Never Feature Twitter In Direct Response TV Commercials, Urges The DRTV Centre

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The DRTV Centre, London’s specialist direct response TV advertising agency, strongly recommends against DRTV clients using Twitter usernames or hashtags in their direct response commercials, as this will have a strongly detrimental effect on response rates.

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Never include Twitter hashtags in Direct Response TV commercials

Earlier this month UK advertising agency The DRTV Centre was sent an interesting and instructive report from Twitter entitled “Tune in with Twitter. Driving discovery and engagement with TV”.

The report makes important points about the close relationship between Twitter and television. It includes several some memorable quotes:

  •     “The relationship between Twitter and television is strongly symbiotic”
  •     “Twitter users love talking about what is happening on TV”
  •     “Twitter is the shortest distance between you and what interests you most”
  •     “40% of all UK Twitter traffic at peak TV viewing time is about TV”
  •     “A hashtag on air can boost engagement by organising viewers to tweet and interact”
  •     “Twitter is a real-time, public mirror for both broadcast content and advertising”
  •     “Every ad aired on TV gets talked about on Twitter”

Danger signals for the DRTV advertiser, though, are these comments:

  •     “Integration of Twitter into TV content can further stimulate engagement and discovery”
  •     “Simply adding hashtags on air - or in ads – helps to organise and steer the conversation”

The idea of adding hashtags to TV ads is interesting and potentially valuable to brand advertisers – but can only reduce response rates in DRTV commercials – defeating the whole object of maximising response and return on investment

The DRTV model works in quite brief commercials (mainly 60 seconds or less in the UK) by creating interest and an appetite for the advertised product or service and at the same time stimulating a call-to-action or CTA. CTAs can be by phone (best using an 0800 number), text message (SMS) or URL. For most clients phone calls are preferred, as the client then has the consumer’s full attention.

Anything that distracts the viewer from making that phone call, or sending that text message, or visiting the website, is to be avoided at all costs – and this is exactly what the inclusion of Twitter hashtags would cause. The viewer who would otherwise have contacted the advertiser is distracted by the hashtag – and this inevitably leads to reduced response rates.

When The DRTV Centre first started specialising in DRTV, in 1997, clients would often ask for the Yellow Pages logo to be included at the end of the commercial. The DRTV Centre always argued against this practice; viewers prompted to visit Yellow Pages would immediately be exposed to ads from the client’s competitors. Not a bright idea.

Inclusion of Twitter hashtags falls into a similar category, of counterproductive activity.

Direct Response Television Advertising (DRTV) is highly attractive to growing numbers of TV advertisers because it can produce new business almost instantly. Nowadays over 25% of all UK TV commercials now carry a direct response "call to action" via an 0800 phone number, text message (SMS) or website visit. DRTV is a form of direct response marketing.

DRTV can create instant customers and produce high ROI (return on investment) – but only if the advertiser fully understands the importance of focusing the viewer’s attention on the calls-to-action.

David Pearson of The DRTV Centre emphasises: “If DRTV clients want the best response rates and ROI, they must never include Twitter hashtags in DRTV commercials.”

Company details of The DRTV Centre:

  •     Established in London 16 years ago
  •     The first and only advertising agency in the UK to concentrate on DRTV
  •     Specialists in advertising travel & holidays, annuities, injury compensation, comparison websites, coins & jewellery, equity release, loans, pet insurance, law, tuition, educational products
  •     Provides everything clients need to mount successful DRTV campaigns: strategies, idea creation, scriptwriting, storyboards, research, casting, location search, film/video production, music, voice-overs, transmission copies, channel selection, TV airtime booking and response analysis

For more info about making great DRTV campaigns, visit or or call The DRTV Centre on 0800 635 9000. Twitter

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