Hyper-Targeted Audiences, This Week’s DistilledLive Video

En vogue with our 'TV month' here at Distilled, Rob Toledo and Jacob Klein talk us through the changing face of digital content in this week's DistilledLive video. Where is entertainment going and where do we, as online marketers, fit into this picture?

You can read the full transcript here.

Over the next month, Distilled is publishing a series of articles on this topic. Our full thinking is realised in The Future of TV deck which you can tune into over here

Over to you, dear reader

What changes have you noticed in viewing habits? Are you segmenting your brand experience directly to a subset of your visitors? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

DistilledLive | The changing face of our TV screens

Rob: Hi, I'm Rob Toledo, head of outreach at Distilled.

Jacob: And I'm Jacob Klein, a consultant at Distilled.

Rob: We both run two entertainment and TV blogs, so we thought we'd talk to you guys today about the future of TV, and where we as digital marketers fit into that picture.

Jacob: Yeah, so, let's start at the beginning. TV started out as a passive device in your living room. Where it was a smallish screen, your whole family sitting around watching it. They don't have a lot of choices, they're watching whatever's on, and that's the only screen you really had access to for that content. Today, we've got infinite choices in terms of content, and ultimately how we view that content. On your iPhone, iPad, anywhere, anytime. We're not limited by that. So what we've been saying around Distilled, is this. We need to think of it, as marketers, like a screen, is a screen, is a screen. A television, no matter how big it is, or whatever it is, wherever it is in your room, it's just a screen. It's just a big fancy screen that displays the same content that you'd get on your iPhone or iPad. You just need to think of it as a separate, a different type of screen.

Rob: And for us as consumers, it's really only gotten easier. The choices of entertainment we now have have never been wider. We can always find a show that fits a taste that we have. Kind of the way we've gone about doing that is, like Jacob had referred to, with each screen now being a content provider for us. The various apps that have filled the market, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, and all the other premium channels we have. We've sort of seen this flip-flop, where it used to be you had ten shows to choose from with 100 million people audiences. Now it's 10,000 shows, but each of those might only have 1 million viewers, or 3 million viewers. So, there's a lot more entertainment choices, but with that's come a real segmented audience. As marketers, it's somewhat advantageous, because we're able to target our efforts a little bit differently than we used to.

Jacob: Yeah, so ultimately, TV is just another content type for us to target as marketers. It's just long-form video, it's kind of the king of all content because of the relationship we have with those shows and the characters. We spend a lot of time with these shows, 10, 16 hours a season, and we build these relationships. There's a lot of opportunity for marketers to squeeze in there and get a relationship that means something in these very specific niches that you're talking about, with this king of content, that is TV.

Rob: Now that we've talked a little bit about where we've been and where we've ended up, we want to take a little bit of a look into the future, where entertainment is going, and what the next ten years might look like. One thing we've really noticed has really taken shape, especially over the past couple years, is really strong communities developing around these pieces of content, these TV shows. Shows like 'Orange is the New Black,' for example, one of Netflix' new original series that's done quite well, has really done well online. Communities have developed around that. There's websites dedicated to the show and the characters, and that's kind of an exciting thing to see as a marketer, because with all the modern technology we have now, we're really able to segment the data behind the people who have really started to enjoy this show. There's a running joke that Netflix likely knows your entertainment tastes better than you even do yourself.

The way we look at that is, with that data as marketers, we're able to really segment down who we're targeting in our efforts. The analogy that we like to use is it's now more of a sniper shot as opposed to a shotgun blast. You're really able to hyper-target an effort or a campaign after a specific type of audience that this segmented data now provides. We think that's only going to increase as time moves on.

Jacob: Yeah, and piggybacking off of that, I think you have to think about what kind of ads you're using to target these people, or how you're going to integrate your message in with those shows. Ads of the past that might not work as well, like short-form video, traditional exposition commercials, they might not work as well. People are tuning those out, skipping them, muting them, at least I am, and I know other people probably are too. You have to think of other ways to get your brand and product in front of people. After you've used some of the methods you were talking about, where you're focusing on this community, and now you have to decide what kind of message you're going to use to get in front of them.

One thing that people have been using more effectively these days is just product placement. It's something they've been doing for a long time, but product placement within a show. For example, in 'House of Cards' there's a scene where he starts talking about how cool his PSP is, and how he's going to get himself one of those. He plays PS3 a lot to wind down, so that kind of influence versus promotion, you get a lot more influence with that kind of integration as opposed to hawking your product via a video that interrupts someone's viewing experience. They're enjoying the show, and then interrupted by your product. It's more effective to have an integrated ad.

I think the way TV is going, you're getting a lot more opportunities to smartly get yourself in there, whether it's targeting fan blogs of those shows, or jumping onto hashtag campaigns that are going on around that show, building content that's targeted around that show but loosely relates to your product. But, making sure that that content is good, and adds to the conversation. If you make some crappy 'Game of Thrones' infographic or something, and then slap your logo on the bottom, I think fans of the shows are going to really reject that sort of thing. You might get a couple retweets or something, but you've got to very mindfully work your way into the conversation. You can't just bulldoze your way in.

Rob: Yeah, and we've noticed that is a big trend, too. People are now tweeting at their TVs as something's going on, or during a show, you can follow right along with the live tweet. If your brand is relevant to that audience, participating in these communities can be a really effective way to get your message across to these hyper-targeted audiences.

Jacob: So to wrap things up a little bit, I think that this is all good news for us. These are the things that we've been doing already. We've been in, obviously, social media is right in our wheelhouse. Parsing data with these personas, finding out exactly what we're talking about, we do that every day. We build communities online. It's good news for online marketers, because we already have those skills, and people are going to need those skills more and more as we transition to this new age of television where it's mostly online, if not completely online. That's all us, I think, so it's good news.

Rob: Yeah, I think it gives us a good chance to start competing with what otherwise was relatively untouchable. It wouldn't be very common for a digital agency like us to try and buy a standard television commercial, but it's a lot more natural for us with our current skill sets, to start being a part of this interactive online campaigns that a brand might find useful in integrating with these forms of entertainment.

Well, that's all we've got for you today, thanks for watching another episode of Distilled Live.

I'm Rob Toledo.

Jacob: And I'm Jacob Klein.

Rob: We'll see you next time.

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