• Quality of engagement. Video remains the preferred way to deliver emotional impact and build brand equity. And thus far, only broadcast TV and cable advertising can consistently deliver high-impact campaigns to large audiences. The Internet is rapidly becoming a video medium, but it is still difficult for advertisers to achieve comparable reach online without aggregating one purchase across a number of sites — a daunting prospect for advertising media buyers. To counter the perception that the higher production values of home television make brands look better than retail store displays ever could, in-store video ad networks will need to develop research that demonstrates the ad recall and influence of their campaigns. They will need to show that the ads have an impact on consumers; that they are complementary to ads running on traditional broadcast and cable TV; and that they can represent an essential part of an integrated campaign.
And the potential for customer appreciation is also high. For example, in complex categories, such as digital cameras or lawn and garden pest control products, consumers often walk away from the shelves confused, without making a purchase. In-store video can help, providing in-depth information and education, reinforcing brand awareness and preference, and helping marketers learn what consumers are looking for.
To be sure, consumer products companies, their agencies, and their media partners have not yet fully adapted the techniques they need to produce ads for this new environment. When online advertising took off, a set of new ways to create, package, and buy ads rapidly emerged. In-store video advertising has yet to undergo such a transition. It relies heavily on the traditional practices of mass-market television. For example, the average consumer watches only about one minute of programming per store visit and catches less than 10 seconds of the average video segment before walking past. But the industry continues to produce the traditional 30-second spot. In-store video advertising networks and their content partners will need to invest in higher-quality creative work that is customized to this environment.
Other forms of in-store advertising could become as targeted and relevant as the ads that appear today next to Internet search results, calibrated to match the subject of the search. MediaCart, for example, has designed shopping carts, in conjunction with Microsoft and Wakefern, that take in consumer data when shoppers scan their loyalty cards into handheld scanners in Wakefern’s ShopRite stores. If customers have previously made a shopping list online and linked it to the loyalty card, the cart can help them find those items more easily. It can also inform them when items they have bought in the past are on sale. Advertisers can analyze ad performance data and make special offers that apply directly to particular consumers. The carts also feature automated shopping lists linked to maps of the store aisles, recipe and health information, and electronic coupons.
Other interactive systems will link promotional displays and kiosks to consumers’ mobile phones. People interested in learning more about a product could text for additional information, or opt to have offers “pushed” to their handheld devices. Information on a product might show up on the phone when a consumer moves past a “smart” display. Much of this information will be sent only with consumers’ permission, after they request information from a kiosk or sign up for a mobile service offered as part of a shopper loyalty program.