Everything You Need to Know About the 5 Changes Roiling Digital Advertising

Invest in video, understand your audience and research the channels they use.

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By Constance Aguilar • Mar 3, 2018 Originally published Mar 3, 2018

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Just like any industry in this digital age, advertising is feeling the pressure. With agencies across the board reporting dwindling profits, those capable of adapting to the shifting media landscape will separate themselves from the pack. Traditional advertising has undergone many a makeover since the days of billboards blasting out homogeneous messages to the unsegmented masses.

Thanks to search engines and marketing insights software, we can now use remarketing to communicate to an audience of one. But with 80 percent of internet traffic predicted to be video by 2019, advertisers must be driven by quality visuals, along with their understanding of purchasing preferences and a few other factors.

Related: Why Short-Form Video Needs to Be Part of Your Content Strategy

1. The rise of video.

Here are some stats that will blow your mind. More than 500 million hours of video are watched every single day on YouTube, which, by the way, has more than a billion users. Eighty-seven percent of all marketers use video content, and one-third of all internet time is spent watching videos.

With consumer consumption patterns constantly changing, advertisers need to understand the importance of the vehicle they use to get their message across. Half of Gen Z say they "can't live" without YouTube. If you aren't getting your products out in the right format on the right platform, you'll soon be left in the dust.

2. Audience demographics.

Thanks to companies like Facebook and Google, we now have deeper insights into our audience than ever before. And we're finding them to be more diverse and representative of our culture. Understanding that one-size-fits-all advertising is no longer going to cut it, brands like Toyota are taking audience demographics to a whole new level.

With their marketing campaign for the new Camry, Toyota created different ads for different ethnicities. The African-American ad was shown on ABC, which has a higher number of viewers from this group, while the Hispanic version was aired on the Spanish-language network, NBC Universo. They were then crossed over into general audience channels as well.

Toyota latched on to the power of resonating with the consumer by representing them in their videos, while also understanding the need to avoid stereotyping or excessive targeting. Jack Hollis, Group VP and General Manager of the Toyota brand commented, "People like to see people of all ethnicities in what they're seeing because that's the life they're living in most of the U.S. today."

3. New distribution channels.

The change in advertising is not only dominated by video consumption and audience demographics. The plethora of new entertainment distribution channels is also playing its part.

Platforms like Facebook Watch provide producers with the opportunity to create content that no longer has to appeal to the masses. They can leverage Facebook's audience and target the right people, based on ethnicity, gender, likes and preferences. And advertisers can align with the content that best reflects their message.

Related: How Marketing and Advertising Are Bound to Change in 2018

4. Consumer valued content.

Advertisers are increasingly opening up to the value of consumer valued content. Minority shows like Just Doug are gaining in popularity for their ability to appeal to an underserved audience. Just Doug is a semi-autobiographical take on a professional Asian poker player-turned-actor, struggling in Hollywood.

Dubbed by The Verge as one of the best Facebook Watch shows available right now, Just Doug is following a multi-platform distribution model and catering to Asian-Americans who are used to being under- or misrepresented in the media. It's also drawing attention from advertisers.

"There's a white space in consumer valued content, and Just Doug is one of the first to address this gap," says Rawn Erickson, co-founder of Disney-acquired Maker Studios, and current President of The Machine, a management, advertising and production firm in Los Angeles. "It's being done independently of networks at a high level of quality. We're going to see more advertisers developing their own high-quality content that pivots from traditional commercials into well-done and meaningful productions that resonate well with target demographics."

5. Influencers are taking control.

With Facebook announcing a cut down on the amount of business content shown on users' feeds, influencer marketing is on the rise. Influencer marketing allows brands to get their content in front of their audience in a way that doesn't feel like advertising. Consumers connect to the influencer and trust what they have to say, provided that the influencer is genuine, with an authentic voice.

Nike recently learned about Charlie Jabaley, when the astute influencer and marketing guru created a video using Nike footwear as the centerpiece. He explained how he was inspired by the brand to become an athlete and called out to the company to sponsor his advert, which, as of this writing, has garnered more than a million views, thanks to influencer Casey Adams' facebook share.

Jabaley got Nike's attention and was flown to the Nike campus in Portland, foreshadowing what audience members can assume will be his ongoing story with Nike. This marks a change in the advertising landscape, as brands are starting to give influencers more creativity to lead campaigns in truly authentic ways.

Related: Are Influencers Worth Your Money? We Went Undercover to Find Out.

The takeaway.

You don't need the budget of a global car manufacturer to embrace the changes in advertising. Invest in video, understand your audience, research the channels they use and the type of content they watch, and reflect that in your campaigns. Be prepared to reach out to influencers or listen to influencers who reach out to you. Then gear yourself up for the next changes that are just around the corner.

Constance Aguilar

Director of Accounts, San Francisco

Public relations and digital content producer specializing in technology and B2B verticals. I lead teams of media and marketing experts and craft compelling human-centric integrated marketing campaigns that engage, delight, and drive results.

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