ADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — The trend is clear: Content is being accessed and read not directly from its published websites, but through content aggregators. These content aggregators — tools that provide platforms for the sharing of information — include social networks, start pages, news readers, widgets and micro-blogs. A study by Avenue A|Razorfish found that 60% of consumers now personalize their start pages. Why this trend? Not only do people want content to be delivered directly to them in order to save time once used in surfing the web, there is a fundamental element that symbolizes a style shift in using the Internet:
Through the use of news feeds, individuals can receive content that reflects their lifestyles, values and curiosities — in essence, a snapshot of their unique profile. This Lifestreaming allows individuals to tailor content to suit their interests. Not only do people want the ease of bringing information to them rather than going out and seeking it, the social transformation of the Internet is about building relationships and connecting people and ideas in a customized way. Never before has there been such a priceless opportunity to understand the consumer.
In a recent article, Mike Troiano wrote, “users not only want content, they increasingly want control of the context in which that content is delivered. And technology is giving it to them. Responsible marketers ignore these trends at their peril.” The context has moved from publishers’ websites to content aggregators that are customized by millions of online users worldwide.
How can advertisers reap rewards on lost content? It is undeniable — advertisers will have to rework their ads in ways where their content relates to the relevance of consumers’ interests — to step into their social worlds where their lifestyles unfold online. This content should be socially-enabled, allowing the audience to save, share and interact with the content. Because readers are no longer going directly to websites and publishers’ pages to access information, marketing attempts that have been placed in the context of those origin sites must now adapt in order to keep up with the migration of consumers to their socially-driven content aggregators. In Web 1.0, we built micro-sites and expected everyone to come to us. The distributed Web is the new micro-site, and the sum of all of your distributed advertising campaigns is greater than the micro-site.
Brand marketers can no longer expect consumers to come to them — they need to go to the consumer with a consistent brand message, on the consumer’s terms.
For advertisers, engaging with people’s Lifestreams will require concentration on aligning their campaigns with content that consumers are reading and sharing with their social networks. Universal McCann’s research has shown that “the environment is now perfect for creating and distributing branded content.” Avenue A|Razorfish
advises: “Think about how search, advertising, social media sites and the blogosphere are related to your digital marketing efforts and invest appropriately.” This trend welcomes an opportunity for advertisers to both place themselves in consumers’ online sphere and engage in conversation that is of relevance to their Lifestreams.
Lifestreaming shares content within online communities in a vetted way
— articles, videos, podcasts and music that are interesting to your friends arrive to your content aggregator. This content not only is likely to be of interest to you, it is coming from a trusted source, as the connections made by Lifestreaming are made by people, not technology — it’s about the people, not the page view.