THE MEDIA SPECIALIST: Harry Herber marvels at how digital has changed the media world in a way few could have ever imagined.
We know we live in an ever-changing and evolving world. The clear proof of this is illustrated in the change in our language, with the ‘invention’ of new phrases, words and acronyms that abound. Every meeting I have with the digital guys in our agency, they throw up two or three new descriptors to confuse me. As an example, we find that ‘advertorial’ in digital speak is now called ‘native content’. Go figure.
So, we’re starting to speak a new language: conversation is peppered with CPC, CTA, CX, CTR and CMA. And that’s just the Cs! The dictionary has to keep up, with the result that every year a ton of new words is added. The word of 2014 was ‘vape’, meaning to smoke an electronic cigarette. The year before it was ‘selfie’. A couple of years ago? Unfriend. Clearly, new things demand new language.
Obviously the 21st century is influenced strongly by the digital world, introducing things that in my childhood were in the realm of science fiction and which are now science fact.
The business giants of today are the tech companies. Forget about Google, Facebook and Apple. Just look at some of the advertisers willing to shell out $4.5 million for a spot in this month’s Super Bowl; that’s R50 million for a 30-second spot. Who knows what Mophie or Wix.com do for a living? Well, they’ll both be there.
My point? Back to the boring subject of technology convergence. When it was first discussed and vetted 15 years ago, the stock phrase was “I know it’s coming. I don’t know exactly how it will work or manifest itself, but sure as hell, it’s coming.” Well now in 2015, we’re starting to see it happen. And it is affecting the world of communication quicker and quicker, often without us really realising it.
We know that whoever owns the content is king. DStv owns sport in South Africa. The result? Decoder sales are still rocketing. We may be seeing ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ on our television sets, but they were both born digitally, having been commissioned by Netflix. Five years ago DStv came to you in your house. Today it comes to you on whatever screen you choose, wherever you are in the country. Do we see this as convergence? Nope – it’s just the inevitable flow of progress.
However, now it is really gaining traction in the world of advertising. For years, marketers and media people have admired the absolute measurability of mobile and web communication across a myriad of metrics. The click-through rate, the engagement time, the targetability, the organic added-value (free exposure to you and me) can all be measured.
Sites or executions that don’t deliver are ruthlessly cut, and optimisation is continuous, ensuring optimum bang for the buck. And the result is absolutely predictable. Huge amounts of money have found their way into digital marketing coffers, and the non-measurable real world media has felt the heat – especially in their pockets. Therefore it’s not surprising that the self-same technology has eventually found its way into the world of TV advertising.
We all know that companies worldwide are, and have been for some time, under immense pressure to quantify return on investment on TV spend. Today technology exists that can send ads to specific households matching target markets beyond the typical age or income or geography metrics of the past. Now marketers can produce measurable results for TV.
In the US, there are 40 million households that can receive household-targeted advertising. Does it work? Obviously! Kool-Aid ran a targeted campaign aimed at upper-income households with children aged seven to 12-years-old. The results speak for themselves: sales went up 21% and household penetration went up 38%.
Obviously the data will soon provide response per spot, dramatically telling the media world and the marketing world what really works in television advertising and what doesn’t. Gut feel will be nonsense (if it wasn’t always), and ratings may be proved to be a measurement that was born out of ignorance. I fear we have always suspected that awareness doesn’t always translate into sales. Watch this space because in the very near future spend will be absolutely optimised. Ads will reach the right people only with messaging that has proven effectiveness.
My thoughts? Well, I’ll no longer have to add programming to schedules because “Show X is my wife’s favourite programme. Don’t you know everyone watches it?” Hallelujah!
Harry Herber writes a monthly column for The Media. This post was first published in the February 2015 issue of The Media magazine.
IMAGE: Kim Kardashian, queen of selfies
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.