What is Direct Response Advertising?

direct response advertising

There are two main ways of online advertising. They have the opposite goals, so they require a different strategy. These types of advertising are direct response advertising and brand advertising. Direct response advertising focuses on getting a response from the target audience right away. On the other hand, brand advertising wants to achieve awareness and results in the long-term.

direct response advertising
Direct response advertising focuses on getting a response from the target audience right away.
branding advertising
Brand advertising wants to achieve awareness and results in the long-term.

What Is Direct Response Advertising

Direct response advertising will push and motivate the target audience to take immediate action. The requested action can be subscribing to a newsletter, visiting a website, or making a purchase. In every case, the requested action or response can be measured.

Most online advertising methods and programs can be included in this category. However, it does not mean that every ad focuses on conversions, which is the most common goal of direct response advertising. For example, some companies use social media ads for conversions, while others have a branding strategy and want more brand awareness in their niche.

Characteristics Of Direct Advertising

1. Conversions

The companies that use direct response advertising as a part of their strategy must get conversions. If conversions are not the goal, it is a different category of advertising. An advertising campaign that can’t get enough conversions does not work. They must fix or stop it to avoid losing money.

Usually, the user does not understand that the target of an ad is to get his email address or other contact details unless he is on the target audience. He will figure it out if he goes through the advertisement. Some ads look like regular content until people click on them.

2. Measurability

If you set an advertising campaign on any platform, you don’t know if you get results until you check your analytics. Most advertising programs give you the exact numbers of impressions, traffic, and cost of the ad. Also, there are third-party analytics tools that show you relevant data.

An advertising campaign must be measurable. Most marketers have a goal to get a specific number of leads or sales. Without measuring the results of the campaign, you don’t know how it performs, the number of conversions, and if you are close to your goal.

3. Personalized Offers Through A Specific Message

Direct response advertising works well when you target a specific audience. The marketers must know the demographics and interests of their audience. So, they can create super-targeted ads. 

Next, they create content that talks directly to the targeted audience. The target audience recognizes that these ads mention solutions to their problems and want to learn more about it. If the user is not interested in this message, he is not on the target group most of the time. Once they click on the ad, they can see a relevant page on the next step.

4. Collect Information

When users click an ad, they should visit a landing page with a call to action and a form that requests information. An important part of direct response advertising is to get contact details for more communication in the future.

Many users will not be ready to make a sale right away, so it’s critical to use the right sales funnel and get a sale in the future. The advertising campaign loses money when the users do not leave contact details and just leave the page.

Advantages Of Direct Response Advertising

Benefits of direct response advertising

1. Direct Communication With The Target Audience

When users fill in their contact details to an email form, they agree to communicate directly with the company. So, they expect to get your promotions and additional information. This is a huge benefit of direct response advertising because you can show them your products and offers.

You can educate the prospects about your products, make them feel comfortable with your brand, and try different types of offers. Once you have more data about them, the emails and campaigns can be even more personalized and get better results.

2. Great Return On Investment

Direct response advertising allows you to check your return on investment and determine when your ads do not work. It is helpful for every type of business, whether they have a low or big budget to spend. If an advertising campaign works, they can scale them and increase the profit.

The immediate results can help you to test your ads, landing pages, and target audience. Then, you will find the settings that give you the best ROI. This process is not available to branding advertising that focuses on long-term results.

3. You Can Learn Your Audience

Your track every action of your target audience when they click your ads. It allows you to check their reaction on every step of your sales funnel. An ad can get more clicks just by changing one word or get more conversions by changing the call to action.

All this data will show you how exactly your potential customers think and what they like to see. Top internet marketers can really understand their audience and optimize their campaigns. However, beginners marketers struggle to figure out these small details that make a huge difference. By taking action and setting a few advertising campaigns, you will get valuable information for your target audience.

4. Create Relationships With Prospects and Customers

If you get the contact details of your prospects and communicate with them, you start building a real relationship between the brand and the prospect. The best part is that the company has control of this relationship and decides the next moves. 

When a company tries to help the prospects, it builds trust and makes them feel comfortable. On the other hand, a promotion-only approach depends on the value of the offer alone. This relationship can continue after the first purchase because most businesses can offer upsells or increase profits from recurring fees.

Direct Response Advertising vs. Brand Advertising

Direct Response Advertising vs. Branding Advertising

1. Goals

Most companies that use direct response advertising want traffic, sales, and cash flow. It is a short-term strategy that focuses on immediate results. For this reason, a positive ROI from this type of advertising is critical. Many brands use it when they launch a new product, promote a special offer, and want to generate revenue fast.

Branding advertising focuses on getting more attention. The goal is to create a specific image for the brand or the products to the target audience. Branding is a long-term strategy that is difficult to measured with short-term results. Companies with a big budget have more chances to apply a branding strategy than small and medium businesses.

2. Language

The language and the words that you will see on these two types of advertising are relevant to their goals. Direct response advertising uses words that motivate people to take action. In many cases, there are claims and promised results that are relevant to the product and the expectations of the prospects.

Branding advertising uses words relevant to the brand. They mention the name of the brand, the message, show the logo, and words that create the desired image. For example, if a brand wants to create an image for its quality, you will see mentions to features that prove quality.

3. Communication

Companies that use direct response advertising have a plan for immediate communication and relation-building with the prospects. If you fill in your contact details on a landing page, you will get a response in a few minutes. The chances are that you will receive many emails in the following days because the company wants to get a sale. Branding advertising depends on repetition. So, there is long-term and ongoing communication.

4. Audience

Direct response advertising needs high conversion rates to work. The companies that use this type of advertising must promote their products and services to the right people. When they target people that are not really hot for their offers, the conversion rates go down, so they start losing money. Direct response advertising requires a narrow audience with increased chances to convert.

Branding advertising requires a broad audience. The focus is on awareness, and an advertising campaign is successful if it reaches and engages a lot of people. 

Which One Is Better?

Both types of advertising can be helpful when you do the right things. However, direct response advertising is more popular because it can work for more small businesses. Most internet marketers and brands get started at a low budget and adjust their campaigns from the available data. This is a great way to get some customers fast and start building your business.

Branding advertising is a long-term investment. It is a good option when businesses want to create a specific image that will help them to make sales in the future. You can use branding advertising if you have a long-term strategy and a budget to support it. In every other case, direct response advertising is a better option.


These were the main characteristics and advantages of direct response advertising. It’s the type of ads that you want to create when you are looking for quick results and must test your products in the market.