Traditional television as a means of delivering advertising messages is on the decline, as streaming services like Netflix and digital TV become more influential.
This article will explore some hints and tips for businesses seeking to build an effective advertising strategy despite traditional methods like linear TV declining in terms of advertising reach and influence.
The article will also explore some innovative alternatives to linear TV advertising.
If you have ever wondered why sports clothing brands sponsor athletes to wear their brands and products while performing or competing, you have already touched on understanding one of the most important advertising strategies out there at the moment – the use of influencers.
An influencer is a completely new phenomenon in advertising. It is the idea of using someone who has achieved success, excellence or something interesting in their career, or field of expertise, to support the growth of a brand or product.
Influencers can be many things, for example, an influencer may be someone who is famous for their looks, life and attitude (think Kim Kardashian), or an influencer can be someone who has discovered something cool, funny or unique and they have created interesting content, like videos, on the back of their discovery, passions or interests.
Top athletes such as Serena Williams, pop stars, models and TV stars are regularly sponsored by brands to enhance the perception of the brands and increase consumer trust in a brand.
Influencers are particularly useful for the creation of “how-to” videos and posts for sharing on social media. The sense of familiarity generated between an influencer and one of their followers helps to build the trust required for a prospective customer to invest their time and effort in understanding how a given product or service works and how it might benefit them.
Research study after research study
supports the conclusion that not only do people increasing research online, before they make purchasing decisions, people’s purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by brand promoters, sponsors and influencers. As such the power of influencers to change the perception of a brand and consequently, its profit margins is extensive.
2: Unboxing videos
So-called “unboxing videos” (where a product is shown being unboxed, set up and used for the first time, by someone who explains what they are doing, how to use the product and how the product is set up), are growing exponentially, as a means of advertising.
If you search for “unboxing” on You Tube, more than 70 million results
are shown – a testament to the power of the unboxing video to drive sales and increase brand awareness.
So, what is it about an unboxing video that is so appealing? The unboxing video displays a product much more intimately than any review, or product description can. Simply by being able to see footage of the product being unboxed, the prospective buyer gets a much stronger sense of what the product will look, and feel like to use.
A trend that was started by Apple – packaging products in very appealing ways, adds to the unboxing process as the packaging is also displayed during the unboxing process, and it adds to the whole experience of making a purchase.
The running commentary that comes with the video may also give some “sneak peeks” into a brand or product, for example a preview of a product or service that has not been fully released yet, or a review that has been anticipated for some time.
Unboxing videos can also be used to compare the product to other products, or it can show complementary products that can be used to good effect with the product being “unboxed”.
3: Human billboards
An innovative approach to advertising is the use of human billboards. These have the advantage of being mobile, and they can interact with potential customers, for example by giving directions or answering questions about the brand or its products or services.
The use of human billboards supports a comprehensive evaluation strategy, because the billboards can be deployed strategically, for example, if an event is happening near you, human billboards can be deployed temporarily, and then moved to another location where they will be more useful.
4: Moving billboards like buses
Brands and businesses are increasingly purchasing advertising space on buses. The fact that the bus is continually moving guarantees that messages advertised on it reach a wider audience, compared to a static location.
Alternatively, advertising can be placed in strategic static locations, where large numbers of people pass through, for example bus shelters, train stations and motorways.
5: Competitions and competition sponsorship
Competition sponsorship, or devising and running competitions are great ways to achieve better brand awareness and visibility. The very nature of a competition ensures that people continually “check in” with the competition process to compete and check if they have won. Every “check-in” is exposure for your brand.
Competitions have the added benefit of creating a “buzz” around an event or a brand, and with this comes discussions among people, and the potential for word of mouth recommendations for your brand, increases.
6: “Wrapping” vehicles
A relatively new innovation in advertising is “wrapping” a vehicle or a fleet of vehicles used to support your business. This means adding a permanent cover (usually paintwork) to your vehicle, and it allows for advertising messages to be delivered as you go about your business.
When not in use, vehicles can be parked in strategic locations, as mobile advertisements.
7: Build a more integrated social media presence
Social media is a powerful advertising channel. The numbers of people using social media is huge and advertisers exploiting social media as a means of advertising are growing year on year, with even more exponential growth projected over the next five years.
As such, any investment in delivering advertising messages through social media is a wise investment.
Content like blogs and videos are particularly useful as they engage an audience who will usually only have a few seconds, to either react to or ignore your advertisement. Blogs and videos need to be engaging, punchy and where possible helpful and informative about the products and services being advertised.
Blogs and videos can be created cheaply, although it is always wise to pay for a professional shoot, if this is possible. If the blogs and videos are created by an amateur, these can still be incredibly successful, provided the content is well-thought out, well written and useful to the reader in some way.
Adding a “sign up to our newsletter” button to your business website is a powerful method of harnessing a broader advertising reach. The newsletter maintains the connection the customer made with your brand, and delivers advertising messages directly to people who have expressed an interest in your product or service.
People who sign up to the newsletter are reminded regularly of the products and services you are offering.
A newsletter is also a great way to “rescue” abandoned sales. For example, if someone visits the website, interested in purchasing your products or services, but for some reason they go away on that occasion without buying, this person may choose to buy in six months time, when their circumstances change.
9: A multi-channel approach to social media
Someone looking at your business’ online presence will almost certainly flag up a focus on one or two social media channels, and not others as a weakness that means several income streams are as yet untapped.
The irony is that it is very simple to run a multi-channel approach to social media, as much content created for one channel can be recycled for use in another. In other words, you don’t lose marks for duplication on social media!
Moreover, there is an array of tools (for example Omichannel) that will help manage a multi-channel approach.
10: Paid ads on social media
Paid ads on social media platforms like Facebook are excellent ways to advertise and build a powerful brand image. Paid ads will complement an already well-developed social media presence, and it is not advisable to pay for ads if you don’t already have an established website, with an integrated social media strategy.
Many brands consider the costs to be well worth it in exchange for reaching the volumes of prospective new customers that social media ads are capable of reaching.
Paid ads on social media are potentially problematic though, if they are not evaluated correctly. When you invest any money in advertising, you need to be sure that you are evaluating your campaign continuously, to ensure the expenditure is justified.
You need to decide before you spend, what goals you want to achieve, and if you are not achieving these goals you need to ask what you could do better. If the campaign is not as successful as expected, you should always consider discontinuing the campaign until you can fix what has gone wrong, or go back to the drawing board entirely and devise a completely different campaign.
Alternatives to linear TV usage
All of the above methods are tried and tested ways to increase the reach and influence of your advertising messages.
The decline in the influence of linear TV as a means of delivering advertising methods is something that businesses need to be aware of, but it is possible to compensate during this transition from linear to digital TV prevalence, by using a range of innovative advertising methods, as we have discussed in this article.