Monday, September 13, 2010

If We Allow Viewers to Watch Advertising On Their Terms, Will They?

If you ask marketers to answer this question, most would probably hesitate. Most marketers, it seem, don’t have a lot of faith in advertising.

But, if you ask viewers this question, their answer may well surprise you. They wouldn’t watch every commercial, obviously. But would they watch those commercials about products, or brands, or solutions to problems that they are interested in?

Probably.

And, depending on where the viewer is down the purchase funnel, they would probably watch every second of the commercial.

So, what would their terms be?

I think they would ask for two things. Number one, that the advertising would have to be non-intrusive. Viewers would be allowed to come to it when they are ready. Think search.

Why do I say this? Yankelovich did a study recently that showed that 55% of people said they “like” advertising. What they don’t like is the way that advertising is currently marketed to them. In other words, the way that advertising intrudes on their programming and delays them from watching what they actually clicked-in to watch online.

Number two, the advertising would have to be relevant. But this should be easy enough. After all, if advertising is not going to be intrusive, then it will have to be opt-in. With opt-in advertising, the viewer determines relevance. Not the advertiser.

The result of all of this? Instead of advertisers annoying 90% of the audience to reach the 10% that might be interested, it would allow the 10% that are interested to reach the advertiser.

Of course, you see the problem with the model, don’t you. The broadcast networks and online publishers need 90% annoyance in order to be able to survive.

Ninety percent annoyance is what keeps the house of cards that is the broadcast industry, standing.

But most marketers would tell you that they would be quite successful by selling 10% of the people 100% of the way, rather than attempting to sell 100% of the people 10% of the way.

The digital platform now allows this to happen.

How long will it be before we get out of our own way?

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