NEWSFLASH…using short-form videos and influencers is becoming a necessity for keeping up with the competition. No longer the optional differentiator, mobile is now the price of entry. The ability to put an ad directly in the pocket of the perfect consumer is just too wide of an open door to not walk through. More screens to put your ad on equals more eyes that are on your product. Of course, this can lead to higher revenue and brand awareness. However, these eyes can be a double-edged sword if not handled properly. In the past couple years, it seems a higher number of companies are being called out for insensitive marketing than ever before.
We have all seen the news of major brands failing to avoid the pitfalls of insensitivity, putting out offensive ads that should never have made it past the editing stages. How could these ads have made it past so many decision makers and not been flagged? Companies cannot have blind spots for these kinds of mistakes. On this same line, white-washing spots and banners creates the image that your product doesn’t cater to different ethnicities. Why, in a business focused on selling, would we limit the number of consumers that we can appeal to?
This Is the Mobile World
For years now, mobile has been a retail accelerant. This is not going to change. The use of shorter form videos, GIFs, and influencers are three of the most wonderful weapons in the marketing arsenal. Utilizing these competently can expose your brand to new consumers and create a larger appeal over other product options.
For example, the average consumer is not likely to finish a conventional video ad on a mobile device. With the option to skip an ad after only five seconds, this isn’t surprising to say the least. How can you get around this? Logic says to make shorter videos. If you only have five seconds before the skip button is pressed, make sure that those five seconds are the most powerful they can be. Even if there isn’t a skip button, and the ad is being watched voluntarily, consumers have a greater likelihood to finish a concise ad. The entire concept of placing a spot on mobile is to market fast and on the go. Take a look at Mercedes-Benz. Their ad for the Mercedes-AMG GT S is only 4 seconds, and they say exactly what is needed. “From 0 to 100 in 3.8 seconds, as long as this ad”. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s16lR9X51f0)
GIFs take the idea of a short video ad to the next level. Without the restrictions of an ordinary video ad (no play button; doesn’t stop the user from experiencing the medium) GIFs play continuously next to the rest of the page content. While still images can get lost in the background, and videos are easily skipped or avoided, GIFs draw the eye. They are exciting and different. Combine this with their ability to save money compared to other mobile ad types (Facebook carousels) and you are presented a golden opportunity to efficiently and effectively stand out from the crowd.
The newest trend in mobile marketing, influencer marketing, is becoming more of an important path to consider for your products. Used correctly, this tactic can give you access to a concentrated pool of perfectly targeted, niche markets. There are a few factors that strengthen this tactic. Most important of these is the intimate relationship being built between influencer and follower. Instagram influencers are known for engaging with their audience and speaking to them on what feels like a personal level. This personal connection is where traditional celebrity endorsements struggle. Followers trust their favorite Instagram accounts as if they have been lifelong friends. For many, these posts have become part of their daily routines and they are more likely to follow this influencer’s example than if they had just seen a traditional ad.
These are tools available to all marketers but they will do your company no good if your worldview is too narrow.
Some view diversity in marketing as a political issue, especially when the backlash can be closely tied to a current hot-button topic. That being said, encouraging diversity has merit beyond the political arena; it simply improves the marketing message. It is human nature that we are attracted to things that we relate to. There is a reason that McDonald’s runs different ads in North America than they do in Asia. Further still, there is a reason they run different ads in Japan than they do in Taiwan.
Advertisements should reflect the surroundings they are meant to be played in. In America, the landscape has changed immensely over the past 50 years and will continue to diversify. Today, 60% of Americans are white, which naturally means 40% are not. It is absolutely foolish to ignore or, far worse, offend almost half of your potential audience.
Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion are seen in a significantly more positive light than those that do not. This is why it seems, with increased regularity, we are seeing ads with same-sex or multiracial couples. When audiences see ads with this kind of representation, they see the company embracing the world they envision. Therefore, they are more inclined to make a purchase in the future.
This goes deeper than just showing diversity on screens. Companies like H&M have gotten into trouble for showing offensive ads online. They surely did not mean to offend anyone, but to have an ad like this make it through so many stages in the creation process only highlights a different issue in the marketing world. Diverse hires are needed in all levels of leadership. Having greater points of view with different backgrounds and histories makes it easier to catch these terrible oversights.
I hope to see you at the DrivingSales Executive Summit in Las Vegas, where I can speak in greater detail on how to go WIDE with mobile marketing and appropriately incorporating diversity in your advertising.