COVID Clinches It: The Days Of Spray-And-Pray Advertising Are Over

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Ad-Tech Trends Show Light at the End of the Tunnel

Crawling out of the economic shutdown, the advertising industry has taken a hit. But it’s not all gloom and doom. The future looks bright, but very different. “The pandemic has accelerated viewer adoption of digital streaming, and has changed the way brands engage with customers,” said Joel Cox, co-founder of Denver ad-tech firm Strategus. “Saturating popular TV shows with repetitious ads and hoping for the best won’t work as well anymore – the days of spray and pray are finally over.”

With the pandemic, millions have discovered new programming choices far beyond cable and subscription-based streaming services like Netflix. “Viewers were already cutting the cable cord in favor of Over-the-Top digital streaming on internet-connected televisions,” said Cox. “With no sports, and with the nightly news getting too depressing, more people are exploring OTT/CTV.” Recent research from Nielsen predicts that stay-in-place orders may have increased media consumption by 60%.

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Based on the digital exhaust from phones, tablets, computers and CTVs, advertisers now have the ability to micro-target individual consumers with customized messages using automated, real-time bidding (programmatic) for ads served over CTVs. Key to this trend is the move toward data-driven audience targeting, and away from the traditional content targeting of the past. Picking a regularly scheduled TV show to advertise on, say, Monday Night Football based around the generic assumption that men, age 18-34, are watching it, is falling in favor to more precise tracking of likely buyers based on their browsing and shopping habits. Programmatic campaigns can also place limits on media buys to avoid advertising alongside negative or sub-standard content.

This new technology makes ads more meaningful and relevant, and will deliver more benefit after the pandemic. Many people have just bought online for the first time, and millions more will likely appreciate creative messaging, geared toward their interests and locations, with ads that promise no-contact, clean delivery of products and services.

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“Thoughtful and relevant, interesting and relatable, this is what marketing can become when matching a creative message with today’s digital streaming inventory,” said Cox. “Now is not the time to retreat, but instead to compete by adopting new customer engagement strategies and new advertising technologies to stay ahead of the curve as the economy comes roaring back.”

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