Short Form Conundrum

Behind the scenes, we’ve been struggling with how to best categorize and represent different short form campaigns in DRMetrix ranking reports. For our friends in the industry that follow this blog, we’d love to hear from you and what you think of our approach.

While slightly depressing to ponder, I began in this industry 26 years ago. Back then, everything seemed so simple and I was young and carefree. Well, young anyway. Traditional DR short form was comprised primarily of impulse products being sold via one step call to order. Ironically, that is the definition of DR that mainstream media research companies still use today which explains why DRTV airings have been so grossly under-reported, but I digress. The point is that short form offers used to fit neatly into a singular category ie: “Short Form DR Products”. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple today.

Our first industry report will be published later this month and we created a category for these type of traditional DRTV product campaigns and cleverly named it “Top 10 Traditional Short-Form DR Products“. We also included a section for “Top 10 Long-Form Products” which left just enough room to include “Top 5 Lead Generation & Top 5 Brand/DR Campaigns”. There are many ways to categorize and break out DRTV campaigns but we thought these four categories were a reasonable approach.

Industry ranking reports have been around for a number of years and it seems one of the prevalent uses has been within the retail industry. If you can get your product high enough in the rankings it may help to convince retailers to carry it. We understand the value of ranking traditional products but with very few exceptions these campaigns do not spend enough to achieve a top 10 ranking if you include DR lead generation campaigns in the same category. This may be one reason why DR lead generation campaigns have been largely overlooked in industry reports.

If you examine DRMetrix’s January report, you’ll see that 90% of the top 10 traditional short form products had a spend rank significantly lower than campaigns listed under lead generation. We think this demonstrates why traditional short form DR products need their own section.

Next month, we plan on adding some additional language to the disclaimer that appears on our report page as follows: Traditional short form will only include “call to order” campaigns where price is specifically disclosed in the spot. For services, low cost trial campaigns, or spots without a price, these campaigns will be ranked separately under lead generation. For the Brand DR category, our disclaimer currently states that this section is reserved for campaigns that do not utilize the traditional approach of tracking cost-per-call or per-lead by individual network. Rather, they commonly utilize the same vanity toll-free number or web address across all media.

Our current approach to categorization only leaves room to rank the top 5 lead generation and brand campaigns unless we go to a second page. Would you prefer that our monthly report continues to focus on traditional categories or would you like more emphasis placed on lead generation and brand/dr?  We’d appreciate your thoughts on the subject!

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2 thoughts on “Short Form Conundrum

  1. IMO, the “lead” campaigns need to be split off as there is no revenue directly associated with the reaction by a consumer to the CTA.

    Lead campaigns spend considerably more as the final conversion revenue, when successful, is an order of magnitude greater than the traditional (at least now) “$10 and you get two for just an additional P&H”.

    I say the more meaningful categories the better as more information is always better in my opinion; it is up to the “viewer” if they desire to probe deeper.

    • DRMetrix will be releasing a free online dashboard by end of April that will separately rank the top 25 lead generation DRTV campaigns. In our current Response Magazine report, we are forced to limit the lead generation campaigns to the top five due to lack of space. Perhaps in the future, Response will give us a second page so we can do a full ten for both lead generation and brand/direct short form!

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