Social Media’s Captive Audience

    On the one hand, marketers talk today about the noise, noise, noise, and impossibility to break through it all for consumer attention. Even if internet attention is obtained, displacement is just a ping, a text or phone ring away. And advertising is everywhere – on each device and medium the competition for eyeballs is unrelenting.

    On the other hand today’s digital technologies allow for extreme micro-segmentation levels never before possible. Web browser cookies and social media aggregation software fill CRMs with behavioral and psychographics data unprecedented. What is clear is that consumers’ demographics don’t always match their interests and behaviors – fortunately social networking software (SNS) data surpasses this.

    So – social media – the plague of attention deficits, or the high-accuracy deep dive into successful customer identification? Both right, I’m sure – the savvy marketer knows how to use the later for ultimate brand success. Yet one of the stumbling blocks I do see in social media ironically exists in behavioral analysis and segmentation itself.

    SNS, as predecessor Web 1.0 did, grows in breadth and duration of consumption. Facebook pages now accept common HTML programming and continue to harness more and more website marketing functionality such as lead-gen forms and eCommerce. Whether repeated or not, I can’t help but here the echoes “Once in Facebook, why leave Facebook?”. And not to be outdone, Google continues to grab at the World Wide Web by offering everything including the incredibly usable and intuitive Google+. If everyone’s looking for something, can the world today just run on a search engine that never sleeps?

    Truth is, yes we spend more time in Facebook than search engines. What’s significant is our usage behavior at various times in social media. One may use Facebook at day, night, on computer, smart phone and tablet. But each of these consumption phases represents a different behavior for the same consumer. Facebook gets more use at night (typically home) than day (typically work). I may use Facebook at work, but chances are it’s short time investment, quick communications. At night, at home, my true wanderlust and uninhibited individuality can take over. Meanwhile I may use the Twitter app on my smart phone en route, to post a spontaneous thought, or research while store shopping. So, it’s not enough for marketers to say “These people use SNS this way” – we must be cognizant of these phases of consumption…

    As measurement and predictive tools grow in ability to relay such data “gold,” micro segmentation can virtually give sellers a holy grail of prospects – a friend who wants to discuss your offer. Social media smart phone apps advance today to merge geo-local and psychographics targeting – to lure the ideal prospect – walking by a niche store front at that time. And suddenly, there it is – your brand meets your new friend. It doesn’t require the ad man’s megaphone or blatant brand awareness pushes.

    So, what do you say to the ideal captive audience? If you do your digital segmentation homework right, that’s what you’ve got – an audience who wishes to discuss it with you. Traditional advertising interrupts our consciousness to input a brand, cater to a desire or incent repurchase. It’s time to serve social media’s new phenomenon – the perfect prospect – at the perfect time – who’s ready to discover, chat with and purchase your brand.

    Have thoughts on what you read? Want discussion? Comment & connect with me!

    Jake Aull | Marketing Strategy | Social Media & SEO | Digital & Creative
    email | | @jakeaull |