There is a lot of debate about where best to spend your advertising budget, and more importantly, what medium to focus on. The future of advertising is changing rapidly.
Old School [Traditional] Advertising
It was only 20 years ago that it was the norm for companies to spend large marketing budgets on TV/radio and newspaper advertising. You weren't a big player in the market unless you were advertising on TV, had a regular spread in the newspaper or even had a Superbowl commercial for instance. In a lot of cases these forms of advertising were relatively successful, though very expensive, in building brand awareness as there were limited choices to reach such a wide market. Given the technology of the time, consumers couldn't easily skip through TV ads which providing a more reliable platform.
But let's be honest. Newspaper publishers and TV networks are really feeling the heat. Just recently in New Zealand, two of the larger media agencies, Fairfax Media and NZME, applied to the Commerce Commission to merge their companies.
The companies had argued that a rapidly changing media market driven by digital technology was eroding the economics of their businesses and they needed to join forces to survive in the long term. They said the biggest issue was the emergence of Facebook and Google as news competitors now garnering large portions of businesses' advertising budgets. The Commerce Commission rejected their proposal.
"This merger would concentrate media ownership and influence to an unprecedented extent for a well-established modern liberal democracy," commission chair Mark Berry said.
Unfortunately, there will likely be more job cuts within these companies and many other traditional media sectors around the world will be in a similar situation.
As new platforms and successful advertising mediums arise, the traditional media will continue to struggle to stay relevant. Gone are the days of sinking huge, multi-million dollar budgets into campaigns that were quite often a shot in the dark. Enter the new media opportunities which offer a much more targeted approach and often for a vastly smaller budget.
Netflix, Foxtel, Sky TV, TiVo and many other similar companies allow viewers to stream movies and shows on demand. Viewers can now fast forward skipping past ads or even enjoy programming with no ads at all.
In my experience, a lot of the TV advertisements you continue to see today are driven by large franchise companies who are producing the TV ads to appease their franchisees, versus focusing on the customer and the best way to reach them. Consumers have so many options today for enjoying their favourite shows and most skip through the ads or at a minimum, mute the ads while they check the latest on their social media feeds. Consumer behaviour has changed drastically and people want more and they want it now.
I believe that a number of these large franchise companies still firmly rooted in traditional media need to learn from other companies who have evolved and "just get it".
Volvo were and are, well ahead of the advertising game when it comes to social media and in particular YouTube content. Instead of spending a massive amount of money to air a TV campaign, in Nov 2013, they decided to create an online commercial using Jean-Claude Van Damme to promote the stability and precision of the Volvo dynamic steering system. This inspiring and quite remarkable YouTube movie went viral across social media platforms with over 25 million views in the first week. The clip has had over 85 million views to date!
Today's advertising can be better spent with targeted and measurable campaigns using YouTube along with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google AdWords.
YouTube has over 1 billion users per month. More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices. YouTube has launched local versions in more than 88 countries. You can navigate YouTube in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95% of the Internet population).
Facebook is bringing in a massive amount of mobile revenue every quarter, accruing $7.3 billion in Q4 of last year alone. Facebook has very sophisticated advertising tools so you can ensure your campaign is presented to your target customer. With 1.7 billion mobile users why would you not allocate at least a part of your marketing spend to this audience?
Through these social media and digital platforms, as a business you can access rich data on exactly what your consumers want and need, and then target those advertisements directly to those consumers. You can handpick your audience and even exclude those that it may offend if necessary.
I believe there still is a place for radio advertising for certain businesses as you have somewhat of a captured audience. However, this too is changing and there is no easy way to truly track audience engagement.
In addition to social and digital, the future of advertising is going to be in holographic billboards, interactive kiosks and a big focus will go into Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) simulations and gaming.
Think about a conference exhibition. Manufacturers of x-ray machines would be able to show live working demos of their equipment. Property developers could take you on a virtual experience to walk through a house and check out the views and local area.
With AR advertising, as you walk through a city you will see info points showing interesting facts on say a walkway and then beside it subtle ads for coke or the nearest Starbucks is .2 miles away.
Subliminal advertising will play a part in many of the VR games. As you go into the drunken bar fight simulation, you will see Budweiser, Coors, and Jim Beam branding. This type of ad placement has been around for years and you see this in every movie and most TV shows.
But the real gold will be in AR advertising and really providing a consumer rich experience. For example, you will have your AR glasses on as you walk through a supermarket and as you look at an item on the shelf your glasses will show you extra information about the product, where it came from, was the produce grown organically and other information about the company who produces it. You may want a heads up on similar items in the store and a price comparison, recipe ideas, what it pairs well with and so on.
I've only just scratched the surface here and in my role as a Futurist Speaker and a Digital Marketing Coach, what I love about the present, is our ability to measure and target consumers who are actually looking to use a product or service, and keep the marketing spend for companies at an acceptable level that provides measurable results. Whatever future advertising platforms emerge, they must be measurable and targeted to consumers.