by Marc Schmitt
The real problem is that people no longer consciously take in advertising. Numerous studies show that people block out TV ads or are no longer exposed to them as they stream contents via iTunes, Netflix and co. When did you last click a banner ad on purpose? Do you remember any of the banners you saw online this morning as you were reading the news on your smartphone? Probably not – and you are not alone, hence the advent of the term “banner blindness”. The question therefore arises: how do you capitalize on the trust that people put in advertising if they are no longer taking it in?
The answer: Make your ad placements better.
Increasing the relevance of advertising content has been shown to significantly increase the click through rates. “Pre-targeting” and “retargeting” are currently the buzzwords that are promoted. What this means essentially, is that possible interests are assessed based on historical and current user trends and relevant advertisements are pushed onto the sites being visited. One might be looking for the best time of year to travel to Malaysia and from this point onwards, all banners on the web seem to change to flights, hotels and rental cars to, from and in Malaysia.
However, if people are no longer noticing conventional advertising formats, it might be better to put information across via content. This is currently a common and successful practice and native advertising continues to grow in terms of media spending, but also as media outlets offer new forms of content co-operation. The inevitable question that arises from this trend is how this will affect the user trust in media as the divide between church (content) and state (advertising) becomes less clear.
The third option is to use social media and PR to spread the brand content into the sociosphere from blogs to Facebook streams. Once again there are an increasing number of products being offered by social networks, bloggers etc. which means media money could be spent here to allow for sponsored posts. Currently, many successful brands combine both paid and unpaid (natural) social media distribution of content.
Creating your own media formats with a significant following might allow you to reach your target group with branded content. Red Bull is certainly the master of this art. It creates events, media formats and has developed its own media channels from TV channels, internet channels and print magazines to spread the gospel that is the Red Bull brand.
Finally, there now exist cookbooks that can be drawn from the drawer as to how you should plan your media activities. An initial analysis of your current situation has to be the basis for development of the strategy for your owned, earned and paid media activities into the future.