When brand preferences can change in the matter of a click or a tap, then they have some real work to do to stay in consumers' line of sight. Image Credit: Supplied

Years ago when digital media was just making a silent entry on the media landscape, many ad and marketing professionals were skeptical about its efficacy. Those strongly rooted in traditional media ways and means believed the reach provided by established media could never be achieved by the emerging.

When the subsequent tech revolution ushered in the digital age, industry veterans thought that having a website was more than enough to be seen in the new landscape. But then, the dynamics started changing - new media became the media of choice. Media plans were incomplete without a significant part of the budget allotted to digital, which centred around social media.

Digital experts kept came up words like engagement, optimization, organic reach, push strategy and more. The changes have been so rapid that keeping track has become cumbersome. I want to share my take on a few trends we should watch out for to ensure the buck gets the bang.

Content is king, queen and more. It is content that drives the digital landscape and marketers should ensure there is enough and more for an eternally hungry audience. It is a known fact that content is not only consumed but shared, thus leading to connection and engagement. From browsing content in a mindless manner, the number of serious consumers is ratcheting.

It has also been the case that the dominant preference is for video-led content, primarily on account of its high engagement factor. With content consumption through mobiles going up, video has entrenched itself and with nearly everyone having the means to create them.

Waning influence

The role of influencers too is changing. Followers are not blindly heeding whatever influencers recommend. Overt brand pushing by the influencer has given way to subtle brand mentions. Brands do not want to be seen as intrusive... and many influencers have the unenviable task of doing this.

Can I still get the desired response from a campaign on Facebook? A question that is being seriously considered by planners. While it all depends on the audience one wants to reach, there are those who state the profile of users is changing.

Though there is no cause for concern in number of users, what needs to be looked into is the profile of those who spent a lot of time on the social media platform. And this is going to make a major difference in the effective utilization of social media budgets. On the other hand, the engagement level on Insta has gone up, especially among a younger audience.

Constant connection

A question then arises is if there a polarisation in audiences among the different social media vehicles. This is something that seriously needs to be looked into and understood.

Consumers want brands to connect. The level of connection keeps changing and brands have the difficult task to keep the engagement interesting, interactive and sustainable. A delay in response will not only lead to a brand losing its salience but also result in a competitor taking over – not only the wallet but also the space in the mind.

- Sunil Roy is with Publilink Advertising.