To effectively reach consumers in the new social environment, brand managers need to learn how to translate their budgets into the digital realm, which also means understanding the advantages that digital can provide over television advertising.
Here are five "Vs" to help guide the way as you shift your vision from television to digital.
1. Opt-in video. Great brands are great storytellers. However, too many brands create compelling video without a captive audience to watch it. In other words, they have no idea how to tell who's actually paying attention. While commercials interrupt consumers' enjoyment of a TV program, social media allows video to enter the conversation between friends in a non-intrusive way with an opt-in choice.
Brands such as Microsoft, American Express and Unilever are among the many advertisers who are mastering how to pick the right moments online to tell their story, and in turn, are able to gauge the attention levels of their target audience. By empowering consumers to choose when and with whom they would like to engage, brands are more likely to reach people who will embrace their message. Recent studies show consumers average over 60 seconds of engagement with brands when they willingly opt-in to a video ad experience.
2. Value exchange. Consumers value their personal time and are loyal to those companies that make their lives more productive. Brands gaining some of the biggest successes in social media are engaging with millions of consumers through value exchange. By offering consumers something relevant to their online experience in return for their time and attention, value-exchange advertising is crucial to gaining a consumer's active attention in a mutually beneficial way.
Broadcast television and radio pioneered the original media value-exchange model as networks provided consumers with free content in exchange for listening to a word from the sponsor. The digital media uprising has allowed the model to pivot, making value exchange, and its corresponding ROI, now possible on a 1-to-1 level. And now, with virtual currency (perhaps worth its own "V"!), moms seeking Facebook Credits to build their Zynga farms, office workers trying to read an article buried behind a paywall, or travelers trying to access WiFi at an airport can all be helped with value-exchange advertising - allowing brands to provide instant gratification.
3. Virality. In the "old days" (as in, less than 10 years ago), a television commercial earned additional buzz at the water cooler. Today, these same conversations take place on Twitter and Facebook, creating the water cooler gossip of thousands. This distinction is important because 24% of all viewers now have a second screen open while they watch TV, whether it's a tablet, a PC or a smart phone. Clever brands like Kia and Best Buy are synchronizing their TV spend with social media ad engagements to speed the virality of their message. This synchronicity should be given special heed: consumers who share a brand's message as part of an engagement campaign typically share it with an average of 130 friends online. Earned media by way of the online water cooler is a vast multiplier of digital dollars spent, and greatly increases a brand's effective reach and conversion down the sales funnel.
4. Validity. Millions have been spent over the last half-century on research to justify the value of TV advertising. What social media may lack in 50 years of studies, it is making up in concrete and measureable results. According to a recent OTX Research study, about two-thirds of people use information they find through social media to influence their buying decisions, and over 60% trust information they find through social media more than traditional advertisements-pointing to the effectiveness of social media campaigns to change consumer behavior. Moreover, as social media migrates to the mobile environment, marketers will be able to track consumers' purchases at physical store locations, and social ROI will have irrefutable validity - making the current industry standard of 0.1% for display ad CTRs shameful and baseless.
5. Vision. What's really holding back billions of brand dollars from digital advertising? Vision. Most CMOs who are giving speeches about the power of social aren't backing up those words with budgets and smart execution plans. For brand dollars to migrate from TV to digital, brand managers are going to have to lead the way and prove the strength of this next generation of marketing. Those with the Vision today will quickly become the CMOs of tomorrow.