Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Two Types Of Advertising

I’m starting to think that there are two types of advertising.
No, not social versus non-social.

I’m thinking more along the lines of advertiser-initiated advertising (think TV) and viewer-initiated advertising (think online).

Both types of advertising are driven by intent.  In advertiser-initiated advertising, the intent driving the interaction is the advertiser’s.   So the advertising is intrusive in nature.

In viewer-initiated advertising, the intent driving the interaction is the viewer’s.   Which is why the advertising is opt-in rather than intrusive.

Online offers both types of advertising, although most of the dollars go to advertiser-initiated advertising.  TV offers primarily advertiser-initiated advertising with the occasional cable operator offering some sort of opt-in option on their VOD platform.

In advertiser-initiated advertising, the length of the commercial is determined by the advertiser/network.  Thirties, primarily, although fifteens are becoming frustratingly more common.

In viewer-initiated advertising, length is determined by the viewer.  That’s because the viewer can stop watching at any time.  They opt-in on their own and opt-out on their own.

Research has shown that when the viewer initiates the interaction, the longer the spot, the better.  After all, this viewer opted in because they have some interest in doing so.   They continue watching as long as that interest remains.

The objective of advertising-initiated advertising is reach.  Interrupt, I’m sorry, expose as many people to the message as possible in the hope that some will watch.

The objective of viewer-initiated advertising is view duration.  Since just a few of the people that are exposed to an ad will opt-in to it, scale comes from time-spent with the advertising - how long starts to replace how many or how often.

Okay big deal, you say.  Why is this important?  Is this important?


With advertiser-initiated advertising, scale is achieved through media dollars (reach).  With viewer-initiated advertising, scale is reached through creativity (duration).  

That's kind of important.

Advertiser-initiated advertising concerns itself with what happens outside the video (how many/exposure).  Viewer-initiated advertising concerns itself with what happens inside the video (how long/duration).

That's kind of important.

In other words, who initiates the advertising becomes important because it transfers who’s accountable for scale being reached with that advertising.

In one case, it’s strictly media based.  The creative (or what’s inside the video) is an after thought.  In the other case, it’s all about the creative.  After all, the objective with viewer-initiated advertising is how long people spend with the brand.  Not how many see it.  Or, how often.

Ironically, advertisers need both types of advertising.  TV remains important because creating awareness is critical for most brands.  All advertisers need to attract new customers.

But of equal importance is being able to offer potential customers the ability to find out more about a brand on their terms, by opting in to that brand's story.  Awareness leads to interest.  Interest needs an opportunity to be met.

The more time an advertiser gets consumers to spend with their brand the better.  Most people define that as branding – building relationships over time.  

We can now measure how much time people spend with a brand.   In other words, duration starts to serve as a proxy by which to measure the effectiveness of an advertiser's branding efforts.

When we only had TV, effectiveness was measured by reach and frequency.  Online offers a different opportunity.  The opportunity to replace frequency with duration.

It's been said that TV builds awareness, while online builds advocates.

And, it does.  If, of course, you look at the intent of TV and online as being different.

Most advertisers don't.

Do you?

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