ADOTAS — Trailblazing. That’s what advertising and advertisers are known for. Creativity and risk-taking can bring you many places in the ad industry. So why, when it comes to placing those ads on emerging digital platforms versus traditional TV, does trailblazing take a back seat? The answer: measurement.
Measurement needs to be concrete, proven and quantifiable. These words are also some of the reason why advertisers stick with traditional advertising platforms versus making a greater shift to emerging platforms. And who can blame them? Measurement is the backbone of advertising. Ad tech companies are spending big bucks on new technology programs and software to crack the measurement code for those hard-to-track mobile, tablet and connected TV (CTV) ads. Big data is the name of the game, and ad tech companies are using all their resources to figure out how best to tap into that pool to glean the best insights.
Even as measurement advances, understand that it is not the end-all-be-all and can sometimes even be stifling to a brand’s success.
Yes, we know it is more difficult to measure reach and effectiveness on new mediums like mobile, tablet, and CTV. Yes, measurement is comforting to brands spending millions (plural) of dollars on ads every year. However, where emerging platforms may fall short in measurement (for now) it more than makes up for in helping brands find the right audiences in MUCH less cluttered spaces (clutter, being the enemy of advertisers). And which companies will benefit most from blazing that digital trail? First movers. Those that know it’s beneficial in the long run to take that leap of faith in the emerging media space and that the measurement (which is already there in some capacity) will follow. Remember, there was a time when Nielsen didn’t measure cable TV.
First to the party
Being a trailblazer is the only way for advertisers, brands and publishers to survive in the ever-fickle world of advertising. The many advantages of being “first to the party” — higher consumer attention and share of voice, yet lower clutter — are the very returns advertisers seek. Think back to the very first cable TV advertiser. Although terrifying as it may have been, think of what that spotlight meant for its brand. Little did this trailblazing advertiser know it was tapping into what would become a $21 billion market by 2011 and actually surpass the market size of broadcast TV. Now that’s a risk worth taking.
The first challenge advertisers and brands face is skepticism of new screens. At the start of 2013, the estimated penetration of Internet-connected televisions was already as high as 35.1 percent, with that rate expected to increase year over year. With such a high rate, being a first mover should be a no-brainer for marketers, a chance to reach digitally-savvy consumers in new ways with far less competition for views.
Be the guinea pig
Part of the concern for advertisers lies not in being the first to try but being the first to potentially fail. With budgets getting tighter each year and the need for new forms of measurement to speak as much to ROI as it does to brand success, it’s understandable that marketers are concerned about taking that leap. However, an agency lead once told us, “With this campaign, we’ll either have great success or great learnings.” That’s exactly the kind of attitude first movers need to have. If it works, awesome! If it doesn’t, your brand is now ahead of the learning curve at minimum.
Where are the consumers?
Let’s try a social experiment. The next time you’re in a public area, take a look around you and make note of what you see. I am fairly certain you will see vast amounts of people immersed in their mobile devices. Sad, but true. The rate of consumer adoption for mobile, tablet, and CTV is far outpacing advertisers willingness to adopt these new screens.
What have we learned?
Marketers’ hesitancy to advertise on new screens is understandable, due to their historic familiarity and the weight of TV-scale metrics. Yet, when you remember the importance of speaking to your consumers the way they want to be spoken to, the sheer power and influence of these new screens seem to outweigh any caution.
Traditional media is still king. The problem is that audiences aren’t just watching TV or just using their tablets. And they’re certainly not just listening to radio. Audiences are everywhere and accessing content in any way they can get it. Through the use of big data analytics, brands can successfully target consumers online, get their attention and influence their buying decisions. They can change the way ads are seen and enable advertisers to reach the right audiences across all Internet-connected devices. Advertisers that embrace new opportunities across every possible screen see big gains, even without measuring immediate ROI precisely.
There is hope for change. Through technology, multiscreen marketers can better reach and understand how their ideal audiences truly are affected by campaigns. They will not only resonate with those audiences but also continue to exceed the performance of their competition. Sooner, rather than later, even more new technologies will enter the mix — leaving skeptics in the dust.
Which route will you take?