U.S. advertisers will spend more than 50 billion on digital advertising in 2014 -- $29.61 billion on direct response initiatives alone -- according to eMarketer's recent digital ad spending by industry report. Moreover, digital direct response grew $4.74 billion over last year and the social networks are paying attention.
Facebook took quick notice of direct response's growing role in digital ad spending and updated its ad buying and reporting tools to be objective-based in October of last year. It determined that Facebook advertising wouldn't be primarily about the ad unit or bid type (CPM, CPC) but rather about lower-funnel objectives that matter most to marketers -- objectives like app installs, offsite conversions, video views, and mobile coupon claims. Since then, it has rolled out many new features and tools to position Facebook as an attractive choice for direct response marketers.
Not to be outshined by Facebook's new focus on direct response, Twitter enhanced its ad offerings, quickly pitched its own direct response capabilities, and outlined to marketers how they could use Twitter to reach consumers at each stage of the purchase journey -- from awareness to conversion.
The key to direct response is:
Reach the right people and elicit an immediate response with content that compels action. To do this well, marketers need large data sets for segment creation, compelling content, and conversion actions for the context -- mobile, tablet, or desktop -- and of course, robust analytics to draw actionable insights and iteratively optimize for performance.
Given this definition, let's take a look at the features and tools Facebook and Twitter have rolled out in their quests to deliver direct response channels and, in the process, capture more of the largely Google-owned direct response advertising budgets.