On the digital platform, where consumer choice manifests itself in its most potent form, ‘content’ is what will drive engagements between consumers and brands. Traditional advertising, as we have long known it, while still relevant, will have to re-invent itself. For a piece of advertising to be successful, it has to have that hard-to-describe quality of being ‘viral’. In other words, successful advertising on the digital space will have to be one that can ‘travel’- from inbox to inbox, from wall-to-wall and be shared. It has to be ‘cool’ enough for a user to want to share it with his or her friends before they receive it from someone else! But there’s a lot more to making effective digital campaigns than just that. There are many important trends shaping this hyper-dynamic platform. Read on to know what you need to bear in mind while shaping your content for the digital platform.
Targeted social networking: Castrol expects niche networks to garner audience interest again, and branded content will be king. Facebook is here to stay, but will play the role of a larger repository of content/profile information and providing reach for content on the web.
Advent of the tablets: With widening distribution, growing affordability and advent of 3G, tablets will help audiences consume digital content in ways that could not be imagined till now. The tablet, we expect, will affect the existing digital users and the new ones, both. The tablet will push digital laggards in India on to the content consumption platform. It will also deepen engagement of the early adopters and trend-setters and shift it to a new plane.
Partnerships (not just visibility) will drive traffic: Absolute search volumes on search engines are experiencing stagnation. The growth driver is search on the mobile, as it can be seen from the way our SEM campaigns are optimising themselves in terms of distribution of monies between internet and mobile searches. Silent partnerships between search engines and content providers are expected to substitute the old-world trends in search engine marketing. Brands that can focus on content that the audience is searching for will make a killing. This is the prime reason why Castrol focuses on a content-led strategy to talk about its association with cricket - being one of the most searched terms on Internet in India.
Entertainment is the new mantra: Successful advertising will have to be increasingly entertaining too, besides integrating brand messaging clearly and centrally into itself. Such advertising will allow brands to fundamentally free up marketing spends for brands to invest in more effective ways to reach out to the audience with better quality products.
Brand fan pages: Managing fan pages is increasingly growing into a craft. And one that needs constant re-invention to stay interesting to audiences. Fan pages built on a static model of content bank will find decreasing engagement with its audiences.
Paid content may start coming back: The evolved Internet audience will soon start paying for premium content from trusted providers (news, entertainment or specialised interest content). Paid content might be down-loadable movies, web episodes or even music, and if brands can play a role in making that access easier or free, through audiences getting involved with these brands, we are talking sales-linked digital visibility.
Attention span of audience: The audience today lives in a hyper-stimulated world. The audience is shifting from screen to screen, often multi-tasking and challenging new media with little attention. Campaigns in the future will have to think about how content consumed in one media expresses itself almost instantaneously on another media.
(Giriraj Bagri is Vice-President - Marketing, India & South Asia, Castrol India Ltd.)