In years past, the challenge with TV advertising was how slow things would change. But now the biggest challenge that brands and marketers face is the vast range of choices available across diverse platforms. In his opening keynote presentation of the iMedia Content Summit in Huntington Beach, California, Dr. Duane Varan made a valuable conclusion for marketers on how to navigate through the complex ad space: Although disruption is disorienting, it provides the best opportunity to break ahead of competitors.
For brands to best identify what's best suited to their objectives, it's essential to focus on the right ad models. Through Varan's extensive research at his Media-Science Lab in Austin, Texas, and the "Beyond Thirty Seconds" project, he's researched more than 50 new ad models and has concluded that some of them work and some don't.
His presentation highlighted the opportunities within these new ad models that are available to help brands break ahead of competitors. Brands can capitalize on these three key trends in the new landscape: enhanced viewer reach, engagement, and disposition.
- Reach: The new platforms give marketers significantly better opportunities to reach consumers. And as a result, reach becomes far more important than frequency.
- Engagement: The new landscape's opportunities deliver a different kind of content that allows people to interact in a much more meaningful way than linear engagement.
- Disposition: Viewers can now choose whether or not to watch an ad. This means marketers and brands need to better understand how to communicate with consumers. It's important to find the points in time when consumers are most receptive to receiving messages.
In addition to these three areas to focus on in the new landscape, Varan provided an example of what works and what doesn't work for each theme.
- Reach: Cross-platform provides opportunities to look at products to maximize reach. Media-multi tasking (simultaneous device usage) becomes a downside because it's a way for people to avoid ads. The solution to this is building a cognitive bridge by linking both screens through a synchronized visual banner.
- Engagement: Interactive video ads have proved successful based on the paradigm choice for consumers. When given a choice of which ad to watch, consumers are more inclined to keep watching. TV speed bumps (when people fast-forward an ad and a banner pops up) are the downside and have proven no positive effect. The remedy is disabling the fast-forward option all together.
- Disposition: The most powerful tool to enhance this is brand integration, which has proven to lift purchase intent to the subsequent ad exposure. Addressable TV advertising doesn't work, specifically when it's category-based. This tactic works online but has no impact for television.
The key to capitalizing on change is to understand the nuances of the landscape and adapt before your competition does. And knowing what doesn't work is just as important as knowing what works. It helps you avoid investing your resources in the wrong places. This doesn't just mean money; it means people, your most essential resource today.
Betsy Farber is an associate editor at iMedia Connection.
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