It’s a Digital Wasteland Out There

As the digital channel continues to grow, we have seen an increasing amount of clutter similar to the traditional channels. More and more advertisers who once enjoyed using banner and web advertising to drive customers to online offers are now experiencing weaker results and ROI. The TNS Digital Life global study, one of the largest global online studies has identified a tremendous amount of digital waste – “Digital waste pollutes the online world as brands fail to listen to what people want”.  As I reported on MSN video – Understanding the digital user and how to access them has become more and more digital_touchpointsimportant in developing effective marketing strategies.

So what are the touch points we need to understand when it comes to digital?

It can be broken down to four key areas ACCESS, ENGAGEMENT, ADVOCACY and CONVERSION. In this blog posting we will look closely at ACCESS.

  • How many people can we reach through the digital channel?
  • Who is out there in the digital landscape?
  • When they have access, how can we reach them by our marketing efforts? 

These questions are the key to ACCESS and connecting to an audience that will engage with your brand. Probably not surprising to most of us, you can reach the vast majority of your market utilizing the digital channel, according to TNS, the vast majority of Canadians, 82% have access to the internet for leisure daily usage.

Does this mean traditional forms of media like TV, radio and print are not effective?

No, traditional forms of media like TV have a place in the marketing mix, but not surprising more and more media dollars are being shifted to digital. Globally the more prevalent digital is in terms of communication channels; the less important traditional forms of media are in reaching your customer. Actually, the Internet is squeezing the traditional forms of media like TV and has taken the lead in terms of accessing information. Increasing Internet penetration has caused a systematic decline in the role of television as a source of information; this is particularly true as outlined in Nielsen’s view of the customer path to purchase. It doesn’t mean that digital doesn’t share total reach from other traditional media as well, but it does show a high correlation.

How do you become more effective with your digital media spend?

Sometimes we hear marketers say: “let’s move out of TV; let’s spend all our media dollars in digital, because it’s dominant”. However, the daily Canadian usages of various media forms demonstrate the importance of three sixty media integration through cross-media strategies.

  • How can we use digital in concert with other channels to further increase the effectiveness of our strategies?
  • How can we use traditional media to complement digital?

In order to really understand the digital world, we have to go beyond Internet penetration. We have to understand digital user behaviour. And if we want to understand digital behaviour, we have to understand how people use the Internet. Not only in a sense of what they’re doing, but also how they’re getting there.

How do Canadians access the Internet?

Digital is heavily skewed to PC-based activity, 95% of Canadians access the Internet through their PC at home.  However, the PC is becoming a legacy instrument. It doesn’t mean that it’ll go away. But it means that other access points are poised for growth. For example, mobile phones and tablets have already shown significant growth rates here in Canada.  “Canada is on track to pass 100-per-cent wireless penetration rate” according to Rita Trichur , Globe and Mail reporter. In addition, a category that is creating its own space and one we have to understand more when it comes to digital is the Tablet. The Tablet has shown a small overall penetration, but it is an emerging category. Interestingly, age is one of the primary drivers in terms of accessing the Internet through mobile and tablet devices. The Tablet is actually less age dependent than mobile smartphone ownership as reported in Marketing Charts. Which is not a surprise. Over indexing is quite pronounced in certain age groups and that may help us predict how it may be in future.

digital_profileAre there different types of digital users or segments?

The TNS Digital Life study looked at six distinct profiles of how people used the Internet.  Marketers need to understand how to access these different types of users; all access the medium in a different fashion. Many companies today rush online to get the message out and fail to understand how to access users that purchase their products and services. This has caused a digital wasteland full of useless messages cluttering the internet and causing consumers to ignore these messages. By understanding the right digital user and the most effective method to access he or she, the more effective you will be with your marketing approach.

digital_lifestyleIn my next technology blog, I will look at the how to ENGAGE the various types of Internet users to get a big bang with your marketing activity.

To help get you started check out the TNS video on the six different digital life styles