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Viewing Content through a Telescope

How often have you sat in a meeting or listened on the phone to some bright spark reaming off the USPs of their unique Internet advertising "Opportunity"? The cliché of "Reaching Your Target Market" rolls of these tongues as easily as a Sales Order out of a fax machine. As you struggle to pay attention, you might have (hopefully) heard of the publisher, and you'll perhaps recognise the buzz-less words that have long since lost their lustre – Clicks; Hits; Impressions; Viral; Yield; Affinity.

Preferring a more pragmatic approach, most of our advertising and publisher customers have realised that the Internet offers choice beyond just volume. User behaviour suddenly becomes very dynamic in a publication where you can turn a thousand pages in every page and this needs to be properly understood and closely examined if the real benefits of the Internet are to be reaped by differing marketers with differing needs.

Whilst Demographics are the basis for any marketing activity, there exists a real need for continuous qualitative behavioural analysis to help plan online campaigns. Many online advertising campaigns are woefully executed, and frequently ineffective without research that can illuminate the bigger campaign picture. If the ad worked on TV, in Print or on Radio, why did millions of Internet executions fail? The refrain from such underachieving and over-estimating first time advertisers is usually of the Shaggy variety [It Wasn't Me]. Of course it wasn't…

eircom.net are amongst the first of the major websites to recognise this need to develop an ongoing qualitative facility for their major brand partners with the recent commissioning of primary research which will help better advise clients on:

  1. The efficacy of online creative
  2. The efficacy of online advertising formats
  3. The recall associated with their most recent advertising campaign

This value-added research also offers (and no, there's no dotcom "implementation" fee) pre-and post-advertising campaign analysis to clients. It will further explore:

  1. Brand message and recall
  2. Brand image
  3. Impact on purchasing and consumption
  4. Effectiveness of various formats and creative executions employed in individual online advertising campaigns

But every advertiser and publisher should go the extra mile and ask many more questions in order to achieve success online, e.g.;

  1. How can our copy be optimised for web viewers?
  2. What does our target audience like to do online?
  3. How can we get more impact from a JPEG than a 48-sheet?
  4. Why is 92% of our response female when we give something away online?
  5. Would it be better to have a daytime and evening time creative?
  6. Why does our ad work better in black and white online?
  7. Why is the greatest growth in online gaming in the 25-44 [Female] sector?
  8. Could we offer viewers different ways in which to interact with us?

It takes talent to understand how people think differently online; and communicate accordingly. Have a look at the recently circulating Brand equity experiment at www.telescopegame.com . There's a prize for the first person to email a screenshot to info@generator.ie with their best score along with the name of the innovative brand that understands which end of the telescope is best used to view to view their market.

So clearly, the Internet is not another venue to see your latest and greatest ad; it's an interactive environment that demands advertisers look and listen. The Internet is not a cult TV show anymore. It's primetime and everyone's playing.

Advertisers are just starting to realise that the regeneration of relevant Online content is something that they can influence in a very positive way - and they'll profit from acknowledging that there are three kinds of content online;

  1. Content you don't like.
  2. Content you like but which is not important right now.
  3. And ….Content you need.

Generating a reliance on a form of functional content is the elusive key to successful online publishing, and Advertising. "News" is something which is difficult for people to develop a Brand affinity with online because every tom, dick and harry crosbie has it. It's not a Newspaper; it's a parking ticket. You get it - you read it in 7 seconds - and you throw it away [okay maybe some newspapers…]. eMail is different – it's functional, engaging. So is Health, its personal. So is Motoring, its aspirational, empowering. So is Gaming, it's addictive and competitive. So is Sport, it's passionate. And Shopping [you've gotta have it].

Whether via intelligent Sponsorships, eMail targeting, tactical daypart or channel advertising, the Internet now affords immense opportunities to advertisers who understand how to grow their brands in concentrated, vertical content surroundings. Online is definitely different but don't listen to the Pseudo gurus [not a real term, thankfully] who would have you believe its rocket science. It's not. The trick may be to forget about the medium and instead cosy up close to content. Just decide which end of the telescope you are going to look through.

Mark Tarbatt ©