Online advertising campaigns generally either belong to the category of “brand marketing” or “direct response.” With brand ads, companies strive to increase brand awareness for their company or keep their product top-of-mind with certain customers. With direct response campaigns, the goal is to get results instantly.

Direct response aims to generate an immediate reaction from the customer through calls-to-action (CTAs) like “Click Here” or “Call Now.” The focus of these ads is about driving behavior, not raising awareness.

The benefits of direct response advertising

Direct response is a method of advertising that compels your audience to act quickly. Your direct response campaigns might ask people to opt-in to an email list or visit your landing page from an ad on Facebook.

The benefits of direct response include:

  • Easier tracking and measuring. Through UTM codes, specific phone numbers and unique mailing addresses, it’s easier to get an accurate ROI for your strategies. The measurability of direct response also makes it easier to segment your audience and create more customized campaigns.
  • Personal, compelling copy. Direct response marketing is designed to instantly capture the attention of your target audience. It’s a strong, focused type of advertising that drives quick results.
  • Near-instant results. Because “DR” campaigns come with a call-to-action that asks a customer to do something specific, you typically know immediately whether the campaign is a success or not.

What are the features of a direct response ad?

Direct response advertising is a form of marketing specifically employed to connect your company to a specific audience. The channel you use (e.g., Twitter, Facebook or email) and the CTA is formulated to drive precise, measurable results.

Budgeting for direct response is easy, too. Either you see the campaign converting and it pays for itself, or your efforts won’t translate into sales and you’ll eliminate that ad strategy. Most direct response campaigns are defined by the following features:

  • Easy tracking and measurability
  • A specific offer
  • A targeted audience
  • Clearly-outlined benefits
  • Clear call-to-action
  • Personalized copy

For instance, you could create a direct response Facebook ad with Sprout Social to encourage targeted customers to buy a specific product. With Facebook targeting, you’ll ensure your message gets to the right people. What’s more, Sprout’s tracking tools will allow you to quickly measure the impact of your campaign.

Direct response best practices

No marketing campaign comes with a one-size-fits-all guide to success. However, there are tips you can follow with most strategies to improve your outcomes. For instance, in direct response ads, make sure that you:

  • Give specific directions. Make it obvious what your customer will get from interacting with you and what they need to do to take advantage of your offer.
  • Make acting easy. Consumers want simplicity. Use a button to drive people to your landing page, then show them what they need to do next when they’re there.
  • Target carefully. Most social media tools allow you to choose the audience you want to reach. Make the most of this process to ensure your messages appear in front of the right people.
  • Try different strategies. Don’t just use the same campaigns all the time. Drive action by holding contests or giveaways. Add time limits to your offer to create the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) effect.
  • Measure everything. Use tools like Sprout to determine which of your efforts are having the biggest impact on your audience. The information you collect will guide your future ad decisions.