It’s always been a topic of some debate as to which of the traditional advertising media today’s data-driven content most resembles.
Most opt for outdoor.
For one thing, it’s immediate. Static or moving, simplicity is mandatory. Headers can’t be more than 7 words long. Less, if possible.
That’s because, like outdoor, time is short. You’ve only got a couple of seconds to grab your audience – about the time it takes to pass an outdoor board in a car.
I’m not buying it.
I think social is essentially direct response advertising.
Take the creative.
It’s almost always built around a call to action and its sole and only purpose is to generate a click-through.
Much like a tear-off coupon, reply card or 1-800 number.
Its primary directive also informs its tone and manner, which is almost always of a shrill, hectoring, “act now” nature – another sure sign that the tropes of direct response gurgle around in its DNA.
It’s also riddled with rules – prescriptive dos and don’t, imperatives on how to frame a message, generate a response (that word again), what language to use, etc.
A social campaign will “drop,” too.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, you’re talking to one individual at a time. An individual, moreover, who is, thanks to data, highly targeted, from the who and the why, to the what, when and where.
You’re not broadcasting to everyone.
You’re narrowcasting to a very specific demographic.
There are no shared perceptions, peer agreement or opting in.
Whenever the desired action, it’s an action taken in isolation.
Just you and the snake oil salesman.
Like junk mail.
And like junk mail, it’s all incredibly dull.
But that’s a post for another day.