Since soap companies began sponsoring and producing original content – initially with radio serials and then tv soap operas – the lines have blurred for both advertisers and their creative agencies. Increasingly I find that agencies are sought-out less to create ads and more to extend a brand’s offering by creating modern-day soap-operas: applications and experiences that will be useful, valuable or entertaining to customers and prospects.
Are banners the new :30 second spot?
Banner ads, the historical backbone of internet advertising have had declining engagement rates for years – just like tv commercials. McKinsey & Co. report that 2010’s “traditional TV advertising will be one-third as effective as it was in 1990.” Many online advertisers consider successful campaign as 0.5% or higher CTR (click-through rates)… a putrid metric devoid of actual sales impact. Applying this direct mail inspired model assumes that 99% of engagement opportunities are written-off well before the advert even sees the light of day.
Google’s entire business model is based upon creating these ‘modern day soap operas’. They are, as one blogger* described, “the new TV network”… creating program after program which fulfill a need while serving ads against the personalized content (Search, Gmail, YouTube, et.al) are the updated version of the game show, soap opera, or variety show… commanding enough attention and perceived value that consumers will sit through the advertising to get more. Continuing the trend, the tailored nature of ads are sure to deepen with the expected growth (and subsequent data sets offered up) by Google Health, Google Latitude, and Google Docs. Google is actually the TV network AND the advertising buyer for PPC advertisers.
In a counter-strike, Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing search engine recently partnered to take personalization to next level by employing digital peer pressure directly within search results. This tactic was effectively applied by Levi’s heavily social site redesign, where your shopping cart is automagically pre-populated with items your friends previously ’liked.’
Sophisticated brands understand that their constituent’s usage, subscription, and participation within *lightly sponsored* properties are actually the new engagement model for advertising, seeding brand preference, and (eventually) sales conversions.
*apologies to said blogger whose name escapes me