In 2016, Americans spent an average of five hours and forty-three minutes on digital media (mobile, desktop/laptop and other connected devices) and watched over four hours of television per day. As content becomes more premium across multiple platforms, it’s essential for brands to find ways to stay connected with their audiences.

In this new advertising landscape, it’s vital to take a step back and look at a brand campaign from a holistic media approach. Instead of focusing solely on traditional media and digital spend, consider making an investment into product integration across multiple channels in order to create a 360-degree campaign.

We predict we’ll see an increase in the number of brands that invest in reaching their audience through meaningful and engaging content this year. After all, brands need to be where their audiences are watching.

Consumers are becoming smarter about their content consumption and are actively looking for ways to avoid advertisements and enjoy content, uninterrupted.

According to eMarketer, in 2016, an estimated 69.8 million Americans used ad blocking technology, with millions more utilizing a subscription service that is ad free. What is the solution to commercial avoidance? Target your consumers through a 360-degree approach both through a micro and macro lens. The micro approach includes becoming a part of your consumer’s daily consumption habits across multiple points of the day via social media/influencer engagement, scripted and unscripted content, as well as through talent-focused events. The macro approach focuses on reaching your consumers over the course of a full year. After you have established this cadence to effectively build a story throughout the day, take the opportunity to focus on the larger annual moments for a brand, which we call Tentpole campaign windows.

Brands need to be sensitive to times in which their target consumers are focusing their attention. When does your consumer catch up on the social feeds and who do they love to follow? When do they have time to catch up on their favorite shows? What late night unscripted television host do they count on to end their day?

Through a 360-degree integration campaign, a brand can become seamlessly integrated into key content consumption moments through both scripted and unscripted content.

Scripted content gives brands an opportunity to be aligned with beloved shows and characters by being deeply rooted into the storyline. It’s also an exceptional way to naturally integrate messaging and avoid disturbing the content. To successfully integrate your brand into these shows, it’s important to understand not only your brand persona, but also that of the scripted character’s. There must be a relevant alignment to the character and story, and ultimately that must connect back to the audience.

Integrating into an unscripted series such as Jimmy Kimmel Live or Ellen, allow brands an opportunity to integrate in a different way. Opportunities such as delivering key brand messages or a call-to-action can be built into the content program. Scripted content does not allow for these direct deliverables and is a compliment to a more organic integration.

Digital influencers fall into a hybrid of scripted and unscripted content. Engaging with influencers allows a brand to target messaging on a direct level through engaged followers. Influencers’ audiences are incredibly loyal, and influencers have an unparalleled way of developing trust in their community of followers. Why not begin to build your own community of brand advocates?

The value of brand integration is increasing as viewer eyeballs are moving toward non ad-supported platforms. Cable and OTT now represent a whopping 25% of the broadcast television market – and both are growing rapidly. Given this, marketers must leverage integrations as an effective way to reach audiences and engage with them through authentic and nonintrusive experiences.

erin-schmidt-headshotErin Schmidt serves as Senior Director of Client Services at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), specializing in developing strategy and execution of entertainment campaigns for clients like Dyson, Jose Cuervo, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Prior to the 2012 acquisition by BEN, Erin served on the client services team at Norm Marshall & Associates, a pioneer in the product placement space. With over 12 years of experience in integrating brands into content, Erin has developed an expertise in the process of bringing brands and content creators to deliver seamless execution. 

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