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Can Online Video Replace My DRTV and Direct Mail?

You’ve heard a lot about online video. Sure, it sounds great. But how does it compare to direct response TV ads, or direct mail campaigns? After all, aren’t those channels tried and true, especially for those marketing to seniors?

Well, you’re right; DRTV and direct mail campaigns are definitely tried, and they’ve tended to be true. There’s a reason that there are so many DRTV ads on daytime TV and so many fliers in seniors’ mailboxes. Historically, those channels have been able to reach an audience with a scale and efficiency that’s impressive.

Here’s the thing, though: today, online video is capable of reaching audiences at the same vast scale and efficiency as traditional channels, and that scale is only increasing. Not only that, but it’s also becoming increasingly efficient. That’s thanks to improving technology, but it’s also because seniors and boomers are online more than ever before. We’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth a reminder: boomers and seniors spend more time online than watching TV, and 3 in 4 viewers have taken an action as the result of watching an online video.

So, can online video replace your DRTV and direct mail campaigns? Well, it depends – but the short answer is that it can replace a lot more than you might think. Here’s how.

What Online Video Can Do

Many people don’t have a complete picture of online video. When they think of online video, they think of pre-roll ads on YouTube, and they believe that it’s geared mostly towards driving brand awareness.

Well, the perception of online video as a means of driving awareness isn’t entirely misguided, because online video is great at doing just that. The whole truth, though, is that online video is capable of reaching customers and generating results throughout the entire marketing funnel. It’s effective from awareness all the way through to purchase.

Partly, this is due to the variety of formats that online video can take. Pre-roll is highly effective, but there are other forms of online video that may be better suited to specific purposes or locations. A few of these include:

  • Long-form
  • Interstitial
  • In-video overlay

When you create video with multiple forms in mind, you can often repurpose content for different locations and platforms to great effect.

And that brings us to another reason that online video is so effective at serving multiple purposes: it’s ability, like other forms of digital media, to be uniquely targeted towards your potential customers over the course of their buyer journeys.

For instance, if you have multiple forms of video content, they can be targeted to engage customers at different stages in the marketing funnel. That means that you could have a potential customer interact with a pre-roll ad, only to leave before conversion. Next, they’ll be retargeted with a message that builds upon the previous video. Finally, they might see a banner ad that leads them to a purchase.

Conversely, with traditional channels (especially DRTV), you only have a single touch point that provides the same information every time. There are simply fewer opportunities for nurture and for making the message more relevant.

What Do You Want to Accomplish?

If online video can serve a variety of different purposes, the question becomes: what is the purpose that you want your campaign to serve?

It’s important to understand your goals going in. If you’re looking to complement or replace your existing channels, you might want to experiment with the same audience targets/segments that you’re targeting via traditional methods, and see how your digital campaign’s metrics compare.

However, keep in mind that online video can have returns outside of traditional measurements, as well. During video campaigns for our clients, we’ve seen 20-40% increases in branded search after runs – a stat that may not have been tracked with DRTV or direct mail.

What numbers are important to your campaign’s success? Awareness? Conversions? Make sure that you have a plan for attribution and tracking. When it comes to online video, attribution is easy to make – you just have to know what you’re looking for.

Get Started

So, once you know what you want your campaign to accomplish, how do you go about actually jumping in?

One way is to start off with a pilot campaign geared towards a specific audience segment. This will allow you to gauge the results and get a feel for how to optimize your efforts before launching full scale.

Don’t be afraid to try going broad, though, either. You don’t want to start with too small a campaign. For instance, don’t narrow your audience down to single, 65 year old family caregivers living in Dyersville, Iowa. You’ll end up with an audience of three people!

You need to make sure, even if you opt for a pilot campaign, that you start with a large enough audience to collect relevant data. This will let you optimize your efforts as you move forward.

Are You Ready to Give Online Video a Try?

If the answer is yes, then the next step will be working with your agency to determine which online video formats and channels will be realistic vehicles for your campaign objectives. Creating an effective campaign requires modeling and experience.

At Immersion Active, we have years of expertise in marketing to baby boomers with online video. Get in touch with us to find out how online video can work for you. You may be surprised how much of your DRTV and direct mail efforts you’ll be able to replace.

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