I know it’s been a few weeks since the Super Bowl. But, as a follower of the 49ers, it’s taken me that long to recover. Despite the pain of the loss, it was one hell of a game. However, that’s not always the case. Like many Super Bowl viewers, with some games I find the commercials are more engaging than the action on the field. But for every 60 second spot that causes a reaction, someone sitting around the chips and dip inevitably says: “Yeah, it gets your attention, but does it really make you want to buy anything?”
The answer in many cases is “no” or, worse yet, “we don’t know”. And that is one of the most significant challenges of traditional media advertising. With television and print ads, it’s difficult to accurately measure the correlation between the cost of creating awareness of a company’s products and any increased sales resulting from those forms of marketing.
But as the world continues to digitize, marketing is as well. In 2012, global digital advertising spend topped $100B; by 2016 it’s expected to amount to more than 25% of overall advertising expenditures. This will benefit both companies and consumers. Companies because they will increasingly have better insights into their customers. And, consumers, because, well… let me use a real life example.
My youngest teenage son, like many his age, has grown up as part of a generation in which the free exchange of personal information is not just accepted – it’s expected. He switches between his online social communities (Facebook, Instagram, Flikr, Snapchat) with the confident dexterity of a 1920s New York socialite. Recently, I thought it would be interesting to ask him for his perspective on the sharing of personal information online.
(A special note for parents: FDR famously had his “Fireside Chats”. I have “Oven Mitt Talks”. I’ve found that if I require my children to wear oven mitts while we are speaking it impedes their ability to use touch pads and keyboards. Ski gloves and baseball mitts are useful alternatives.)
My son explained that privacy is important to him and his friends, but that they also hate to have their time wasted when they are online. “Dad, I get bombarded by ads trying to sell me this, but what I really want to see are ads for this.”
And, that’s the real value of the shift to digital marketing. In the Digital Age, consumers increasingly have greater control and awareness over how their personal information is used. Many of them will choose to share this information with businesses they trust in return for getting more relevant, and relatable information about products and services that they actually care about.
To that future, here’s a Super Bowl commercial you may have missed.