Branding vs Direct Response

The dichotomy of branding vs direct response is not trivial. Both sides have merits and advocates touting the value of each. In the past, the majority of internet advertising dollars spent, over 80%, have been on direct response. What are the key differences?

Both strategies differ in how they see the "time to purchase" metric. Direct response is about transacting right here and now, whether its a sale, a lead or an action, whereas branding is about building brand equity, favorability, awareness, purchase intent - basically the proposition in the minds of consumers. The ROI on branding can take significantly longer, sometimes taking months or years.

The addition of location and time sensitive offers are shifting the industry towards direct response as brands need to both have more easily calculable ROI on mobile which is still a small percentage of digital media spend and that closing the point of sale is totally plausible now due to innovations in mobile technology. Even though mobile is a strong branding medium, the engagements opportunities afforded on mobile are tremendous. Users can receive personalized offers, as we discussed, and take advantage of them almost immediately. Google reports that 40% of mobile searches have local intent that's immediate.

70% of all mobile searches result in an action within an hour compared to 70% of online searches that lead to action in a month. With the time to sales significantly truncated, there is little doubt mobile's future is in direct response. Direct response wouldn't be direct response with call to actions. Phrases like 'call us now' help ads convert 8% higher than their counterparts. Conversion on phones is higher as well, 15 x higher to be exact, hence getting people to dial is key. Mobile marketing is good at just that.

Tracking metrics is also easy on mobile. Tools such as Google Analytics help track where mobile users are, how frequently they visit and which devices they use. Google also offers multi-channel conversion path with a call tracking tool that enables the tracking of every engagement from the consumer.


George currently plans and executes the marketing and communication strategy of Warply.

He is a specialist in digital and mobile marketing, advertising and media having worked on a wide variety of projects including developing mobile strategies, creating products and services, and implementing initiatives for a wide variety of clients

He is organizing Startup Weekend University in Athens as well as London Startup Weekend where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out in an intense weekend if their startup ideas are viable.

As an adjunct professor at Panteion University of Social Sciences, he has designed and taught a course that focuses on inbound and mobile marketing while at the same time aims at introducing students to entrepreneurship and startup culture.

George has studied at the Athens University of economics and Business and received a masters degree in Marketing and Communication. Over the past 10 years he has designed and executed digital marketing plans in mobile, travel, e-commerce, fashion and health care industry, consulting companies on how they can build an effective digital strategy using the integration of content, search, social, video, and mobile platforms. He is currently investigating how mobile is disrupting most established business models, focusing on mobile advertising, loyalty schemes, payments and m-commerce.