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Part 2: Reach Reborn

ICYMI: Part 1 addressed the fragmentation of media, making it harder to reach audiences at scale. In the post-TV era, many more publishers are creating more content for more platforms, all of which have relatively smaller audiences. 2 + 2 used to = 4. Now 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4.

So the future is likely to be one in which brands must aggregate an ever-increasing array of niche audiences. This is easier said than done. Niche audiences on diverse platforms require different marketing creative and messaging.

That’s roughly where we left off.

The Publisher’s Challenge: Format Adaptation

Publishers face a similar challenge, but it is a simpler one. For publishers, fragmentation can be viewed through the lens of formats. The same core creative can be imagined for different formats; that is, a 22 minute TV show can be conceived of as the following:

  • 22 minute long-form show
  • 2 minute clip for mobile video
  • 30 second recap for social
  • GIFs
  • Stills
  • Etc. etc.

Publishers need creators who understand each of the relevant mediums in order to create compelling content for each format. And they must not be married to particular formats at particular moments in the creative process. For example, a great creative idea might be better suited to a gaming environment than to a long-form TV show (or vice versa), but if it comes from the mind of a TV producer who knows no other media, then a TV show it shall be.

The Advertiser’s Challenge: Formats PLUS Curation

Advertisers also face the format challenge: their content must connect with audiences on different platforms, each with their own unique formats.

But advertisers also face a curatorial challenge. Not only must advertisers produce multi-format content and campaigns, they must curate an ever-expanding universe of properties within which to feature their content. For example, imagine a situation in which the right editorial properties combined with the right mobile game and the right YouTube channels make for a successful campaign that reaches the target audience at scale. But now imagine that a poorly curated selection of properties means that the campaign, no matter how bold, falls on deaf ears.

This has always been the case in media; I am simply claiming that fragmentation has exacerbated this challenge. It’s not simply about picking the right demographics. Media buyers have done that for years. The scale of fragmentation we’re seeing today means thinking about much deeper preferences, tastes and psychographics that fit with a certain creative.

Advertisers will need to develop new curatorial abilities to cope. And these abilities will come from two sources: human experts and data. Regardless of the mix one chooses, I’m fairly certain that professionals at every stage of the value chain from creators to media buyers will need to at least have access to effective curators.