Something's gotta give. The traditional 30-second spot is
becoming more expensive every year, with record fees being paid during the
Super Bowl and American Idol. Yet, TV's reach and effectiveness is decreasing.
Was TV such an amazing deal in previous years that it still makes sense
nowadays to budget huge sums for television advertising anyway?
According to a survey by
the Association of National Advertisers, 78% of advertisers say that TV
advertising has become less effective during the past two years. They largely
blame video-on-demand and Tivo for this, which obviously has an impact. But so
does the fragmentation of television and the Internet. Think
"micro"... micro-communities, micro-advertising, etc.
It's just common sense. When there were 3 major broadcast networks, a few local
channels, and that was it... well of course mass advertising was going to work.
But there will never be a MASH moment again. It's VERY rare that a single event
brings the entire nation together (and when it does, it's usually some sort of
tragic event during which you wouldn't want to advertise.) There is so much
choice now, which is great for consumers but not so great for traditional
A new way of thinking is required. And it's starting. The leading edge is
jumping on the bandwagon and it's just a matter of time before everyone else
starts to catch up.
User-generated online media (all that "Interactivism" stuff we talk
about) is growing extremely rapidly. Ad spending on blogs, podcasts and RSS
feeds grew nearly 200% from 2004 to 2005 and is projected to grow another 145%
in 2006. Research
done by PQ Media suggests that the root causes are audience fragmentation, the
ineffectiveness of traditional advertising, and the desire to reach the 18 - 34
market. Among the paper’s findings:
Blog advertising comprised over 81% or $16.6 million of total spending on user-generated online media in 2005, but blog ads will comprise only 40%, or $300.4 million in 2010
Podcast advertising is rapidly growing. In 2005, such advertising accounted for only $3.1 million in spending but is expected to grow to $327 million by 2010, which would make it larger than blog advertising.
Spending on RSS advertising is currently tiny ($650,000 in 2005) but is expected to grow to nearly $130 million by 2010.
Total spending on user-generated online media is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 106% from 2005 to 2010, reaching $757 million by then.
GTM has posted an intelligent overview of Interactivism, or what we have been for years calling "Brand Interactivism" or "Empowerment Marketing". It's all about empowering your audience and letting them take control of the brand. If you have a brand that's worthy of respect, this approach will pay for itself many times over.
Starwood Hotels has added value for its guests (and those considering becoming guests) by providing travel blogs written by professional travel writers. This is a wonderful use of the Internet. Instead of spending this money for YAIP (yet another Internet promotion), they are providing users with interesting and informative (and up-to-date) information. I'll bet they're not paying a fortune for this either.
I am frequently asked what I mean by "Brand Interactivism". I've been preaching this mantra for years, but perhaps not as succintly as Courtney E. Counts in an article in Chief Marketer. He writes
But thanks to Internet technology, which has decentralized
information and disseminated influences so disparately across lines, a
society of young, hyper-heterogeneous consumers has emerged, many with
mutual interests but with highly customized and individual tastes.
Technology has empowered the consumer so much that the sellers’ market
now has become the buyers’ market.
For this reason,
integrating the consumer’s voice into a campaign’s development has
become the winning formula for any successful marketing strategy
targeting today’s youth. We call this social marketing strategy
“interactivism” because it invites the target audience to coauthor the
Now, we've been using this term to mean exactly this for 4 or 5 years now. It contains aspects of the buzzwordy "Web 2.0" to be sure, but ultimately the strongest marketing campaigns online are interactivism campaigns.
Scott is the co-founder and managing partner at Abstract Edge, a creative digital agency that provides online marketing, brand-focused design and technology services to organizations with serious content publishing needs.