Another battle has begun in the war for our customer’s attention and by extension, our marketing dollars.
This war is being fought on many fronts by many content producers and media channels, all of whom are vying for the attention that our Brand’s audiences are giving to television and cable programming.
During last night’s #bizforum Twitter debate, our community explored the future of advertising and the impact that social engagement will have on it. The general consensus seemed to be: “television is not going anywhere anytime soon and ads don’t need to change much”. A sentiment I don’t share.
As stated in my previous post, “consumers have, consciously or unconsciously, become accustomed to personal engagement with the brands they love or want to love”. Static advertisements and commercials that don’t find innovative ways to enable two-way, “real dialogue” with their audience will simply be skipped or fast-forwarded on DVRs.
Keep content strong and you’ll demand their attention. While content marketing is certainly a key marketing tactic today, in and of itself it is not enough to capture the imagination of a Brand’s audience that demands more than interesting content. They demand personal engagement.
There’s a small group of national brands who have realized this and opted out of television commercials or other traditional ad networks (for some products) in favor of viral videos or Facebook campaigns such as Burger King, Ford and Nike – to name a few. Even perennial TV advertisers: candy companies are making the shift. Cadbury for example just launched a new chocolate bar, the Dairy Milk Bubbly exclusively on Google+, followed by mentions on Facebook and Twitter.
The Tides of Change
Appealing to the consumer’s need (and expectations) for engagement with Brands is only half the battle marketers (and television) face however. The viewing habits of our audience is changing.
According to Neilson’s 2011 State of the Media: Consumer Usage Report: 143 million people are now watching television programs on work or home computers; 30 millions are watching on mobile devices. Significant increases over previous years.
Even within the “off-TV” world there are drastic changes: ad clicks on mobile devices are growing faster than on PCs. Quarterly figures from Marin Software indicate that mobiles and tablets accounted for 10 percent of all search ad clicks in the U.S. in Q4 2011. That is double the amount of clicks seen on those same devices in Q3 2011.
The migration from traditional program-viewing devices to new, internet based mobile devices has started and moving quickly. And with it, viewer habits and expectations.
Google Upping the Ante
YouTube is betting on the changing tide (or maybe it’s creating it?) by investing $100 million into seeding professional production firms such as Young Hollywood, who is producing a series of YouTube-only programming that will premier this Monday. What does Google know that we should?
They are betting heavily that consumers will continue to spend more and more time consuming programming on their preferred devices: computers, tablets and smartphones, not televisions.
They also didn’t miss Nielson/Yahoo reporting that 80% of smartphone users multitask while watching traditional TV programs, choosing to look up products they see, discuss the programming on social networks among other tasks. Again, consumers are there waiting…expecting to be personally engaged with. Where are the advertisers?
Based on the comments in yesterday’s #bizforum debate, it may be just me, Google and a select few brands that see the trend currents and how radically advertising will have to shift to capture the audience’s engagement; however the P&L statements for those that continue to invest heavily in traditional media advertising and tactics will force a strategy re-think.
What say you? Am I reading the trend currents incorrectly?
By Sam Fiorella
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego
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