As the audience for digital media declines and the audience for traditional media remains stagnant or shrinks, marketers are trying to figure out how to best shift their money from traditional to digital advertising programs and what the closest equivalents are in the terms of audience, capabilities, strategic usefulness and goals.
Digital ad spending now accounts for 22.2% of all ad spending, $39.5 billion out of $165.7 billion industry dollars. And that number does not reflect the true weight of digital in the advertising space, as digital campaigns more efficiently connect with specific targets based on the information available about online participants, which allows enhanced targeting.
So how can you best shift your television, radio, newspaper, magazines and out-of-home money into the digital space? We’re not talking about new and different forms of digital media that are unlike anything we’ve seen before. We’re talking about platforms that amount to digital translations of analog media.
The 1st Screen
For television, the obvious heirs to the throne are web shorts and internet-enabled TV services such as Netflix and HuluPlus. YouTube and other platforms that specialize in short videos are currently running TV spots before the clips start (pre-roll). Hulu is working on a more traditional model, interspersing TV spots amongst the show’s content, though the commercial breaks are shorter. Users also sometimes have options such as to which of several ads to watch or whether to watch one long ad or several short ones.
Your 15 and 30 second TV spots can be delivered to these companies and used as-is, though it is recommended to consider the audience and medium and to create spots with the web environment in mind, if you have the funds to do so. This could be as simple as cutting an ad down to a shorter run-time or shooting alternate versions that acknowledge the fact that the ad is running on the web.
Your Own Personal Radio Station
Podcasts are unlikely to replace the radio for people that keep it on in their car without really paying attention, but for the music-focused and NPR-loving set, the shift has already happened to a major extent. Podcasts that have large audiences will run spots similar to those found on terrestrial radio, but typically for products aimed at a narrower demographic, as we have many, many more podcasts than we do radio stations and they offer marketers the ability to reach certain niches.
Other popular podcast advertising techniques involve give-aways hosted by the talent and, ironically, in-program endorsements along the lines of TV sponsorships in the early days of that medium. Marketers will provide a podcaster with a portfolio of information on a product along with a flexible script and then the podcaster will relay the message himself, in his own style and the voice his audience knows and loves.
You can reach out to podcasts with sizable audiences that fit your target demographic and negotiate deals that are similar to what you find in the traditional radio space. And because audio is a relatively cheap format to record in, you can even create many versions of your ads that are tailored to the particular podcasts and audiences you are dealing with.
Out-of-Home Doesn’t Have to be Static
Billboards are interesting because there are a number of corollaries to this advertising tactic. In some ways banner ads are like billboards, sitting off to the side and mostly depending on being noticed in the peripheral vision – “brand building” as it is called in marketing circles.
Billboards and in-store signage can be used to trigger mobile experiences through 2D codes or URLs, and this brings rich interactive experiences to consumers when in the past, they would have just had a graphic design to look at.
For example, Coca-Cola and Charmin are offering consumers the chance to order products while traveling the Philadelphia transit system and have them delivered to the user’s doorstep.
When building and deploying out-of-home media, consider how it can connect to a consumer’s mobile device for an richer and more interactive experience.
Digital Doesn’t Destroy Retail, It Can Invigorate It
E-commerce has put a small dent in retail sales, but is hardly replacing brick and mortar storefronts. More useful in the marketing mix are m-commerce capabilities built into the retail experience, whether this be in the form of coupons, personalized recommendations or simply the ability to buy an item in-store on your phone and have it shipped to your house.
For example, Macy’s Backstage Pass program brings fashion experts and designers directly to shoppers, while they are in the store, through their mobile device. The content that is provided includes seasonal and trending fashion advice from fashion celebrities suchb as Tommy Hilfiger, Greg Norman, Rachel Roy and Irinia Shabayeva.
Look around your retail locations and try to spot opportunities to turn a one-way message like in-store signage into an impulse purchase opportunity through the use of mobile coupons and commerce.
Publish or Perish
Newspaper and magazine advertising can also be compared to banner ads, where free content is being subsidized by visual marketing messages scattered throughout the content.
And online listing sites such as Craigslist have all but replaced the local “For Sale” listings found in the backs of newspapers.
This is one of the easiest adaptations to make and one you are likely already on top of. Create interactive banner ads with a compelling call to action, use rich media when appropriate to build commerce, social and video functionality into those banners, and place ads in online listings rather than printed ones.
Quicker Direct Response Than Ever Before
Email, one of the digital marketing mediums that has been in use for the longest time, has pulled a lot of money away from the direct mail industry, which still exists but is declining on a consistent basis.
Email is cheaper to deploy, can drive to a path-to-purchase and is more often accessed when a consumer is a mood to take action, such as first thing in the morning or during the work day.
Digital Isn’t All Magical Gizmos and Groundbreaking Revelations
In many ways, the digital world is replicating the physical world, albeit with some smart enhancements and extra capabilities. You should take a look the current shifts in digital vs. traditional advertising spending and try to stay marginally ahead of the curve. Traditional media is not going away any time soon, but we do have a whole new set of media that your average marketing is neglecting to some degree. So don’t go overboard, but stay ahead of the pack, since there is less clutter and more opportunity for impulse purchase and interactivity in the digital space.
Greg Steen 02.14.2012