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Share of Content Consumption

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Last night I was reading this piece by Nick Bilton, where he asserts that one should stop using smartphones as alarms due to the huge amount of distractions on the device.

I found it rather surprising that people could be so focus challenged. Thinking about it a bit, however, I am not that surprised.

Now a days there’s such a lot of content out there that as normal human beings we are struggling to keep pace. We are afraid that we will miss out on something important. Till we have decent communication filters, which I wrote about earlier this year, we’re going to have to deal with this challenge.

As creators of content, brand marketers have to address this challenge quickly.

The primary way they have been doing this is by creating engaging content. Content that stands out of the clutter, draws the viewer into the story and encourages her to interact with it in some way, even if merely sharing. The latest example is the bud light piece. Missed it? See it here. bud light.

What they’ve done is quite extra ordinary. Made a piece of advertising, through a reality show. This is indeed quite revolutionary.

However, creating content that heightens audience engagement has been on for a while.Think Dove, Coke, Old Spice, Durango and so on.

The issue, to my mind though, is that marketers are still viewing this in the good old fashioned advertising way.

Create a piece of content. Excite the audiences. Then go back to the ways they know well, and return a year later, with the next campaign.

That just doesn’t work any more.

When content availability was low, doing an annual campaign was fine. But now, with that having changed dramatically, marketers need to revisit the annual campaign planning cycle.

I believe a key metric would be share of content consumption.

As audiences today are accessing and engaging with all forms of content, the need to ensure that a minimum level of on going content share is vital for brands to continue to maintain salience. Else it is quickly swept away in the avalanche of twitter feeds, instagram pics and so on.

Volume, like in the old media days is not enough. Think of how many timelines posts you’ve clicked on recently. If it’s not interesting, you move along.

So the share of content consumption is going to be a function of volume of content and engagement value of the same.

This is a new dynamic. One that marketers and agencies are going to have to be prepared for.

Unfortunately, the specialised silos of content creators (advertising agencies) and content distributors (media agencies) are going to be a hindrance to this.

The alarm bells are ringing and the consumers are asking the marketers to wake up. Whether the alarm is on our smartphones, or not, we need to heed it and get our act together.

 

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