There have been some significant milestones in the evolution of advertising and content. Be it the emergence of the printing press or the massive influence of television or the era of the internet, the changes have been spectacular.
With every milestone, advertising had to continuously adapt and change to befit the new mediums and a progressively shrewd audience.
But there is one medium which has had the biggest impact on advertising and content more than anything else – the incredible internet!
The emergence of the internet has dramatically revolutionized advertising and content most astonishingly. It has changed how the ads are broadcasted and how the customers respond to them.
Traditional Advertising: Back Then
Back to the days before the internet skyrocketed, advertising was done through infomercials broadcasted on radio, television, or billboards. This was the Golden Age of Advertising, as the entire movement was regarded as a massive part of society.
The first-ever ad aired on the TV screens in the USA in 1941, which is probably a lot later than you would have thought. Right before the baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, the audience saw the first 10-second ad for Bulova clocks and watches.
This small 10-second moment set the exemplar for the next seven decades.
In those days, ads were a dedicated part of the society. Although the 1950s was a tense time for the USA due to the cold war, it is also known as the Golden Era of Capitalization as prosperity rose. One of the main reasons behind that was the dramatic increase in consumer spending. As a result, TV viewers also felt hopeful and started spending some bucks.
Brands decided to make a semblance of connection between them and the viewers. They brought in famous faces to sell everything from milk to shoes. However, this concept of customer connection wasn’t made a priority until later.
Products and characters started going hand in hand on TV. For example, Charlie the Tuna for StarKist Tuna, Ronald McDonald for McDonald’s fast-food restaurants, Tony the Tiger for Sugar Frosted Flakes Cereal, and Pillsbury Doughboy for Pillsbury baking products.
Even though the characters were different and a vast collection of different products emerged, all the ads at this time served one purpose solely – selling their products. Undoubtedly these characters were fundamental to the advertisements and played a significant role in building an ad culture for the audience. Still, the product was always on the front line. Although it might have appeared that these characters were the core of their respective ad campaigns, they simply served as a selling tool.
Now: The Motives Are Different
As the advertising world evolved, different commercial motives have risen. Brands are now focusing more on growing community and brand awareness instead of just focusing on selling their products.
The Products Are No Longer The Centerpiece
The audience has a problem, and guess what? Your product just happens to provide a solution for it!
Living in a world of the internet, it has become more difficult now than ever for the brands to gain the trust of their audience. They have to work twice as hard now.
The concept of emphasizing a solution to the consumer’s problem instead of on the product has become progressively prevalent.
Today the advertising has become a two-step process:
- Creating helpful content that provides a solution to a problem.
- The audience loves helpful content and dives in-depth to find out more about the brand.
Transformation From Passive To Active Consumer: The Biggest Change
Even today, our television experience is filled with lots of traditional advertisements. But the change is continuously taking place, and more change has occurred in the last twenty years than in the past two centuries. From ancient Egyptians carving public notices on steel to us being able to access any information anytime within a few clicks on our mobiles, we have come a long way!
But people are now willing to pay not to see ads.
They are using ad blockers so that they don’t have to bear with the bombardments of commercials when they browse the internet. Moreover, the emergence of paid streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime Video has started cutting off ads. Publishers have incurred losses worth billions due to this.
If advertisers don’t think this as a hint that they need to change their ads and content, then they need to think again. Customers no longer trust commercials now.
Undoubtedly millennials are the top demographic in the current scenario, but they are the most doubtful when it comes to ads and even more picky when it comes to deciding whom to listen to.
Most of them have now started browsing blogs, checking out social media, and digging in the genuine reviews before they commit to purchasing from a brand.
This is the place when the concept of focusing on the solution before the product comes into play. Brands now need to prove the worth of their products even before the audience considers purchasing.
The Rise Of User-Generated Content
In an attempt to develop trust and bring the customers on their side, companies have now started collaborating with the people who are interested in purchasing products from them.
When putting together in simple words, consumers have now become a part of advertising themselves.
Companies have now shifted their focus on developing community and getting customers on board who will help in selling their products. Brands have started involving and engaging more with their audience by encouraging them to participate in tasks and contests to win a prize.
And this strategy works because people trust people more than they believe brands. Companies have now realized that having a loyal customer base is more important than having more one-time buyers.
When brands focus on their loyal customer base, they will be able to ensure satisfaction. And happy customers tend to increase more sales. After all, word-of-mouth marketing is no joke. A group of cheering fans is the best marketing tool any brand can have. Therefore the companies are now focusing on building a loyal following.
When the audience sees that a brand is genuinely caring for its customers, it automatically builds trust and pulls them towards your brand. This is the reason why brands are creating content and using their ad campaigns to address the problems of the audience – be it social issues or environmental issues or daily life issues.
The characters like Tony the Tiger or Ronald McDonald might have been successful during that time, but do you think their “sell, sell, sell” mentality would work in this generation of consumers, which prefers credibility and knowledge?
Well, this was all about the evolution of marketing and content over the past years. Let us know your opinions about this in the comments below.
Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for Tireless IT Services. Tireless IT Services is a digital marketing, SEO, SMO, PPC, and web development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, web designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.