Radio and television formed the initial pillars of mass communication that serve as the basis for today’s Information Age. From fireside chats to Super Bowl championships and beloved shows like M*A*S*H, these technologies created opportunities for men and women all over the country to share experiences like never before. Similarly, radio and TV also created opportunities for brands and advertisers to reach into Americans’ homes and present their products.
The media landscape we know today, with its infinite switchboard of content options, is a far cry from the halcyon days of mass communication when advertisers could reach almost half of the country with a single well-placed ad. But although millions of Americans may have been within reach of a TV spot, that spot would be blanketed over a generic, non-targeted audience. Now, while TV and radio may have lost their primacy in the face of new media channels, advertisers can embrace this shift by taking advantage of audience targeting and niche marketing.
Thanks to user insights from platforms like Google, Facebook, and Netflix, brands have never had a clearer picture of the audiences and consumers they seek to engage. As a result, they can create unique, hyper-relevant content that targets different demographics with pinpoint accuracy. For example, in a recent campaign, Camry developed a range of ads that feature the same car driven by characters of various races and ethnicities to appeal to those audiences; in addition, those ads were aired alongside programs with significant viewership from the target demographics so that consumers would see themselves reflected in the spot.
Beyond media preferences, targeted ads can also engage consumers on social media platforms and thus create an opportunity for individuals to interact directly with the brand by offering their feedback, present their experience with the brand or product, and so on. In fact, last year, digital ad budgets saw their largest increase in nearly a decade, highlighting advertisers’ confidence in the practice.
The proliferation of media options has scattered consumers from the heretofore monolithic medium of TV and into an array of streaming services, websites, and apps. However, while there are more media channels than ever before, there are also more ways than ever to reach consumers and deliver ad content that speaks directly to their identities and their lives.