Advertisers always sought a way to track the elusive "word-of-mouth" phenomenon that affected their brands so heavily. Social media brought the conversations that consumers were having online, giving marketers the chance to monitor, further and contribute to them in real-time. Nielsen found that while 14% of people trust ads, 78% of people trust consumer recommendations. The conversation for marketers turned from the one-way nature of traditional media to a two-way dialogue that could not be ignored. Social media has shifted the conversation so forcefully that consumers have an unprecedented level of control over brands, rapidly turning themselves into a brand's best advertisers.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Search engine optimization is one of the most important and cost-effective ways to attract customers on the internet. Research has found that almost two-thirds of the time, people look only at the first page of their search results. They rarely make it beyond the first 10, and virtually never beyond the initial 30 results. When it comes to e-commerce transactions, more than half originate from a search listing, proving the importance of being "found." SEO is a way to ensure that those consumers using the web to search for a product or service easily find it, resulting in a more targeted lead for the advertiser and easier search process for the consumer.
INTEREST-BASED ADVERTISING (BEHAVIORAL TARGETING)
Behavioral targeting allows ads to be more relevant, valuable and thus persuasive to the consumer. This has given the marketing industry an unprecedented level of precision. This comes with a level of caution, however, as consumers are wary of being watched on the web. As such, a group of the nation's largest media and marketing trade associations including the 4As, ANA, BBB, DMA and IAB released self-regulatory principles to protect consumer privacy in ad-supported interactive media. The principles require advertisers and websites to clearly inform consumers about data-collection practices and enable them to exercise control over that information.
ONLINE VIDEO: VIDEO ON DEMAND
The arrival of video on demand and sites like Hulu and YouTube signaled a huge change in the industry. People started looking to the web for entertainment, and advertisers redirected dollars to take advantage of the growing world of online video. Because of internet video's low distribution costs and built-in sharing capabilities, brands have been eager to produce the next viral hit. Viral videos have shown potential to turn ordinary people into brand ambassadors as the clip gets instantly forwarded to friends and family. Internet broadcasting also has provided another online venue for measurable and targeted advertising in the form of attached text and pre-roll ads.
MEASURING ACTIONS VS. IMPRESSIONS
Online ads originally mimicked those in traditional media, where marketers paid for the amount of exposure gained. Since the cost-per-click model has emerged, advertisers have been taking advantage of the internet's ability to measure user action, something impression-based pricing cannot match. Those using action-based systems like Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter, and sites like Facebook, pay based only on how many people engage an ad with a click. Marketers can now see a clearer picture of ROI; consumers who interact with ads tend to be more valuable.
As DVRs made their way into consumers' lives, many industry pundits mourned the end of the 30-second spot and wondered how advertisers would fare now that people could skip through their commercials. The answer was not just to formulate ads that worked in fast-forward, but to introduce interactive TV ads that worked within and in tandem with regular programming. Companies such as BrightLine iTV formed to bring the interactivity of the web to TV, and Canoe Ventures brought the first clickable ad to "receive more info" to the airwaves just last month. This area is one to watch, as consumers accept, and eventually seek, interactivity in all aspects of their lives.
BRAND-SPECIFIC COMMERCIAL RATINGS
More than $70 billion is spent each year on TV advertising. With such a large amount of funds devoted to commercials, the industry began calling for a better way to assess whether they were getting their money's worth. Where, on one hand, the digital realm was providing precise statistics on an ad's effectiveness, TV ratings were still based on the average of all commercials airing with a program. In 2007 the ANA began calling for ratings that were specific to each commercial. The industry is now starting to see a potential pathway, as a test conducted by Nielsen shows that the move toward brand-specific commercial ratings is clear.
MOBILE ADVERTISING AND PAYMENTS
According to eMarketer, the mobile advertising industry is expected to be worth more than $1.56 billion by 2013. This burgeoning platform is seeing a meteoric rise thanks to the proliferation of cell phones, smartphones and tablet computers. Apple's iPhone and iPad specifically have brought the mobile arena to the forefront, as consumers increasingly look to their phones to aid in more aspects of their lives. While the internet can tell advertisers what sites consumers visit and for how long, the iAd platform gives a detailed picture of their potential customers' everyday lives. Additionally, mobile payments allow marketers to make appeals for instant buys, and dole out coupons and other rewards.
Marketing-mix modeling provided researchers and analysts the opportunity to think more precisely about integrated marketing. Technologists found ways to create highly productive media-decision models by weaving together analyses of consumer sensitivity to a company (or brand's) media platforms. This tool gave media planners the opportunity to increase the effectiveness of an integrated marketing plan while reducing overall costs . Modeling has become more difficult with newer forms of media, the management process for conceptualizing integrated media plans remains the same. This is expected to improve as marketers and agencies better assess consumer sensitivity to digital media platforms.
Since 1970, advertisers, agencies and TV networks used the ISCI commercial coding system to identify TV commercials. To help bring a higher level of accuracy to the coding process and consistency to advertisement identification, as well as enable the industry for digital convergence, a new identification system was created. Developed by the 4As and the ANA, Ad-ID came into the marketplace in 2003 as a digital identifying code for advertisements. It has since been dubbed the "UPC code of the advertising industry." Ad-ID helped transform the marketing industry for the digital revolution.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR|
Bob Liodice is president-CEO of the Association of National Advertisers. This is the seventh in a series of 10 columns being published in celebration of the ANA's 100th anniversary.