How to avoid brand ‘skipping’ online

The internet is about micro James Griffiths engagements and if you want to advertise in the space, traditional 30 second spots won’t cut it says James Griffiths, in a piece that first appeared in Encore.

“Guys come check this out,” I holler across the office. My colleagues gather around the screen to watch the latest trending cat and his unique talents. You can feel the anticipation in the air. I hit the link, poised for the goodness that awaits. And then… An advert.

Moments like this happen every day as online content platforms look for new ways to monetise their services. With pre-roll ads frequently appearing on YouTube, and Facebook now experimenting with video advertising in people’s feeds, it is becoming more apparent that TV ads are jarring in an online environment, especially when they are forced upon the consumer.

The reason behind the frustration is that we are simply in a different mindset at our computer or on our mobile as opposed to relaxing on our couches watching the latest episode of The X Factor.

We’re in a ‘lean in’ mindset, not ‘lean back’. We want to be entertained, but it’s got to grab us quickly.

The digital space is one of micro engagements. Any brand that blocks the immediacy we expect from the medium is effectively getting in the way.

Just because online channels have created 30-second opportunities doesn’t make it the most effective way to reach people. If your content isn’t more engaging than the one they came to watch, the skip button makes it all too easy to dismiss you. Further to that, forcing people to sit through your content could actually lead to consumer frustration, which is detrimental to your brand.

So to stop destroying someone’s golden moment showing their colleagues the next ‘big thing’ in cat videos, here are five key points to keep front of mind.

1.  The five second rule. 

You have five seconds maximum before your micro engagement could lead to that inevitable ‘skip’.

2.  Would you share it? 

Make your content contagious and it will work a lot harder for you. If you wouldn’t share it, why would someone else?

3.  Does your message make sense in the environment it is in? 

If I’ve stolen a minute for a laugh, do I really want to know about insurance?

4.  Complement the content they came to see, don’t inhibit it. 

Is there something more engaging you can do that is a better suit for the medium?

5.  Think beyond the 30.

Does your content play into something larger? What is the pay-off for the viewer and how can they get involved after they have invested time with you?

There is, of course, no sure-fire way to come out on top. You just have to think smart when crafting your campaign from the start making sure every component complements the next. I’m not saying pre-roll ads don’t work. They can be extremely effective when used with the above in mind.

The internet is the medium for amazing branded content. It allows the extraordinary to shine through. So make sure you don’t frustrate people. The last thing you want is your brand to be skipped.

James Griffiths is the creative group head at Iris Worldwide, Sydney.
Issue_37_devicesThis piece first appeared in EncoreDownload it now on iPad, iPhone and Android tablet devices.



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