||Marketers Must Tend Multiple 'Digital Gardens'
Brands that want to stay relevant online have their work cut out for them, according to Millward Brown's Futures Group, which identified a slew of digital trends for 2011.
According to the report, brands will be forced to straddle their presence between the public open Web and semi-walled gardens, as surfing the Web is increasingly replaced by running apps or viewing pages on Facebook.
These application and fan page "gardens" are popular because they allow marketers to control and simplify consumer interactions. However, brands will increasingly need to tend multiple "gardens," often building different applications for specific platforms, to ensure they are both relevant and present everywhere their consumers want to encounter them.
"It may be easier to drive traffic to a fan page than an e-commerce site, so brands need to be increasingly clear about whether their online objective is engagement or sales." says Duncan Southgate, global innovations director, Millward Brown. "They must also decide whether to have different offers on Twitter or Facebook than on the brand Web site. Experience and research will help marketers pull the pieces of the puzzle together."
Another trend is that social graphs will make targeting more relevant. Relevant social integration can delight consumers. A recent Firefly Millward Brown study shows consumers are looking for brands in social media to be more relevant to their needs. Consumers will remain active in the biggest social network (Facebook) because so many contacts are there, but they may increasingly be more engaged in other niche networks that play to their particular interests. Facebook's scale provides excellent targeting opportunities for brands, but to really be effective, sophisticated algorithms are needed to make sense of the complex relationships between people.
Marketers need to consolidate their measurement with consistency in metrics, says Ali Rana, SVP and head scientist of Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic's Emerging Media Lab. "Parts of digital marketing are still considered experimental for brands," Rana tells Marketing Daily. "The case for digital becomes easier when there is consistency in measurement metrics."
However, marketers must take care not to only use audience data as a proxy for success or failure, he adds. "We have seen this time and time again, where audience data only tells one-quarter of the story," Rana says. "The real learning comes from having an integrated measurement system that looks across audience, behavioral and brand data."
Another trend is that marketers will increasingly attempt to deliver immersive and engaging branding messages within ads, using expandable formats and interactive features that often replicate part of the experience of a microsite or social media page.
Viral video is an increasingly important element of digital campaign planning. Viral potential is no longer considered as nice to have, but is becoming a key success criteria for any new communications idea. However, the creative challenge could become ever harder as each new viral hit raises the bar of consumer expectation.
With online video advertising spend in a high growth phase, marketers globally are likely to invest more effort optimizing online video creative in 2011. Dynamic Logic research has shown that repurposed TV ads can effectively generate awareness, but made-for-Web video tends to be better at driving persuasion.
The improved performance capabilities of mobile devices mean that more people are online more of the time. Marketers will seize this opportunity, particularly since newer devices enable better mobile ad experiences, according to Millward Brown. Mobile advertising budgets will increase significantly over 2010, and the brand impact achieved from mobile will continue to outperform online through 2011.
(Source: Media Post, 01/12/11)