We've done a lot of work in the area of tracking DRTV-to-online, and understand the importance of doing so. Based on years of observing what other DRTV marketers do in this regard, here is our estimate of the percentage of DRTV marketers that track each response mechanism accurately and effectively:

* Mail orders 100%

* Phone orders 100%

* Direct web URL 5%

* DRTV driven search 0%

This is not a typo – almost every DRTV advertiser (except our clients!) are not able to successfully track orders that arrive at their web sites, either by direct URL or via search. In fact, we believe that most DRTV advertisers:

* Don't think it's necessary to track online orders

* Think it's OK to assign online orders based on phone order patterns

* Have no clue about the importance of tracking web orders

Even more importantly, we've believe that DRTV advertisers are actually cancelling profitable DRTV spots and infomercials. That's right! When the TV media buyers read the results and can't account accurately for online orders, they may wrongly conclude that any given media placement is not working.

Here is a graphic representation of results of one of our clients, based on how online orders were tracked.


This chart shows results from DRTV media placed on 10 stations/networks (ATV to JTV). The target ad allowable in all cases was $30.

Case I

Looking only at orders coming via phone, 9 of the 10 spots were losers (red boxes).

Case II

By including web orders, evenly distributed across all 10 placements, 6 of the 10 were winners.

Case III

By assigning web orders based on media spend, 5 of 10 were profitable.

Case IV

By allocating web orders based on orders received by phone, 6 placements worked.

Case V

By tracking and allocating web orders using our proprietary iFactz tracking system, 7 of the 10 placements were indeed profitable.

What's even more revealing is the net effective cost per order. Looking at column "DTV" the CPO numbers for the five cases are $38, $13, $21, $11 and $16 respectively. That's a very wide range, and it's important to determine which of the five cases is the most realistic.

Case I is the worst scenario in terms of accuracy. No credit is given for web orders.

Cases II, III and IV are all arbitrary ways of allocating web orders, none of which are consistently accurate.

Case V is the most accurate method we know of, because it tracks orders using a specially modified URL, and makes an intelligent estimate for search channel orders.


The key to having the best possible tracking program is to have both media buying and search handled by the same agency or both in-house. It is essential to craft a program that has input from media, IT and search people. We suggest talking with us about potential options and solutions.

You can download the entire ebook at any time at:

Irv Brechner has written over 100 published direct marketing articles and 13 books on a variety of topics. He's been a pioneer in online customer acquisition since 1996 and offline for his 35-year career. He has developed's "Customer Acquisition Intel Center" ( ) he evangelizes best-of-breed tactics to help companies acquire customers in the digital age. He can be reached at: .

Read all Irv's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Customer Acquisition Intel.

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