Feb 14, 2013

Social & Mobile: The Ad Kingdom is Changing

In the first day of the general sessions for the online marketing summit in San Diego, “content” was a constant theme across many sessions.  The first two I attended were specifically relating to the “royalty” of content:  “Content is Gold” and “TV Advertising is King, but the Kingdom is About to Change”.

Both of these titles are not only true, but the messages couldn’t be clearer.  TV advertising has always been predominant (it still is), but online video and specifically targeted video, is catching up… and fast!  And in that ever-important 18-34 audience, TV advertising can easily become wasted dollars.  (See the excellent infographic by Koeppel Direct illustrating this trend at the bottom of this post.)

One only has to consider the larger idea of TV advertising to realize this change is occurring:  Everything has to be part of social media.   Without asking “How does it conform to social media” is to miss the entire point of today’s advertising mindset, and more importantly… the mindset of the audiences.

Ask anyone who has grown up with the internet “What does TV mean to you?” and they’ll point to their laptop or tablet or smartphone.  It’s ANY screen.  Video content has become the glue to engage audiences across any device.  TV does not own this space anymore (outside of the Super Bowl I suppose!).

Static imagery still remains relevant.  But the terminology may be changing more slowly.  We still think of a “Kodak moment”.  When that is replaced by “Instagram moment” in all of our minds, we’ll know the changing of the guard has occurred.

In addition, to today’s youth market that is growing up with online, TV Networks mean nothing.  Their devices house their content.  Hulu, Youtube, and their brethren are the new “TV networks”.

Maybe most importantly, people don’t want to be told what they want by an ad anymore.  They want to be told by a friend what’s important or interesting… and act on that!  Social media has become a major force in how people not only engage, but purchase.  Video needs to address this, particularly on TV, or it will continue to lose relevance to the growing hyper-connected audiences.

TV commercials must change to make it more specific to the online audience.  A simple 30 second commercial spot may not address the specific target audience, or engage with them enough through social, interactivity, or relevance.  It is reminiscent of the first TV commercials for the new television audience in the 1950’s.  One of the very first TV ads was for Bulova Watches:

Not understanding how this new medium worked, the TV ads simply became a video of a magazine ad:  Showing a ticking watch, with the announcer reading the magazine text.  Hardly the stuff that TV audiences expected from this amazing new technology in their living rooms.  But now, those commercials appearing directly on our devices are no more relevant than the Bulova Watch ad… unless the the creators take into account targeting, interactivity, and conforming to social media best practices.

The companies that do this well, will succeed in achieving their goal.  That is the new Kingdom, and it’s changing before our eyes!

Author Kevin Wilk is a divisional vice president with MultiVu.

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