Why Marketing for the Year In Which We Actually Live Is a Game Changer

Your message must meet consumers on mobile with video

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There's a discussion I want to have with the entire marketing world. Agencies, clients, everyone.

This discussion is too important to leave anyone out of it. What I want to talk about is this: following consumer attention and where it is right now. It might seem like a no-brainer. You might be thinking that consumer attention is all any marketer thinks about, day in and day out.

Gary Vaynerchuk Illustration: Alex Fine

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be that way to me. Why? Because nobody seems to be actually paying attention to where the consumers are going. It's time to market in the year we actually live in.

It baffles me that so much money is still spent on forms of advertising that are not beneficial to the consumer, nor where the current consumer attention is. Preroll ad views. Commercial breaks on streaming sites. These are the "impressions" marketers are focusing on. Why? Great marketing should feel like a renovation, not a rehash of what's been done before. For a consumer to get excited about something, to be compelled by something, it comes down to attention. Attention, not impressions. They need to really consume it. That is the game.

There are two places that companies need to focus on now to win the marketing game: mobile—and the social networks contained within it. The second is video.

Anyone who doesn't realize that the cellphone is exactly the same thing that the television was in 1965 is completely ignoring the future. When an ad comes on, when preroll shows up, people reach for their phones. As soon as the experience they were trying to have is interrupted by an invasive ad, the phone is where they turn to continue being entertained.

Plus, the phone is always there. As you read this, is your phone within five feet of you? I thought so.

Within the world of mobile, there are so many opportunities and ways to make content that can get a consumer's attention. But video is the medium with the most consumer attention at the moment. Now, that's not necessarily anything new. Video has always been the deepest way to engage an audience. The wide and fast success of television and movies shows us that. The Internet hasn't changed that at all, but it's certainly made it more apparent. And not only has it amplified the importance of video as a way to connect, but it's also put the tools to make it into the hands of so many more people.

Creating engaging content has never been easier, and the social networks that are winning big right now are winning because they have placed such an emphasis on video. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have remained strong. As they grew, they placed more and more emphasis on video content.

The next big social network? Snapchat.

One major reason Snapchat is winning, and will continue to win, is its focus on video. The storytelling capabilities around how people create content on Snapchat is fantastic. There is so much room for creativity, and it reminds me far more of a space like YouTube than Twitter.

It's also an especially interesting platform because the consumer attention it has is very deep. Snapchat hasn't quite matured or "sold out" yet, but it's boasting an enormous amount of daily active users.

As of last December, 36 percent of Americans aged 18-29 had an account, and they are now reporting 7 billion video views each day, rivaling Facebook. But while the platform is big and has lots of opportunity, it's still quite young. We are just now starting to see the first signs of Snapchat aging up. It's about to go through its first 20- to 40-year renaissance, and that is exciting. It's a huge platform, but it still has a solid 24 to 36 months ahead of it that will be of great importance.

The point is this: See where consumer attention is going and follow it. As I notice Snapchat taking off, I'm putting more and more emphasis, time and resources into it. So many marketers act like they're talking about attention, but they're not. Impressions do not equate to attention. Understand the emerging markets, understand where your consumer is, and meet them there.

Don't make them come to you—chances are they won't.


Claim to fame The lifelong dream of Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, is to someday buy the New York Jets. He will also be a keynote speaker on the second day of the ANA Masters of Media Conference in Hollywood, Fla., March 2-4.

Base New York

Twitter @garyvee

This story first appeared in the Feb. 8 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.