Advertising at the Speed of Broadband

I’ve written quite a bit about the power of video, blogs, and viral, to name a few marketing tools. What I haven’t discussed is something that’s vital to their success: velocity.

The Internet has made us accustomed to lots of data, images, words, thoughts, and emotions coming at us at a blinding rate. We probably don’t think much about it. Yet as things accelerate, we fall prey to these things cramming our minds.

For example, the poorly produced viral videos spreading like a plague around the world in a matter of hours seem to be successful at getting a funny moment across. You’d think 6.5 billion Internet users would be discerning enough to keep that kind of thing from happening. But no, they spread ideas without a care because they feel compelled to. Chalk it up to another mystery of human behavior.

It’s not all about sharing. The velocity of the ideas, pictures, and words provides these videos with a special quality that snowballs into Internet fame. When a viral ad or clip hits the Web, it can be a “been there, done that” has-been in just a few days. Receiving a video clip or ad and quickly sending it to others is part of the video experience. It’s a “moment.”

Why do campy corncob or blinking-baby ad banners stick around so long? There’s no apparent velocity there, right?

They stick around because they work. If they didn’t, they’d go away. Usually, these latent ads have to do with images and words we’re used to seeing a lot of. This is called “frequency” in advertising. Too much of it is “burnout.” Rich ads are built on execution quality and a high level of engagement. The only time they have velocity is when they’re more invasive, such as floating or takeover ads, though those types of moments are seldom shared.

It comes down to two ad factions: ads you see every day and may someday use, and content you consume because it’s fresh and new. When we add velocity, an image, video, or message has a much deeper meaning. But utilizing speed to deliver a marketing message is a dimension of the rich online experience we’ve only begun to explore.

For brand marketers considering how to use online as an effective advertising vehicle, all this seems really compelling. Mass voyeurism can deliver a powerful experience and message as long as the timing is right.

Try making a live, unedited video feed from the next swimsuit model photo shoot into a one-hour event. Later, allow people to download it and share it with others. Shortly after that, poof! It’s gone forever. People who save the clip will cherish it. Instantly, it’s exclusive and shared.

When you think of velocity’s potential in advertising, first consider the audience. Then, factor in delivery speed, content quality, and how it can elevate a marketing message from an ad to a moment.

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