Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Can Advertising Exist Without Being Interruptive?

In the past, I’ve mentioned that I don’t believe that people are trying to avoid advertising.  What people are trying to avoid are interruptions.

Unfortunately, those interruptions just happen to be advertising.

One of the keys to being successful in advertising is to understand how consumers look at advertising.  Most people in the business think consumers hate advertising. 

What if that’s not the case?

What if the thing that people hate is being interrupted?

If that’s the case, and if we want advertising to continue to be a viable source of attracting consumers for marketers, then what needs to change?

The way advertising is delivered, certainly.

As well as the current perception as to what constitutes success in advertising.

It seems as if consumers accept, and I use the word “accept” cautiously here, interruptions on TV more than online.

So perhaps if advertising is going to remain as an interruptive medium, it can do so on TV. 

It makes some sense.

TV offers broad reach.  And, being intrusive through a broad-reaching platform is the most efficient way to let a lot of people know about new products.

But what about online?

Does intrusion need to be a major part of the online platform as well? 

It’s the online intrusions that people seem to despise the most.   Most people feel that online is their medium.  It’s where they’re supposedly in control.

Perhaps that’s why the “irk factor” increases tenfold when we’re interrupted online.

The good part about online is that if offers something TV doesn’t.  Online offers search.

Search is the opposite of reach.  Search offers consumers the ability to reach out to advertisers.  That's the opposite of reach, which allows advertisers to search for consumers.

So what if advertisers said we’ll take TV to reach out to you and you use online to search for us?

Seems like a fair trade-off, doesn’t it?

I believe consumers would definitely buy into this.

How about advertisers?  Yes, if…

If they would be willing to change their definition as to what constitutes success. 

The success of any advertising today is defined through reach.  Which means, it’s defined as how many.

The success of search is defined by a different metric.  Rather than how many, the success of search is defined by how long.

How long does the consumer spend with your brand and your advertising once they searched you out?  The longer they spend with your brand, the more likely they are to purchase that brand.

Which is why it's interesting that advertisers don’t measure success by the amount of time consumers spend with their brand.  In fact, time seems to be fairly irrelevant.

This is more than a little surprising since branding is all about building a relationship with consumers over time.

So doesn’t it make sense that advertisers would like to know how much time consumers are spending with their brand?  How much time is needed to make a sale.  To earn a customer.

To do what most advertisers say is the reason they’re advertising in the first place.

Build a brand.

Maybe the new definition of advertising success is some combination of how many + how long.

Who knows?

What we do know is that the definition of success going forward can no longer be centered on interruption.

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