Standing Out Among the Content Clutter

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Marketing and advertising have always been dependent on consumers’ attention, but as we have transitioned into the media-based world in which we now live, this element of advertising has become even more prevalent. Every day, we view, create, and interact with an immense amount of content, particularly through social media, and in the midst of it, marketers and advertisers are left to grab our attention. Given the amount of time we spend mindlessly scrolling through content each day, this is not a simple task. We are no longer engaged by simple image and text, as we see it so often and in such mass amounts. It takes something out of the ordinary, or simply different than the majority of the content that we are experiencing to get us to stop what we are doing and view it. We need something that distracts us from what we are viewing; something eye-catching or different, among our friends’ posts and shared images and articles. Attention has become such a great commodity, as it is so difficult to obtain with the increasing presence of media and content today.

Marketers and advertisers have been faced with this challenge, but also been given so many new and different forms of content and media. With these resources, they have been able to transform advertising into a much more attention-grabbing source of content. One way that advertisers get my attention is through their use of today’s ever-enhancing media, such as GIFs and videos, particularly on social media. On many social media sites, these videos play automatically when scrolled by, which is very noticeable and helps advertisers quickly attain our attention. Therefore, it is strategic to place an image with an element of movement, or a video within an advertisement, as it is likely to stand out as we scroll through large amounts of content. Coca-Cola has always been a great example of attention-based advertising, and they have been advancing with the shift to social media. They have utilized the emergence of GIFs and videos in social media advertising, particularly on Twitter. Coca-Cola’s tweets often include short video advertisements or GIFs that call attention. For example, earlier this week they tweeted out a video of a bubble in a glass of Coke making its way to the top of the drink. The video, titled “MVBubble,” although simple, is attention-grabbing when found in an average Twitter feed. The video graphics draw our eyes in, as it stands out among all of the other standard content that we see. Such videos present something different within our normal social media activity, and therefore grab attention and elicit interaction with the brand.

Another way in which advertisers have used social media to their advantage, and consequentially grabbed my attention, is through filters available on Snapchat. Using Snapchat has become so natural today, and I often check the filters that are available on a given day, or in a specific place. They add something different to Snapchat, and often alter the photo in some way that allows us to create and share new and different content. In many cases, filters are added as advertisements, such as GE’s filter for the Summer Solstice, which features a set of sunglasses and sunscreen, or the Ted 2 filter that integrated the promotion of the new movie with Father’s Day. Snapchat users often use these filters to make their photos funnier and different than the usual content that they produce, and don’t always even take into consideration the advertising that they are doing for the company, movie, etc. I think that this tactic is incredibly well planned, as it plays on the ways in which we are constantly looking for new ways to use media and content within social media, while subtly encouraging interaction with the company. This gets my attention, as it allows me to interact with the given brand, almost subconsciously, in a way that enhances my social media experience.

It is clear that over the years, advertising has had to conform to the societal and technological changes that we have seen take place. We have grown to be incredibly connected, through media and content, and at times we don’t pay full attention to everything that we are seeing. A simple advertisement with a plain image or text no longer stands out to us, as we are seeing it amongst mass amounts of messages, images, and articles. It takes something different enough to make us stop what we are doing, and think about what we are seeing. Both the Twitter advertisements that use video, and the filters used on Snapchat exemplify advertisements that elicit attention in our content-filled world. They use video motion and photo effects as ways to draw us in, and give us the opportunity to view and interact with the content without going out of the way of our everyday social media activity. In a world cluttered with content, marketers and advertisers need to find ways to uniquely get our attention. The advertising can be incredibly simple, and perhaps not as impressive as some print or television advertisements, but it is strategically placed and designed to stand out. Attention truly is a commodity today, and the advertisements that get my attention are those that are naturally integrated into social media, but designed to stand out among the rest of the content that we encounter every day.

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