In the past year, there was a tectonic shift in the world of advertising and you didn’t even realize it.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that big of a change to most people, but for the first time since Lucille Ball and Walter Cronkite were the big-hitters of primetime programming, television is not the most marketable advertising medium in the U.S. That crown now belongs to the Internet, or more specifically, digital marketing, for which we expect a long and prosperous reign. For the first time in history, digital advertising spend is expected to exceed that of TV ads in 2017.
Like a glacier inching down a valley gorge, this movement is something we all knew was unstoppable but observed with loving anticipation. One-by-one, we welcomed the Internet into our news, our friendships, even our dishwashers. You can now use your iPhone to stream Fetty Wap to your Bluetooth stereo in your Tesla while simultaneously telling your iHouse to close the curtains and queue up your favorite Netflix show on your smart TV, and Snap Chat the whole experience if you like ← if you just time-traveled from the 20th century, I apologize for short-circuiting your brain with that gibberish you suspect was English; In 2017, we call that a Tuesday.
For small and big brands alike, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that digital advertising has become the trend-of-response, nor that it’s been met with such success. In 2017, it’s expected that as much as $83B could be spent in the U.S. toward digital marketing — which would put it just short of 40 percent of the total marketing industry spend. Accelerating from 3.8 percent just 10 years ago in 2007, this figure confirms the relentless inertia we’ve witnessed as our friends and family have become more-and-more glued to their phones (not at dinner!).
Digital advertising levels the playing field, but it requires new layer of authenticity
The best news that comes along with this shift is that every brand can afford some level of digital advertising. The same is not true with TV ads.
But, to be successful in digital advertising brands need to focus on the individual, not the mass audience of TV. What’s more, we need to converse and communicate in ways that encourage and rewards our customer’s attention — and the key is authenticity.
We joke about attention spans and weakening social interactions, but it’s important we don’t fall for this misconception: attention spans aren’t shortening, rather, they’re shifting as people focus on what’s most interesting and relevant – to them. If you don’t respect this honest competition for their attention with authentic content, people have free-will to scroll passed you at any moment, your marketing efforts will be swiped into oblivion.
But this shouldn’t be intimidating. The digital space is in many ways the most complex and imaginative canvas available to creative marketers. And the real estate is being sold at a great value to brands that recognize the broader scope of ROI involved with digital advertising (in short, impressions and followers).
For small-to mid-size brands, limited budgets encourage smaller-scale but more targeted campaigns, which when successful, have a profound ripple effect on their audience. as 92 percent of people trust peer review and word-of-mouth over traditional brand content, meaning these campaigns help brands get traction beyond their traditional audience.
So it’s official: the Internet is a big deal and it’s not going anywhere. But with it, everyone has been given a voice on a relatively leveled playing field compared to how it’s been with television, print and radio space in the past. In the digital advertising space, honest effort, authenticity, and persistence will determine how memorable your brand is for those shortening — I mean, shifting — attention spans.