Pull advertising is a necessity of distributed media advertising. As media have continued to fragment, I have seen arguments for Webs site publishers to play an active role in pulling the advertising content most appropriate for their site/audience. I have also seen arguments that the users viewing the advertisement are the most appropriate source of advertisement pull (after all, they are the end consumers). But, when the those publishing the content are also the target consumers for a given brand, such as is the case in social media, then the necessity of pull is enhanced exponentially.
On the other hand, in a medium where the “publisher is the consumer,” the argument of whether it should be the consumer or the publisher who pulls the ad content becomes instantly moot. What remains is how. How do advertisers create, participate and execute in pull advertising markets? How does an advertiser extract value from a market focused on maximizing message pull, instead of focusing on maximizing message reach?
The concept of pull advertising isn’t entirely novel. As an advertiser, you simply figure out the best way to ask to have people help you sell your brand for you. The apparel industry has this down (but we will come back to this point next week). The trouble is that, as an industry, brand advertisers and their agencies are entrenched in the broadcast model of advertising. That is, the brand advertising industry is so heavily focused on, and incentivized by, the ability to buy attention that it can’t get out of its own way to realize the value in the data that no one, given the choice, would like to pay attention to. This is one of those unique attributes of social media we discussed last week that has the potential to solve the accountability issue of brand advertising. When “the publisher is the consumer,” there is the potential for the publisher advertisement pull markets to deliver unparalleled consumer feedback.
To simplify: There is far more value in the data associated with the dialogue of asking a person to pull your brand than there is in the onetime delivery/distribution of your message. Furthermore, there is far more value in the delivery/distribution of your message when it has been pulled to begin with.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, there is a greater likelihood that your message will receive active attention when viewers know that the person (from professional producer to YouTube star) whose content they have come to view has chosen your message as their own. Second, messages pulled by target publishers are more likely to be creative ones that better resonate with your target consumer — that is, when the “publisher is the consumer.”
There are countless areas in which pull advertising markets can deliver so much more rich data to brand advertisers — but this isn’t possible until two things happen. First, that better systems, capable of enabling, enticing and capturing massive amounts publisher participation data, are introduced. Second, advertisers and agencies must let go, just enough, of the idea of success equaling volume of broadcast attention purchased, and instead look at success as the quality of pull attention given. Advertisers and agencies need to open up to the idea that, maybe, simply ensuring that you spend all of an advertiser’s allotted budget before you even begin a campaign might be a little backwards — especially when social media brand advertising campaigns have the potential for real optimization, in response to publisher pull. You don’t spend your AdWords budget up front. Why would you want clicks that aren’t good ones, just to be guaranteed clicks? Brand advertisers should ask themselves the same question. Why would you want impressions that aren’t good ones, just to be guaranteed impressions? Reach does not equal success; quality equals success.
The beauty of this is that all of brand advertising can actually be more measurable for brand advertisers simply by monitoring the data of the dialogue as they ask publishers for brand pull — that is, when the publisher is the consumer.
By Joe Marchese
Joe Marchese is President of Archetype Media, developing the next generation brand advertising platform, and aiming to bridge the gap between Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley.