Author: George Leon, Senior VP of Media and Account Management

Original PublicationDMA

George LeonWhen it comes to DRTV advertising, no daypart is alike for any given brand. Each company and agency need custom strategies that match together creative and the daypart to best meet specific goals. A shift of daypart allocation is required as a company’s needs change, and this can differ depending on industry and the brand’s particular service offering.

For context, dayparts are traditionally defined as follows:

  • Early Morning – 5:00am-9:00am
  • Daytime – 9:00am-3:00pm
  • Early Fringe – 3:00pm-5:00pm
  • Early News – 5:00pm-7:00pm
  • Prime Access – 7:00pm-8:00pm
  • Prime – 8:00pm-11:00pm (M-Sat) and 7:00pm-11:00pm (Sunday)
  • Late News – 11:00pm-11:30pm
  • Late Fringe – 11:30pm-2:00am
  • Overnight – 2:00am-5:00am

Exploring the Web-Daypart Trends
One trend in television is the move of spending of drive-to-retailer and drive-to-web campaigns away from the traditional prime time dayparts to more of daytime, early fringe, and late fringe. Much of this shift has to do with the cost effectiveness of those dayparts, which can be a multiple less expensive while providing brands with quality consumer activity. Data from the Cablevision Ad Bureau (CAB) points to a shift to of DRTV buys, where more than half is still in daytime and prime time, but early fringe, overnight, and late fringe are making considerable gains.

This is part of the broader trend of early fringe, prime time and late fringe being ideal dayparts to build impressions, while daytime and the other parts are for efficiency-driven campaigns where the cost-per-acquisition and similar metrics are key.

The higher profile dayparts are becoming increasingly important for drive-to-web campaigns because of the habits of viewers. Specifically, their propensity to “second screen” on multiple devices, where they are often searching for information about shows or commercial products while watching TV. Since the engagement for consumers goes across these devices, early fringe, late fringe, and prime time are significant drivers of web response activity.

Agencies see trends develop between brand industry and daypart, for example consumer packaged goods companies often air in the day and prime time dayparts. And, a considerable number of pharma brands run during early fringe and overnight. This strategy is focused on the older generation who might be watching during those times and those that are discomforted and not sleeping well due to various ailments. Focusing on these dayparts leverages cost-effective longer spots which can detail the advantages (and side effects) of various medicines. Other industry-to-daypart correlations make intuitive sense, for example avoiding overnight for big box home improvement stores such as Lowe’s or The Home Depot, and focusing on prime time for the major retailers.

Finding the Right Creative and Length to Daypart Mix
With DRTV campaigns, the creative mix is significant when it comes to the allocation of spending. Experienced agencies will often run longer length spots during the less expensive dayparts in order to outline product or service benefits while pushing to the website. Longer 60-second creatives are ideal for cost-efficient dayparts, especially for service-based or financial products brand where the features and benefits need explanation. These brands need to build the viewer’s trust, and a 60-second spot allows them to showcase for example a user interface or mix in multiple testimonials to build trust. Utilization of these spots is not typically during prime time and not normally presenting a drive-to-web strategy, but is more educational and brand awareness focused.

For 30-second spots many agencies focus on creative that includes a quick testimonial or two to add credibility, and a brief discussion of the main features and benefits. The 15-second creatives are valuable during early fringe and prime time for their cost effectiveness and overall performance during those dayparts. The short spots are especially important for multi-tasking millennial audiences who are the highest percentage of “second screeners,” and are found to be particularly strong during early fringe and prime time.

For brands that offer a web or mobile experience such as, a drive-to-web strategy is the natural fit, and ideally the spots will air when most consumers are online with multiple devices. This means daytime and prime time dayparts, when second-screening is prevalent. Most of the campaigns that run during late fringe are lead generation efforts or they are an extension of awareness. Direct-to-consumer as well as lead generation campaigns are often targeted for overnights for maximum efficiency and the possibility of bonus free airings.

When it comes to blending the right creative with the best dayparts, the brand and agency need to be sure plans are executed and customized based on brand-specific needs. Some companies are seeing success in mixing different types and lengths of creative while venturing into other dayparts in order to build awareness and increase web visitors.

George Leon is Senior VP of Media/Account Management at Hawthorne Direct, a leading technology-based agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand advertising. Over the past 20 years, George has been involved in every aspect of the DRTV industry from media to operations to marketing and new media. He oversees Hawthorne’s expanding integrated Brand Response TV (BRTV) media strategy, execution and analytics and spearheads Hawthorne’s Data Science and “Big Data” initiatives on behalf of a broad range of major brand clients including 3M, Brother International, Equifax, Hamilton Beach,, Transamerica and zulily.