Instagram and Facebook recently launched ‘Your Activity’- a tool that allows you to see how much time you spend on the app, with some pretty eye-opening results. And a recent study showed that every day, the average person is said to scroll around 2km worth of content – yes, that’s 2 kilometers. That means our thumbs smash a 10k every week, while our legs shuffle us from bed-car-office-car-sofa-bed. In other words, we spend a lot of time looking at our phones.
I’m part of a generation that sits in an interesting space, where I remember what life was like before the internet and yet now, I can’t really imagine my life without it. I use it for everything, from running the agency (that’s another article in itself), to watching movies and turning the heating on so the house is warm for us coming home. Digital has become such a part of our lives now that it doesn’t feel like a separate “world” at all.
For us marketers and brand-builders, this is great news, because more eyes on digital means more eyes to reach, right? The advertising capacities of digital are like a fairground for brands, because it opens all these possibilities that were never available to the advertising industry in the past. With social media, we’re able to actually speak topeople, instead of speaking at them – building real communities around brands. The targeting capabilities of digital allow us to reach someone based on their behaviours, instead of throwing something out and hoping for the best, then retargetingthem when they’ve shown interest, to help with actually converting a sale. The best thing about it? Insights are used to not only measure the success of marketing activity, but to actually help make data-informed decisions for the next month, or quarter or year – meaning it’s as much of a tool for learning as it is for marketing.
So, why would brands do anything outside of digital?
Over the last few years, there has been a real change in digital, especially social media. The reality is – these platforms exist because of ad spend and they have developed algorithms to 1) tailor the user experience and 2) make sure that, if brands want their content and ads to be seen, they should invest in an ad budget (which is fair enough). For this reason, people and brands often feel that their content isn’t getting as much visibility as it was before, but there’s another reason that’s having a massive impact: space. If you think about it, probably every single brand you know is on digital, as is every person, as is every community/magazine/celebrity – you name it. Digital is saturatedwith content, meaning that you’re not only competing against other brands, you’re competing against every single piece of content on the internet (including cat videos). So, to really stand out, a different approach is needed.
As I said, I come from a generation that knew the world before the internet existed and I remember a time when I’d be excited when I got an email. Now, after going through my inbox every day, it’s the norm – but I’d probably jump for joy if someone sent me a handwritten letter. Digital has become such a part of our everyday lives, that analogue experience is what really gets our attention – which would’ve been a completely different case, 30-something years ago.
In terms of what that means for marketing – more and more brands are looking to create a visible, tangible, in-real-life experience, not insteadof digital, but alongsideit. Despite existing on and offline, experiential marketing and digital marketing work seamlessly together, as one feeds the other, and vice versa.
Let’s go back to that stat about how much we scroll each day – within that 2km of scrolling, your 1 piece of content has about 3 inches or so to grab that user’s attention (if we go by the average size of a phone screen). That’s a lot riding on just an Instagram post. However, if you consider a multi-channel approach, you open up your chances of getting more real estate on that 2km.
We recently worked on a project with where we put a giant, Hot Wheels-style ‘toy bus’ in the middle of Glasgow’s George Square. Now, that alone grabbed people’s attention, but within a few hours, it was gone: Digital allowed us to increase the longevity of the campaign and make it visible to those who didn’t happen to be walking past George Square that day. We did this by treating the experiential stunt as a pillar piece of content.
A pillar piece of content is essentially the biggest piece of content that you create as part of a campaign and is likely the piece of content that requires the most time and investment. However, to make the most of that investment, that pillar piece of content is then broken down into micro-pieces of content. For example:
- Live stream of it going live
- Photos of the stunt
- Hero video to film the launch and people’s reactions
- Live behind the scenes content (e.g.: Instagram stories)
- Full behind the scenes video (from idea, to final result)
- Case study, including photos, videos etc.
- Blog post, including photos, videos etc.
- Press release, including photos, videos etc.
- All of the above, turned into short 5 second clips and one-off posts for social media
- All of the above content, used for digital ads
- All of the above content, built into a presentation for your team
Already, you can see how that one pillar piece of analog experience can be turned into multiple pieces of digital content that be used across all of your channels. Suddenly, you go from having just 3 inches of digital space to play with, to creating an entire multi-channel approach that opens up more and more opportunities to reach your target audience. That person who might’ve swiped past your content without taking it in, begins to see it on their feed a lot more, on their friend’s feed, hear about it in conversation, show it to their friends and so it goes on and on.
We live in a really interesting time for marketing because it’s incredibly fluid – with big ideas and a multi-channel approach, there are more and more ways to be creative and make a memorable, ‘you’ve gotto see this’ campaigns that take brands to a whole new level.
Andrew Dobbie is the founder and managing director of MadeBrave, an award-winning creative brand agency, based in Glasgow and London. His approach is to inspire creativity in everyone and works collaboratively with brands to bring their best ideas to life.