Marketing During the Pause Moments in the Age of Always On

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ADOTAS – Ever feel that the rest of the world is busy having the time of their lives? Worried that, among your friends, you are the last to know the gossip, hear the news, read the tweet, or see the posting? Millennials & Gen X are familiar with this anxiety all too well. It’s even got a name: FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out.

With 90% of Americans carrying Internet-enabled phones and more than 150 million connected through social media, FOMO should be a marketers’ dream. Living an always-on life doesn’t necessarily translate to always paying attention though.

In fact, the dirty little secret of digital advertising has been a diminished share-of-voice and, in an effort to combat the issue, an escalation of nearly meaningless impressions as a result. An arms race of 4 trillion online display ads last year has done little to move budget dollars from traditional broadcast because most of display is woefully ineffective.

However, there are three things that marketers can do to get their message seen and their story embraced.

Find the Pause Moments

Each day, tens of millions of American social media users hit a wall:  More specifically, a pay wall. They might be trying to read an article, watch a video, play a game or connect with the Internet while in a venue that charges for WiFi access. These are “pause moments” – when consumers have to either stop living their lives or start paying.

Zynga, and other social gaming companies, have so brilliantly mastered the art of creating pause moments that they account for the majority of time spent on social networks such as Facebook. These moments, and the applications they are instrumental to, provide marketers with a powerful new tool: the ability to satisfy consumers’ immediate need for gratification.

In the simplest of terms, engage with the brand and the pay wall will be removed. Watch a trailer for Disney’s Cars2 movie and earn virtual cash for Farmville. View Stoli’s new commercial and get more music from Pandora. Learn about small business products from Intuit and get free airport WiFi.

In all these examples, the consumer is initiating the brand interaction at a time that suits them and giving the experience 100% share of voice. In fact, a study of more than 100 campaigns that take advantage of “pause moments” showed that the average consumer engaged with the advertiser’s message for 63 seconds.

Employ True Targeting

In a world where Congress is considering outlawing cookies and pixel tracking, and consumers are more concerned about their privacy than ever before, pause moments give brands the perfect opportunity to employ true targeting. Because the consumer is opting in, and appreciative of the value exchange they are receiving, most are willing to let you know more about them.

True targeting is asking the consumer to provide anonymous data in an environment where they actually have no incentive to do so (and yet, they are so motivated by the value-exchange that they take the whole process seriously). If the consumer is lucky enough to be getting free access to premium content they normally are required to pay for, they want to be given such an opportunity again in the future; so they answer brief questions openly and honestly.

Are you in the market for a car? Have you ever taken a cruise? Do you own a cat?

Toyota, Celebrity Cruises, and Mars Petcare are all benefiting from true-targeting media spends by having their messages engaged only by the consumers they most desire (and on that note, zero waste means a lossless media buy). Even better, these consumers are spending time with messages that resonate with them — during pause moment when they have the time to focus and absorb the information.

Empower Consumer Sharing

We all know that there is nothing more powerful than an endorsement or recommendation from a friend. Social media’s allure to marketers is centered on how quickly and vastly a person can share information, a story, a brand message. By creating “pause moment engagements” that allow for personalization, consumers have a reason to share the message with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.

For example, the sweetener Truvia asked consumers to upload a picture of their sweetest moment, and were rewarded when thousands responded. Disney, in an engagement for Toy Story 3, asked users to name their favorite childhood toy. By encouraging participation and appealing to consumers’ emotional connections, share rates skyrocket.

A political engagement campaign that ran last month and was fully interactive resulted in an astonishing 39% of people posting it to their Facebook feed. Each posting of the engagement then reached an average of 130 friends. In turn, 30% of those friends opened the engagement and interacted with the campaign.

By employing all three tools — pause moments, true targeting and sharing — the earned media of the campaign was several orders of magnitude greater than the purchased media.

A whole generation of consumers has never known life without mobile phones or a day without social media. The all-to-real anxiety of FOMO presents marketers with brief moments when consumers are ready, willing and able to engage with their favorite brands. Failure to jump in and take advantage of those moments is guaranteed to result in career-impacting FOMO for many a CMO.

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