beginning to see on the web today. Being part of a larger general market enterprise, I am privy to the online performance metrics of our clients' campaigns in the general market. I have a real, albeit anecdotal, benchmark measure of what percentage of television-driven leads result in online vs. call center sales.
What makes the Hispanic results described above even more notable is that on average 30%-50%, of all general market DRTV sales are actually converted online, as opposed to a live operator or automated call center.
I am talking about sales generated from over $250 million in hard core "as seen on TV" products. DRTV specialists that serve our industry in the online space such as Ignite Media, Infomercial.tv, and Livermercial.com, have all contributed to the "science" of converting leads to online sales.
The immediate conclusion (recognizing that this is a very small sample size) is that Hispanic DRTV campaigns are approaching the economies of scale of general market campaigns when it comes to their ability to generate web leads and convert them to sales.
Makes me wonder how many sales we bilingual Hispanics might also be generating on general market sites? Without being able to source them we will never know. As an industry we still struggle with how to measure and make e-commerce work in the Hispanic marketplace because online usage metrics clearly do not jive with the absence of in-language commerce.
This is a question for another day. But the parity in performance between these three initial Hispanic tests and the general market make one point loud and clear. In-language online commerce is literally around the corner. And its best friend is DRTV.
Until we figure out the profitability of online performance marketing on its own merits, we can take immediate comfort from the knowledge that integrating online to a DRTV campaign can significantly impact the profitability of the TV spend. And this is why it may prove to be the most significant growth opportunity for all advertisers in the U.S. Hispanic Market.