Whether you like it or not we are living in a world where instant gratification from contemporary media comes as a second nature. So when AC Neilson’s data revealed 1 in 4 Australian’s browse the internet while watching TV there was no revelation. As a matter of fact, I’m doing this exact thing as I type my blog. In light of this information it got me thinking what ARE Australians doing whilst browsing and is there a way to monitor this?
Using social media to measure the amount of people who are engaging with content is a good place to start. One particular idea which links appropriately to this question is marketing or ‘brand deals’ that come with being a well-known Youtuber, Instagramer or blogger. For example, companies will use Youtube celebrities to promote their products to a broad online audience. Try Zoe Sugg (Zoella) for instance, with 7.2m YouTube subscribers, 3.8m Instagram followers and 2.9m Twitter followers you’d be forgiven for thinking a Youtuber’s media platform would be the perfect marketing tool. However, despite Youtuber’s claiming their ‘sincere’ love for the product this is hardly a reflection of the product’s true nature. In simple terms, content is edited to allow product placement and in turn sway our opinions on different brands. As Kim Kardashian told Piers Morgan about her family’s reality TV show back in 2011: “From the start, they’ve always said we have, you know, the right to edit and to approve all footage.” The real question is whether or not audiences are buying the products or are they just watching the content?
In fact, recent data by the Global Web Index, the world’s largest market research study on the digital consumer, revealed ‘while some prominent vloggers attract larger and more engaged audiences than celebrities do, they are still “a minor force” when it comes to successful advertising’.
So when does this type of media use go from entertainment to exploitation? A ‘vlogger’ exposes their lives to the internet in the form of video. Whilst we as audience members watch, consume and respond at the expense of those people before the lens. This could be determined in this same way as the idea of whether or not we are engaged with the TV or we just have it on for background noise. The main issue is whether or not we are engaging with the content entirely. The question I posed at the beginning of this blog is how do we monitor this? I believe social media platforms and forums such as Twitter feeds and Facebook would be the most affective way to see how engaged audiences are with the media content because of the way the content is edited for marketing purposes. If we see the engagement of viewers through social media perhaps this is how ethnographic research can work to monitor contemporary media in our homes.
Find out more about the future of video marketing via this article.