FRIDAY 2 OCT 2015 10:14 AM


Throughout Social Media Week last month, communicators were discussing ways to meet the challenges presented by the digital age. Much of the advice offered amounted to, ‘Create better content.’ A nice idea, but not one that solves the problems; it merely compels people to act.

Phil Nottingham, video strategist at Zone, said at an event yesterday that this has to change. Digital presents challenges in terms of content distribution, watch rates and call to action. This is particularly prevalent in video marketing. TV has changed so that the standard model of advertising is no longer effective. TV is a multiplatform experience. Making great content in this context is not a solution, nor is putting more money into the distribution of mediocre content, he says.

What can be done is a rethinking of the way in which content is developed, distributed and measured. “Engagement is a very hard thing to buy,” Nottingham says, adding that content production is stuck in a similar creative process to that of Mad Men. “Most of what we’re creating, nobody is watching and nobody cares.”

From the outset, creative teams should think about why people should care and how they are going to engage with the content. A strong platform strategy should be considered at the beginning. Thus, if an audience is on Instagram, the brand in question can build a campaign for Instagram which can then be supported by other platforms. Because of the ease of cross-platform integration, Nottingham says, “You only need one channel to do very well in order to see a lift across them all.”

Brands should also consider the way in which they’re measuring the effectiveness of this content. Current social media metrics, particularly for video, take into account successful page loads containing that content. This has a host of problems but, chiefly, does not prove people engaged or even watched that content. A better way to measure, he suggests, is by tying in a call to action that specifically links to something to purchase, participate in or somehow interact with the brand. A favourite is nice, but it doesn’t build the brand. “How do you want people to feel about your company?” he asks. By making branded content that stands for something beyond simply flogging the company’s goods – a concept most brands now understand – that content can make people care and, more importantly, take action.