Commentary

Pushing For The Sale

One of the great differentiators between the Internet and most other advertising mediums is the interactivity it affords users. As we move forward in the life of this industry, we are always looking for ways to leverage that interactivity to the advertiser's advantage. To this point, one large opportunity has been underutilized in online video ads: direct response purchase options originating from the ad unit.

An advertiser and ad agency have just created an innovative ad unit to market their product. It has cool video and engaging interactive features. While the viewer is spending time engaged with this ad, wouldn't it be an ideal strategy to give them a link to make the purchase? Without including such options, are we really taking advantage of the benefits in online advertising compared to television?

People are used to convenient options for their consumption habits. The "click to purchase" is the epitome of convenience. Why not be able to click on the pair of shoes you like in a Nike commercial, for example, and go directly to the page on Nike's Web site where you can make that purchase? Advertisers should be making efforts to take advantage of impulse purchases. A good sales presentation can close the deal on a product such as clothing, DVDs, or CPG products because they are priced within that impulse purchase range.

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Instead of going directly for the sale, marketers can also encourage the consumer to move a step closer--for example, offering a chance to try a sample of that new deodorant, soda, or cereal. The direct response in this case is the input of the address to receive the free sample. By building a database of potential customers, the marketer is taking a more proactive step than simple branding.

We've already seen that millions of people make online purchases on a regular basis. So we know people are comfortable with making purchases from secure sites. Security in these purchases is not an issue if the user is sent directly to the advertiser's secure Web site. In the event that the advertiser doesn't sell its products directly from its own site, it could provide a link to a preferred reseller of its products. The key is placing the user at the exact page for making the purchase, so minimal effort needs to be made to finalize the transaction.

If it is a company with products that are already purchased online, why not use a video ad to point them in the right direction? Some marketers are reluctant to integrate video ads and direct response. But video ads are the most effective format, and an ideal attention-getter to bring about a sale opportunity. Like all new features available to online advertisers, it takes a few forward-thinking marketers to get this trend started. After that, metrics from these campaigns will show the viability of utilizing direct response within video ads.

By appealing to the growing appreciation for convenience, marketers have the opportunity to make their online advertising dollars represent more than just branding. As any good salesperson would tell you, when you have a consumer interested in a product, push for the sale. And in the world of online advertising, we have the means to make that happen with just a few clicks.

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