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Despite growth of the Internet over the past seven years, the use of toll-free phone numbers in television advertising continues to grow, indicating that the telephone remains a prevalent response tool, according to a recent study.

The 2005 Toll-free Numbers in Television Advertising study, commissioned by 800response, concluded that 35 percent of all television commercials feature phone numbers, and 82 percent of those phone numbers are toll-free. Furthermore, 74 percent of the toll-free numbers in television ads use the 800 prefix. Of the 800 numbers, 61 percent are “vanity” numbers, meaning they spell out a word or company name.

A similar study conducted in 1998 concluded that 24 percent of TV commercials displayed toll-free numbers. At that time, just 55 percent were vanity 800 numbers. The 2005 study of 5,524 television commercials from four networks in four major markets found that vanity 800 phone numbers are increasingly prevalent in today’s television ads, up approximately 6 percent. The 800 prefix remains the leader as a direct response tool over 866, 877 and 888 prefixes. The study found that these prefixes come in far behind the 800 prefix for usage in television advertising at 6 percent, 8 percent and 12 percent respectively.

“Over the last seven years, advertisers continue to understand that using a unique and memorable mechanism in television advertisements increases their response rates,” said Mitchell Knisbacher, president of 800response, a provider of vanity 800 numbers and toll-free service. “The two TV studies, over the past seven years, prove that 800 toll-free and vanity number usage in advertising is still strong, and growing. Advertisers continue to provide their customers with phone numbers so they can make contact with a live person, notwithstanding the spectacular growth of the Web.”

Usage of the Internet is becoming more common due to rapid advancement of technology and the power of globalization. Societies are becoming more inter-connected. Thoughts from different cultures are shared through the use of Internet chat rooms and web postings. Study results also track the most popular uses of the Internet: “this year’s study shows that e-mail is the top task conducted online, followed by general surfing, reading News, shopping, and seeking entertainment News.


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