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'Fat thumbs' do not mean blind eyes

05-12-2017 | Redacción CEU

They are tired! Advertising interrupts their favorite shows when they watch TV, pursues them when they try to find something on the Internet, distracts their attention when they drive on the highway, shuts the song off when they listen to music in their computer and when they use cellphones, if they find it, it is their fat thumbs fault! The more customers expose to advertising, the less interest they have on it. In the advertising overexposure era, where ads are the daily routine, it is not an easy task to attract somebody's attention. Masses have become demanding. Strategies, more complex. How to reach customers when they are not willing to listen? Is their finger clumsiness the only alternative to surprise them?


Each person gets an average of 3,000 advertising impacts per day: automatic reproduction videos, infomercials, mobile advertising, TV commercials, pop-ups, banners, billboards, flyers, discount vouchers, etc. There are many masks for only one face. The advertising quantity that one individual is subjected to along the day is overwhelming. No one is surprised by the audience not answering to conventional advertising messages as good as before, nor to the fact that adblockers have more and more downloads.

The more ads users watch, the less susceptible they are to react to them. Advertising overexposure can have an effect on messages, such as going unnoticed, they can be identified as intrusive or do not ever achieve to connect with them. Customers keep being sensitive to advertising, but they are increasingly demanding. The old formulas do not work, masses advertising lost its effectiveness some time ago. Audience needs that something else is offered to respond. Masses are now the ones who rule. Brands have to make an effort.

¿Are your thumbs fat or are screens sensitive?

The loyalty to smartphones seems unbreakable. Cellphones share any individual’s day-to-day; people wake up with their alarms, use their navigators to get to their jobs, in the office they check things and confirm appointments through them, when meeting friends cellphones accompany them, with their help they close intense debates with brothers-in-law but, they also arguee with their partners when they are dinning and keep using them. Brands are interested in knowing what consumers do with their phones throughout the day. However, users do not seem to care about what brands long for doing with them.

The 'disproportionate' loyalty to mobile phones is due to a large extent to that they are the main way to get access to the network, a great service within reach. The smartphones’ screens are smaller and more sensitive than the rest of devices. They can play a dirty trick on. Who has not pressed 'like' in a social network by mistake? The fat thumbs problem should not generate 'finger obesity' insecurity among the population. It is a much more common tumble than it seems. Many consumers click on ads unintentionally. At least, that is what the study carried out by App Annie and Button seems to confirm, since it concludes that most users are not interested in the mobile phones ads.

The lack of customers’ interest is not an exclusive surfeit symptom of the traditional media, only between 3% and 8% of smartphones’ users –depending on the age range– click on the advertisements on a regular basis. Neither millennials, nor X generation, much less boomers; mobile advertising does not attract any of them. What is the reason? What are the causes for this attractive scarcity? Has advertising lost its appeal?


'Fat thumbs' do not mean blind eyes

Who does not pay attention to who?

It might seem that consumers are no longer interested in advertising – no matter the kind of it–; what they do not like, what bothers them or bores them. Nevertheless, nowadays, in the market there are many brands that carry out very effective, profitable and successful campaigns. Their secret lies on listening and understanding. It is much more productive to approach the problem from other perspective: are masses the ones that do not listen? Are brands the ones that do not understand? Who does not pay attention to who?

Advertising is not immune from the changes in habits that occur in society. In fact, it is even more linked to them, than other areas because its fundamental objective lies on understanding what goes through the consumer minds to get to attract their attention and reach them. People have evolved, their customs are different, their interests have changed and their conception of time is different. If brands turn a blind eye to the demands and behavior of customers, they run the risk of being left behind. Connecting with masses means progressing with them.

Getting back the appeal!

Consumers are still sensitive to advertising. The problem is that, on many occasions, they interpret that this one is invasive and, therefore, they reject it. Companies are betting on attracting the audience by creating contents that can be valuable for consumers in order to fight against this negative conception. A study carried out by the Content Marketing Institute in collaboration with MarketingProfs reveals that 89% of organizations in North America are using Content Marketing and from the 11% that do not use it, 52% plan to make an effort in this direction within a year. In the design of the strategy, it is important not to leave out the quality and attractiveness of what brands tell. Issues like regularity in content upload or web positioning are important, but they must never lose sight of its main goal: content has to be valuable for masses.

The traditional advertising messages were uniform and direct. Now, they have to adapt to new times. Masses do not keep a passive attitude, they interact. They flee from conventionalism, they need to be surprised. The power that they gather is greater, technology has transformed their relationships. They demand a meticulous and personal attention, they are not the same as before. If their interest reduces, brands are not advancing at the right pace.

Marketers have realized that it is necessary to develop new strategies to counteract the advertising overexposure effects and the masses attention loss. They explore new alternatives like developing personalized attention through chatbots, getting to know their target better thanks to new methods based on Big Data, focusing on the consumer and their own experience, devising new audiovisual concepts like videos that only last a few seconds or long animations, trying to provoke feelings on consumers, recruiting influencers or taking care on the storytelling of what they tell. Creativity and innovation are key concepts to break the barriers that exist between brands and audience.

Others have opted for more short-term alternatives, but less effective in the long run, which can have serious consequences like clickbaiting, spinning, cloaking, etc. Gaining the consumers trust implies a long-term mentality. The goal is attracting, conquering and retaining them. The dangers of implementing strategies like the ones described before are high. It is also risky to expect that someone clicks on the ad because of they have 'fat thumbs'. Turning blind eyes on has never been a smart idea...