As consumers are more on the go than ever, marketers need to change their mindset and find new ways to disrupt the norm
JD Gargano originally wanted to call his session “The Art of Convenience, or ‘What the F*ck Did I Sign Up For?’”
The creative director of digital media company Captivate began his 2019 HOW Design Live session by asking the audience what they’re willing to pay for convenience. Not with money, but with consent: privacy, digital footprint or online behavior. The response was indicative of the public, one that is willing to sacrifice discretion for expediency.
“Attention is a precious resource since our brains are cluttered with noise,” said Seth Godin of This is Marketing. Gargano cited this quote to contextualize how consumers can or cannot process digital technology as it reaches breakneck speeds.
To further illustrate how far we’ve come in digital media in the past 10 years:
- In 2009:
- 86% of people skipped TV ads using DVRs or other devices.
- Instagram, Alexa and Google Voice didn’t exist.
- Facebook had 150 million users worldwide.
- Twitter had fewer than 30 million users.
- $2.98 billion was spent on digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising.
- In 2019:
- 85% close web pages because of pop-ups.
- 70% of U.S. companies use Instagram.
- Facebook has 2.3 billion monthly users.
- Twitter has 321 million monthly users.
- $7.4 billion has been spent on DOOH.
The average 15-second ad is viewed for approximately 5.5 seconds. Attention spans are disappearing across the board, true among the almost 7 billion Internet of Things devices in existence. As a result, Gargano says, we have seen an emergence in digital out-of-home as the most viable method of directly reaching the consumer.
Certainly, DOOH has its benefits and drawbacks:
- Pros: It has a larger reach, is always brand safe (e.g., ad dollars can’t be pulled from a network news show due to unforeseen comments made by a pundit), is fraud-free and unskippable.
- Cons: It often needs to be custom built to meet strict specs (e.g., Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Oculus, an unusually shaped screen space), often has no audio environment and must adhere to public signage laws.
Where are we headed? Gargano predicts the emergence of the following methods of cutting through visual clutter:
- Facial recognition
- Audio/voice-enabled devices
- Retargeting ads
New media devices on which these will be commonly found:
- Smart TVs
- Smart appliances
- Security/doorbell cameras
Why is this happening? People are more on the go than ever. Seventy percent of our time is spent out of home, whether at work, the gym or out to lunch. We desire more convenience and access to devices that can help speed up simple, daily tasks. It’s no longer a planet of humans—there are AI devices all around.
How can we adapt, change and prepare? Gargano says we need to “change our mindset and find new ways to disrupt the norm.” At Captivate, Gargano and his team implement dynamic, location-based ads with their signature elevator screens. In soundless environments, Captivate can tell stories visually and deliver proper intent of the client to match consumer need and emotion.
Degree Deodorant can elucidate its importance to a consumer looking to stay fresh and dry, “even in a crowded elevator.” Or Whole Foods can use location-based targeting to pinpoint its nearest store and list menu items of the day.
Designers and marketers may disrupt the norm, but must navigate the fine line between convenience and creepiness. It’s hard to escape the overwhelming sense that our phones and devices are listening to us. Gargano shared his anger with Instagram after a retargeted ad for Brooklyn Boulders climbing gym appeared in his feed following a phone conversation about the venue with a friend just hours prior.
Gargano sees DOOH being the go-to destination for ad dollars to be spent in the coming years, and stresses that brands must protect the trust their clients have built. Marketing is, and should always be about, capturing the consumer’s attention (even imagination) and filling a need in a visually enticing, productive manner.