Not since the advent of the television ad in 1941 has the potential for new ad formats been so great. The emergence of digital platforms is enabling marketers to experiment with a number of new ad formats, each of which could revolutionize marketing as we know it. Throughout 2014 we will be highlighting the most effective of the techniques being broadly adopted.
Part I: Illuminated User Generated Content
Aristotle noted that “man is by nature a social animal”, a concept which has been reinforced over time by findings in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience. Simply put, humans have an innate desire to share their experiences and learn from each other. But as marketers it has always been a challenge to draw upon this truth in the creation of advertising. Even well-crafted testimonial ads can fall short of the sincerity, authenticity, and believability that organic conversation produces.
Enter the internet. From its first killer app, email, to the sophisticated social media websites of today the internet has expanded the ways in which people share information about the brands they use. And marketers are tapping into this dialogue.
At first, this primarily consisted of fostering creation of content. Like, share, and review buttons made it easy for ‘browsers’ to become ‘brand advocates’. The growing penetration of webcams and smart phones made it possible for these new brand advocates to transition from the world of text into the world of video. Here is an example of a user generated product review video submitted to the EXPO social media website:
Example of Typical User Generated Product Review Video
With content like this being created by product users, marketers and their social media partners turned to the task of curating this content. Systems were put into place to house and review the content to find those which could be leveraged in marketing campaigns. And most recently EXPO upped the ante by automating this process with a dashboard that not only algorithmically quantifies production quality but also draws in scores from MSW.ARS to help locate the reviews with the greatest probability of being memorable and persuasive. This makes choosing content for distribution onto e-commerce, owned, and earned media channels a breeze.
Screen Capture of ExpoTV Dashboard
But the most recent evolutionary step is perhaps the most important. Techniques gleaned from television advertising are now being applied to enhance their messaging and emotional power. Music is being used to set mood and tone. Screen cuts are being used to manage pace and draw in scenes from multiple reviews. This new breed of illuminated content retains the sincerity, authenticity, and believability of the original reviews while increasing breakthrough and engagement.
Example of Illuminated User Generated Product Review Video
Exactly how powerful is this format? To answer this question we’ve begun actively testing these illuminated user generated product videos in our Touchpoint Plus copytesting system. We’ve seen Brand name recall over fifty percent higher and persuasion twice as high as a typical 30 second television ad for the brand! This suggests that illuminated user generated product review videos may be the most powerful testimonial ad format to date.