Long gone are the days when broadcast advertisers could guarantee an audience’s full attention for the video ads played during commercial breaks. And while you likely don’t pine for that TV set offering just a handful of networks with a knob to change channels and no way to fast-forward; who doesn’t want to relive the ‘good old days’ of that complete consumer captivation?
It’s true: with the rise of DVRs, on-demand streaming and online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, people aren’t watching every commercial video that gets broadcast on TV anymore. Coupled with the constant multitasking of using multiple devices at once and you’re more likely to get focused attention from the cat in the living room than you are the people sitting there. Which begs the question we’ve all been asking ourselves—is video still king? The short answer is, yes.
The Millennial Generation has been responsible for a lot of seismic shifts in the marketing and advertising industry. They are the adults now who grew up with computers and the internet, who challenged their brands to be more than purveyors of products and services; and who championed the online social experience, including the way in which we share and communicate with each other. And as the largest generational cohort to enter the market, it was no surprise that the majority of brands wanted to target and capture the attention of the millennial audience, alike. (Thankfully, this fad has subsided as brands re-recognized the buying power of other generations as well as Millennials.) Yet, it was in the trial and error stages of marketing to Millennials that advertisers started to better understand these consumers and how they engage with ads. We learned that video hasn’t gone out the window as a viable way to reach an audience—it’s the way it’s received that has changed.
Video consumption has simply moved from the traditional in-home TV setting to the digital landscape. That doesn’t mean traditional TV is dead—it’s just not the only option anymore. Now there’s Youtube, Facebook Watch, IGTV, Hulu, VUDU, Amazon; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We can watch video on-demand, wherever we go, even without WiFi. What’s more, the majority of these platforms are being used on mobile devices by an audience with shorter and shorter attention spans as they continue to multitask across devices.
So what do we do? We, as advertisers and marketers, must recognize the potential for reaching our targeted audiences where they are pointing their attention: digital video; which means we also have to consider the shift in video length that the consumer is willing to watch. It’s Darwinism at its most basic. We have to adapt to the multitasking, to the shortened attention spans, and produce video content that can tell a story in as little as 15- or 6-seconds. Because that’s what the consumers want.
Video hasn’t abdicated its throne. It’s just changed castles. And it’s time we joined the caravan.