Viral marketing and online video made possible to have our 15 MB of fame, just by a matter of clicks.
Brands, products or services can now tell their stories, and if they do it right, their consumers will share those same stories to a even broader audience.
Although there are no secret recipes to produce something viral, there are elements that can nurture the “viralness” of the message, sharing common features such as:
- Being useful;
- Having a tangible reward;
- Offering something unique or distinct;
such as the “Dove Real Beauty” campaign:
This online action from Unilever was one of the most successful ever done, resulting in more brand awareness and loyalty, mostly because the message was spread through more reliable sources such as our friends or TV shows that featured the campaign. The consumers are now buying more of the brand that they used to and have a stronger connection to the brand.
Web 2.0 brought also social networks, with sites like MySpace, Orkut or Hi5, that now are one of sources of highest traffic in the Internet. And this is not a teenager trend: about 1/4 of the users of MySpace is in the 25-34 target.
On these social networks, users naturally create their groups of interests, such as gardening or photography, discussing and sharing their common passions. Suddenly, brands have available marketing segments clearly defined, with highly envolved consumers and on top of all, measurable and accountable.
Brands tend to participate on these networks usually on a integrated manner, sponsoring some special pages or contests, offering tools and interactive experiences and helping users to become viral agents. In this terrain, where users take quite seriously their privacy, brands should take a more human message, creating profiles for their products, telling stories about the companies and avoiding commercial spam.
Consumers have new habits, new tools and new forms of relationship, in a digital lifestyle where traditional media is becoming more and more fragmented. Strangely, advertising and marketing don’t seem eager to follow this trend. Even when we spend 1/3 of our time digitally “wired”, most of the media spend is still on traditional media.
Some changes though, seem to be happening, with online advertising revenues expected to grow 31% in 2007, to a total of 16.4 billlion USD, 7% of market, and many budget expenses on his way to online media. On the other hand, print media, used get their revenues from subscriptions and classifiedds, has now serious competition from online services.
Online marketing is also in a period of evolution:
- Traditional banners are less efficient, and contextual text ads, more relevant and less intrusive, are taking their place
- Search engine marketing (SEM) has become a almost scientific discipline, with brands desperately seekinh top ranks in search results.
- email marketing, attacked by growing amounts of spam, is loosing popularity on younger generations, that see it as too formal
- Instant Messaging (like MSN Messenger or Skype) has taken email’s place, by being more personal, fast and interactive.
- Mapvertising (advertising in maps) was also a product of the new web 2.0, with sectors as tourism or restaurants, having the opportunity to stand in the front line of the user’s search habits.
- PR Business-To-Business had also a new ally, corporate blogging, where companies could humanize their web presence, with more decentralized and informal conversation.
Many marketeers might ask: “Why should I even bother with all that stuff, if most of my customers don’t have a clue about those web things?”. The answer is strikingly simple:”Because that’s where all the money will be as soon as the people that now use these tools start to consolidate their online habits”.
And if advertising is not fast enough to change, then innovation will find new media models, like the company SpotRunner , that enables someone with a computer to pick an ad, plan the media budget and launch their campaign in 5 minutes.
I hope all the marketeers out there start to wake to this new reality, where the web is a platform to new kinds of conversations with the consumers. Where they (consumers) have the biggest importance ever. And where the future is digital.
P.S: If you know portuguese, you can also watch the video below, a 24 min. lecture produced with the materials i’ve collected for this 3 part article. So, feel free to share it and help me out to awake a few more portuguese people on the importance of Advertising 2.0.