Double standards - How to engage people in the connected space

Chris Bourke, commercial director, EMEA, Qriously
Chris Bourke, commercial director, EMEA, Qriously

Advertisers can target consumers more effectively and boost reach via connected devices, but they have to respect consumers' time and attention, two experts suggest


What is the best way for a brand to engage with a consumer on platforms such as video-on-demand, smart TV or mobile?

Until only recently, this question would require three distinct answers. But today, these platforms interconnect in ways that make platform-centric perspectives irrelevant; TV-like engagement is possible on mobile today, as is mobile-like interactivity on TV. In planning any engagement strategy, context will always influence your choice of format, and this should naturally connect the consumer to content that represents what the consumer is looking for from your category. This is, of course, stating the obvious – but the obvious is rarely executed well in an industry where the next campaign is on top of you before the last has finished.

- What should advertisers be focusing on when it comes to connecting with consumers in this context?

The consumer’s relationship with advertising, in a post-recessionary world, feels like it’s at an all-time low. And why wouldn’t it be, when families trying to make ends meet are blasted with either irrelevant noise or reminders of their predicament from payday-loan brands? The consumer is left feeling like collateral damage in a brand communications war it has no influence over. What to focus on? Start with respect. Respect for the consumer’s time and attention. Use your media to ask questions, to start a conversation. And if you believe there is a match between your brand and a potential consumer, then – and only then – begin the process of influence through communication that genuinely meets intent and need.

- Can interruptive advertising realistically ever be binned?

We need human contact to feel grounded in reality and this includes the sharing of ideas through interruptive, yet ultimately welcomed, conversation. Advertising mirrors this essential model of communication and this is why it is so effective. Humans take into consideration hundreds of variables including context, perceived mood, timing and relevance of message before interrupting one another. If they get it right, then the message is welcomed. Interruptive advertising will be equally welcomed if the available variables are used effectively to convey a relevant message.

- What kinds of innovations can we expect to see in this space in 2013?

The infrastructure to enable programmatic buying and selling of digital media has had a profound effect on the efficiency of direct response campaigns. Marketers are now looking at how real-time bidding technology can be leveraged to bring new efficiencies and effectiveness to campaigns with brand objectives. But it’s likely that the process efficiency, rather than the economic benefits, of programmatic trading will be the primary attraction. Online or mobile planning and buying for brand-led campaigns is still a labour intensive process that is crying out for process innovation. 2013 is the year that we can expect the first steps towards transition.

- How can double-screening be harnessed effectively to benefit both consumers and advertisers?

Reaching for and booting a smartphone is no more taxing than picking up a TV remote to turn up the sound. Effectively harnessing this trend requires advertisers to recognise the unique demands that mobile places on advertising: relative size of ad to screen, consumer attention deficit, frequency of use and the combination of device utility with entertainment. Respect these differences for happy consumers and advertising that makes a difference.


- What is the best way for a brand to engage with a consumer on platforms such as video-on-demand, smart TV or mobile?

Focusing on video-on-demand, this platform fulfils a number of clear purposes: incremental reach, engagement and addressable targeting. With increasingly fragmented viewing behaviour, building incremental reach to a TV campaign is a clear benefit – a fact we clearly qualified when we partnered with RSMB for our recent In VoD We Trust study. Our iVoD suite of formats gives our clients
the opportunity to build interaction in their video assets for the first time. Ad-extend, for example, allows for the extension of a piece of content if user-initiated. It’s important that clients set aside 5-10 per cent of their budgets for testing new formats and platforms, being brave and learning from emerging behaviours.

- What should advertisers be focusing on when it comes to connecting with consumers in this context?

Consumers understand and accept the value exchange that exists with VoD. This gives advertisers a captive and largely receptive audience. Agencies need to work with media owners to get the most out of the platforms that they are using. VoD can be much more than linear TV copy. We are able to segment, isolate and deliver tailored advertising to your audiences, powered by first-party data or the combination of our data and a client database. Broadcasters are also in a very strong position to use television as a catalyst to drive engagement in a much more personal way on a smartphone or tablet.

- Can interruptive advertising realistically ever be binned?

The TV model of running ads around great content will exist for the long term; whether you view the ad as interruptive is down to the placement or creative and
what you are used to. There will always be a need to drive awareness for advertisers, and consumers broadly understand the value exchange that drives fantastic content at the point of consumption. As we get smarter and more efficient through the increased use of dynamic, data-powered targeting solutions, advertising will get much more relevant more of the time, therefore less interruptive.

- What kinds of innovations can we expect to see in this space in 2013?

We are already seeing tablet sales outstrip new desktop sales. The price-point in smart TVs will fall as we strive to get a shiny, thin, flat, new interactive TV. These connected, multiplatform devices will create a fantastic playground for brands. Data addressability will play a large role for us in 2013. Channel 4’s data strategy has given us a base of more than six million registered users to utilise for addressable targeting solutions. This first-party data allows for incredibly robust audience targeting and, with the launch of our "ad-apt", for the first time a VoD campaign will be able to target multiple audiences with different creative treatments in real time.

- How can double-screening be harnessed effectively to benefit both consumers and advertisers?

Channel 4 found from recently commissioned research that consumers dual-screen in many different ways. All behaviours require a different activation approach and there isn’t a solution that exists that covers all effectively. The call to action, as always, will need to be clear, the user journey simple and seamless, and the reasoning contextually relevant.


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