Marketers and advertisers need to shift focus radically to accommodate the reality that consumers’ attention is becoming increasingly fragmented and a proliferation of sources of information, entertainment and communication are available to them, according to Larissa Pohl, managing director, strategic services, Ogylvy & Mather, Germany
People now spend around 11 hours a day consuming media, often in parallel with other activities, said Pohl, delivering the opening keynote at the Future TV Advertising Forum in London this morning. Marketers need to focus on engagement and telling a story, she said.
Pohl compared consumers with cats – difficult to engage, easily distracted and confronted with lots of things that compete with their attention. “We need to seduce people to follow our story,” she said. “It’s about telling a magnetic story that people want to spend their time with. Content is really the part that is driving concentration.” She cited the example of Red Bull’s sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s space jump. “US$50 million (€39 million) sounds like a fortune but it was money well-spent,” she said.
Pohl said advertisers had to add utility for the customer. She cited the example of Nike, which set time spent by consumers with its brand as their main key performance indicator it used in evaluating marketing campaigns. It was important for advertisers to expand their marketing story in ways that tied in with how people used different devices, said Pohl. This, she said, was more important than finding new technical measurements of success of campaigns.
Speaking on a panel session following the morning keynotes, Tom Bowman, vice-president, global strategy and sales operations, BBC Worldwide, said it was necessary to provide access to multiple screens in a way that was easy for advertisers to buy. Making ads relevant for consumers could be facilitated by data from the use of second screen devices, he said. In western European markets, viewers tended to view the internet as the device and gravitate towards the biggest device available to them. “If you’ve got access to bigger screens you don’t necessarily rush to small ones,” he said. Bowman said it was unlikely that many brands would follow the example of the likes of Red Bull or Nike and respond to the proliferation of devices through which content could be accessed by becoming content providers in their own right. He said very few brands had the resources to create compelling content, or the kind of brand with which consumers would engage directly. It was also important to have scale in creating second screen applications, giving a role to content and technology providers that could develop platforms for multiple brands, he said.
Speaking on the same panel, Alan Fagan, group head of sales, ESPN, said that sports content saw 30% more usage of mobile devices and 100% more usage of tablets than other forms of content. The proliferation of devices through which users could engage with sports was benefiting rather than taking away viewership from ESPN, he said. “The more people are talking about sports the more ESPN viewing goes up,” he said. “One question is whether you need to own the second screen environment or whether you can work with one of the companies out there with great products. We haven’t made up our mind on that,” he said. It wasn’t clear if ESPN viewers wanted to engage with ESPN directly while socialising with each other on other devices around sports, he said.
Scott Russell, senior marketing communications manager, international media, Microsoft, said that multiscreen advertising had provided an opportunity to connect with consumers at a deeper level in a way Microsoft couldn’t do in the past. “It’s where we have to go to connect with audiences at a deeper level,” he said.