OVER THE PAST 30 years or so we have seen a series of major developments in how audiences interact with and consume media.
And with each incremental shift, the repercussions for marketing and advertising are significant. Back in the 1990’s each city across the world had only handful of TV stations, newspapers and radio stations.
The audiences these mediums captivated were truly massive – in the more populace cities in the world we are talking millions of potential viewers, readers and listeners at any given time.
And for advertisers to get their messages across, they had to pay accordingly based on total potential audiences, rather than actual potential customers.
The marketing waste in these old marketing models was also truly massive.
To reach a few hundred or even a few thousand people who actually (a) had any interest whatsoever in the product being advertised and (b) were actually looking to purchase the said product tens, or even hundreds of thousands of people were also exposed who were simply not going to purchase now – or ever.
The dawn of the internet and audience fragmentation changed this.
With the rise of cable and pay TV models across the world audiences fragmented into special interest groups such as sports, home improvement, lifestyle or news programming enabling advertisers to reach a better defined demographic. Known as ‘narrowcasting’ or ‘target marketing’ this approach minimises waste, and improves cost efficiency in marketing messages.
In the online world, user data could easily be collected from behaviour and actions. The genres of web-content consumed. How long spent on different types of websites. How often a user returns – if at all – to a particular site.
Even personal data such as age, sex, ethnicity, location, affluence can be intuitively deduced from what, how and where and when a person accesses content online.
This type of data collection enables a highly detailed profile of individual users to be built over time.
When advertising on such a personal level to a small group – or even a single person – it is known as ‘finecasting’.