With digital advertising spend estimated to reach $333 billion this year, the marketing climate is oversaturated, and it’s becoming harder than ever for companies to compete. Spending power is no longer enough to drive engagement, and media currents are fluctuating, driving consumers in many different directions.
It has become standard marketing practice to utilize search and social media to distribute content; but, to survive within this climate SMBs have been forced to compete against big companies with even bigger budgets. As organic reach has declined, the competition for a consumer’s attention has helped external platforms grow into multi-billion dollar businesses. Yet, how are these platforms helping SMBs grow their brand or reach? This ‘pay to play’ model is flawed and heavily skewed in favor of the video platform. It is also clear from the recent $40 million Facebook settlement that the metrics provided by video platforms including average watch times and “engagement” levels have been grossly exaggerated.
The Evolving Media Climate
Consumers have grown increasingly frustrated with ad saturation. In a survey conducted by Accenture, 84% of respondents agreed with the sentiment ‘I think advertising interruptions while watching video content are too frequent’. As viewers, we have all become frustrated by the mandatory ‘5 seconds then skip’ ad content served up before we can view the cute cat video on YouTube. What may be even more frustrating is being the brand spending money trying to make a valuable impression in 5 seconds or less.
When something isn’t working, it’s time to explore different options. As marketers, we are used to responding to change and adapting to benefit from it. Video platforms have little interest in fixing these issues as the current model is very profitable for them. If SMBs want to compete in this competitive landscape they must embrace what audiences are looking for, and take back control of their content.
Getting Back To Brand Building
There is a clear trend observed in marketing for content that truly engages contemporary audiences. Consumers want to be recognized as individuals, have their niche interests catered to and be entertained with emotive storytelling. With the ‘distraction media’ climate bombarding them with thousands of ads across multiple platforms each day, it is easy to see why more authenticity from brand advertising is appealing.
The right audience will show your brand loyalty if you can tick these boxes. As the popularity of streaming services and branded podcasts have shown, compelling video content is where this loyalty is, and it’s time to start marketing like a media company to engage your audience. This means using social platforms to your businesses’ benefit by enticing audiences with short clips that drive traffic back to your website. Once you have your audience’s undistracted attention, you keep them engaged with your brand through binge-worthy, long-form video content. Brand growth can then be achieved through brand affinity and a community of dedicated subscribers willing to advocate the value of what you’re offering of their own volition.
The current social platform ad model is
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