The New Production Cycle And Instant Feedback
One of the paramount reasons for the new opportunities available to marketers is the changing nature of production. While a campaign used to take months or even years to evolve from idea to market, today’s campaigns can be conceptualized and on-air within a week.
When it comes to digital specific content, we are no longer working with large scale productions and multimillion dollar mass budgets, which means leaner crews and shifting money to where it works the hardest, e.g. from decadent craft service to putting it on-screen. Today’s media landscape brings greater creative flexibility, control and opportunity. Digital and new media content allows creatives to push the envelop without the restrictions of broadcast. As many directors don’t find tremendous creative opportunities that excite them in the traditional space, coupled with budget realities, a new model is forming. The creative and production quality of Web content continues to increase.
In this scenario, advanced testing is obviously limited, but lower production costs somewhat nullify the need for extensive advanced testing as current analytics offerings allow feedback in real-time. Marketers today can find out immediately what content is working, where and for how long. There’s hardly any lag time between a content launching and consumer opinion surfacing – which can be both a good and bad thing — just ask Mountain Dew or Hyundai.
While ‘big data’ is the buzzword, what’s more useful than mountains of data is smart, actionable insights. The ability for automated systems to analyze and distill information has revolutionized the ability to course-correct campaigns in near real time – a total game-changer. Plus, the proliferation of platforms (Google Analytics, Sysomos, Adobe etc.) that create elegant and informative dashboards makes it seamless for C-suite decision makers to see the big picture, making digitally centered campaigns a more attractive prospect. The rise of data analytics has served to create new expectations on the part of executives to see results immediately -- making monthly TV ad rankings from companies like Ace Metrix seem sluggish at best.
As consumer eyeballs shift from traditional media to digital screens, marketers are starting to recognize digital benefits. The demographics tracked by traditional media, typically consist primarily of gender and age targets, however, the ubiquity of digital allows for an entirely new level of social graphics that can identify motivations, sentiment and other passion points. If a marketer is looking for stay-at-home moms in their thirties who like country music, it’s a simple, and more cost-effective, task to reach them through digital channels. It would be impossible to get the same level of granularity through mass broadcast.
The Numbers Are There
The last objections to adopting a broader and more nimble media plan center around verification of the effectiveness of digital over traditional ads. To that end, a recent study by eMarketer found that ads viewed in full episode video players online had significantly better general recall over those viewed on TV (64% versus 46%). A study by Nielsen and the IAB recommended transferring 15% of TV budgets to online video to increase reach while lowering cost. The numbers are there.
The industry needs to fully embrace the value of a faster, digital media landscape. Value for the content being created and the audience the platform reaches. While digital will probably never hit the margins that a traditional media buy can reach, shifting budgets and attracting audiences to online platforms (highlighted in the recent New Fronts) will hopefully pay dividends to all involved – especially the brands that get in early.