A few years ago, the financial and insurance industries were typically known to target a much older demographic until a recent flow of interesting characters started lighting up commercials with talking ducks and cave men. Suddenly, insurance companies were resonating with a much younger crowd and found themselves building a new customer base of mobile and internet-savvy consumers that enjoyed being entertained. In order to maintain and grow this new audience, these same industries need to be looking at other mediums to capitalize on recent client acquisitions using the same branded characters that first attracted interest.
As social media users are increasingly mobile, there are enormous opportunities for mobile advertisers to communicate in a new way to this audience. Empowering consumers to identify with a brand by allowing them to interact with entertaining content and share it allows marketers and advertisers to create powerful brand advocates. Research consistently demonstrates that branded messages received from a friend resonate far more than from traditional sources, so the savvy mobile advertiser will provide compelling content that cries out to be shared.
Now that smartphones are the norm, mobile video is taking center stage as a medium of choice for mobile advertising. A great feature of mobile video is video personalization, which is the ability to allow users to put their own messages and photos right into great video content and easily share it with their social networks. With new technology that enables video personalization to take place in 3D space, visually compelling special effects like those seen in the movies are now in the toolbox of mobile advertisers.
A particularly effective use of video personalization can be created by a brand that has a character, for example the Geico gecko or the Aflac duck. Either from mining existing video content or creating new content from scratch, the video can be treated to allow advertisers — and then users — to insert their own messages and photos right into the action, so that it appears to be a part of the original video. For advertisers with access to users’ names, a personal message may be sent directly to the user that incorporates their name or even their photo in an entertaining way, allowing them to interact with the brand’s character.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting for the mobile advertiser. Once the user receives this message, beyond liking and sharing it with their friends, they can also be empowered to create their own message within the branded video. By delivering content that’s entertaining enough to encourage users to put their own stamp on it, you will extend the likelihood of that content being shared, and thus the reach of your branded message. (Note: As profanity filtering is employed, brands have little fear of objectionable material sullying their content.)
Remember, mobile is convenient. It fits with the lifestyle of today’s busy consumer, which is why it’s now the most popular way to browse the Internet. However, the majority of customers are on-the-go and distracted when browsing the mobile web. Because of this, mobile advertising must be able to grab a viewer’s attention and keep it long enough to build consumer interest in a brand and product. Companies that are used to traditional advertising have to shift their perspective and adapt to a faster-paced mobile world.