Month: September 2015

Week 9 Reflection: The Future of Digital Advertising

I have admittedly been waiting for Week 9 of this course since I read the syllabus. Advertising is not only the specialization that I chose for the Communications@Syracuse program, but it’s also what I do on a daily basis, and what I hope to continue to do for the foreseeable future. I love having the ability to analyze data to help make decisions, and use those decisions to help drive overall marketing strategy. But advertising in the digital age isn’t easy. Everybody is trying to think of the next big thing and there’s constant competition in trying to reinvent the wheel. When I think about the future of advertising, two different ideas stick out in my mind, and that is the concept of real-time advertising, as well as interactive advertising.

We talked during our class session about the now-famous Oreo Twitter ad from Super Bowl XLVII. While the direct correlation between Oreo and football is relatively nonexistent, the brand capitalized on a major opportunity in real-time marketing. During one of the most watched events of the year in the United States, Oreo was able to produce a digital ad in just minutes. Not surprisingly, in went viral in even less time. It’s a great ad because it’s relatable, but it’s an even greater ad because of the flawless, quick execution behind it. Since then, all major events are now closely monitored by brands and agencies in an effort to capitalize on a real-time opportunity to market – a trend that I expect will only continue.

When we think about interactive ads, we probably immediately think about clickable banner ads. Some of them are very simple: they have a CTA (Call To Action) and have you click the ad to link out to a landing page. It may not seem to be interactive by definition, but in order for it to be effective, a user needs to click (or interact) with the ad itself. Hence, maybe it is interactive after all. The really interesting trend that I have seen with advertising, and this is across all platforms – TV, radio, digital, etc. – is the idea of using hashtags. Brands are wisely promoting their ad campaigns with hashtags in an effort to not only allow consumers to interact with each other and with the brand itself, but also to show ROI in a secondary way other than dollars and cents (which usually comes from interacting with the ad and potentially purchasing that product or service). Hashtags are easy, relatable, and can be extremely effective if utilized in the right way.


Week 8 Reflection: Imagining 9/11 with Citizen Journalism

Today is always a tough day for me. My dad worked at the World Trade Center for years and, living in New Jersey, I vividly remember classmates and friends being pulled out of school on September 11, 2001. Fourteen years later to the day, it’s still surreal to me.

Having said that, this week’s course material made specific mention of 9/11, and how that infamous day may have helped people to realize the potential of the Internet. “Smart phones, social media, mobile apps were all discovered because someone wanted to fill a need” and maybe 9/11 just emphasized that need.

We talked a lot about citizen journalism and the impact it can have, but just think about how different it would be if 9/11 happened today. Prominent digital communication platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, would be abuzz. The potential lack of reliability of citizen journalism would have only complicated an already hectic occasion, but the positives outweigh the negatives. The ability to reach a large audience in an almost instantaneous fashion is something that would have been idea at a time when communication was difficult. Live updates could have been useful not only to the nation, who was trying to learn and grasp what was going on, but to those families and friends that were trying to contact loved ones. Social media would have saved a lot of people a lot of long, sleepless nights, and it would have been able to provide real, live, personal storytelling to take place on a truly infamous day. As difficult as it is for me to think about 9/11 as anything other than a day that my day luckily didn’t go to work, the thought about what America would be like if a national tragedy were to terrorize this country today, it’s refreshing to know that the digital technologies and communication tools that we have in place today would only help.

Week 7 Reflection: Are You Annoyed Yet?

Privacy on the Internet is a funny thing; users want to have it, but they also want to be able to have an enjoyable, customizable experience. There is undoubtedly a happy balance between privacy and customization, but that balance is completely dependent on who you ask. As I was viewing my classmates’ opinions on the privacy vs. customization debate, I saw a lot of references to banner ads, specifically the creepy ones that know your every movement on the Internet and advertise a product or service that you were probably just looking at. I know these ads well considering that I work with them on a daily basis.

I’m not completely defensive of these ads – they annoy me sometimes too – but I also think they very much add to our experience as an Internet user. Everyone uses the Internet in their own way, but I think it’s fair to say that each user customizes their online habits in different ways. But isn’t that why we use the Internet to begin with? Because we, as users, all want access to certain information and platforms and have an easy way to do it? And that’s where the whole banner ad thing really gets me. Sure, ads in general are annoying. But whether you like it or not, with the commercialization of the Internet and digital technologies in general, you know that advertisements are going to be plentiful. So wouldn’t you rather have those ads be targeted to good or services that you might actually be interested in, rather than something completely random?

Or better yet, is it entirely possible that the only reason these ads are “annoying” is because they catch your eye, because they are something that you might actually be interested?