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This is our 12th and final post in our 2012 Marketing Challenges Series. To read the series from the beginning click here.

By 2016, Forrester predicts that online advertising spend will overtake TV. Advertisers will spend almost $77 billion online, comprising 35% of overall ad spending.

And with the next evolution of digital channels such as Microsoft’s Kinect, Apple’s iAD, and social gaming platforms such as Zygna taking the centre stage, marketers will have to try a little harder than a QR code, a mobile website, or a social media web 2.0 campaign to keep up in the digital age. The emerging media platforms are racing to amaze their customers with innovative and novel experiences. And marketing has to keep pace.

Strap yourself in, because 2012 is really a point of rapid transformation—and new emerging media opportunities will make even the most successful traditional campaigns such as the Old Spice Man look like flat, boring talking heads of the past.

Here are the challenges of emerging media flying towards us in 2012.

Emerging media looks fun . . . but can smaller brands play?
There’s no denying that emerging platforms such as the Kinect offer really, powerful ways to capture the hearts and minds of customers. The famous Chevrolet Volt campaign, for example, created a virtual test drive for their new car, allowing customers to physically explore and engage with their new product using their bodies and voice on the Kinect. A 30-second wide-angle shot of a car speeding in the desert just doesn’t compare to a car commercial you can drive yourself.

Good for Chevrolet, but can smaller budgets keep up in these emerging media channels?

An even bigger challenge is consumer expectation. Consumers want to experience new things with digital technology. Advertising has to capture attention, but our methods are slow to catch up. Is an old banner ad enough to catch the eye of your audience? Starbucks didn’t think so and went beyond the display ad, creating a user-centered experience that involved touching and personalization.

Is it all just about brand?
Or can performance marketers also see a response in emerging media?

Consider in-game advertising – the largest revenue driver for most game publishers. Interstitial video and IAB banner placements load between levels or during game play in addition to lead generation offers.

Response rates for around-game ads are generally quite low which makes them a primary vehicle for brand advertisers. At $2 CPM you can buy a lot of cheap targeted inventory but don’t expect the click through traffic to rival any of your other channels.

Yet branding, as this earlier Impact Radius Marketing Challenge post shows, does play a critical role in driving direct response. Our customers are influenced by a combination of channels and marketing events. For that reason, the challenge is for performance marketers to better test how exactly these new emerging opportunities can be added to the marketing mix.

It’s not just all fun and games
According to a recent research study by KN Dimestore and SocialVibe, 90 percent of users “pay active attention to the brand message when interacting with incentivized engagements, and brand perception rises an average of 38 percent after completing the engagement.”

Users exposed to an incentivized advertisement or video inside a social gaming environment are 161% more likely to visit the brand’s website and 36% more likely to shop for the brand at the store location after the engagement. This response rate is profound when compared to other incentivized advertising practices such as online surveys offer sites and cash-back eCommerce programs.

According to Radium One (a demand side ad platform anchored in social gaming) in-game videos have a 99% view rate when linked with a social currency. And 70% of users will conclude a full video view inside a social game with post-view interaction rate as high as 25%.

Alternatively, Kiip has introduced a players rewarding system of advertising, showing offers to players after attaining gaming milestones. By strategically timing the presentation of the offer, CEO Brian Wong claims click-through rates have reached as high as 70%! In-game social advertising is incredibly effective.

Social Games
Social gaming is proving incredibly effective for both direct response and brand marketers.


Source: Business Insider

Just as companies such as Zynga and Rovio have taken the market by storm, traditonal gaming players are taking notice. Large console game developers like Electronic Arts and Xbox are re-designing their entire publishing strategies to become more social with direct integration with Facebook, Twitter and the social graph.

The challenge? How to track and analyze response rates (conversions) from these channels? Do we need to update our analytics? It took us long enough to start measuring social media. Emerging media like social games are too important to not properly track and analyze.

Mobile — get ready to profit
A recent study showed that 75% of people would rather leave their wallet at home rather than be without their mobile phone (see our earlier post on mobile marketing). Mobile is becoming the central access point into the minds and hearts of consumers.

By the end of 2011, eMarketer predicts that mobile ad spending will reach about $1.23 billion. Impressive considering that marketers only spent $777 million on mobile in 2010.
Headed our way: break-neck mobile adoption with revenues projected at about $24 billion by 2012.

There is no doubt that the revenue generated by mobile is an enormous emerging opportunity. The challenge is whether marketers are ready to properly track and optimize it.

Marketing . . .at the speed of innovation
Our technology is enabling us to do what we couldn’t do before, to experience media with a personal connection in fun and meaningful ways.

Emerging digital media is not only killing TV advertising. It is killing anything that looks, feels, or sells like traditional broadcast media. Consumers are just not going to be blown away by a digital print ad or run to YouTube to watch a funny 30-second spot. These tactics will have some success in 2012, but they are showing their age and showing that they come from a different media generation.

Your challenge for 2012 is to do an honest evaluation. Ask yourself: who is our target customer and how do they consume media? is our marketing tapping into the possibility of technology? Or are we trying to stuff old, tired sales messages into bright new experiences?

2012 isn’t just another year
We are marketers in a different world.

So what does the market want from us?

What are consumers expecting?

What can we do to amaze our audiences?

Digital marketing needs the attention of our audience—so what will we do in 2012 to earn it?

Emerging Media Solutions Coming Soon
Those are the challenges we at Impact Radius are monitoring when it comes to emerging media. Subscribe to our RSS feed and stay tuned for our solutions report designed to help you better understand emerging media as well as other digital marketing challenges predicted for 2012.

Impact Radius offers robust multi-channel reporting solutions to help you analyze the performance of your different marketing channels in an increasingly complex purchase path. If you just want some free advice, message us on Twitter or drop us a note at

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