As consumers become immersed in online and mobile platforms, advertising expenditure is shifting from traditional to digital mediums at a rapid pace. According to a PwC report published in August, digital advertising is experiencing a 25 percent year-on-year growth. Looking to the future, PwC predicts that this trend will continue, and by 2020, account for 50 percent of the Australia advertising market.
While these statistics focus on advertising, their significance for the communications sector should not be underestimated. They provide a snapshot of a trend that has a long history of influencing communications, and given PwC’s statistics, will continue to have broad implications.
As digital dominates the communications industry, there is an increasing need for organisations to embrace new and growing technologies, or get left behind. The rapidly evolving environment requires innovation, and a willingness to rethink business models to capitalise on digital opportunities. PwC highlights interactive games as an opportunity, which has seen a spike in consumer interest and spending over recent years. A large contributor to this spike is the launch of virtual and augmented reality devices, which if adopted, allow for direct immersion between stakeholders and brands. As with many new technologies, the equipment required for this experience is cumbersome, but worthwhile. Many of the first-movers who are engaging with virtual and augmented reality have experienced major boosts in stakeholder sentiment, among other outcomes such as increased sales and visibility.
Of course, traditional mediums such as television advertising and billboards still have their place, and should still play a part in supporting multi-channel communication approaches. Advertising spend on traditional mediums has grown too, only their growth has been moderate, and predictions for their use in the future is not promising. If communications professionals are to heed this warning and digitalise their approach, they must look beyond simply transferring traditional approaches to digital platforms. It is one thing to publish a media kit online, but it is another to include interactive infographics and games. Digital platforms offer unique functional and creative opportunities with potential to heighten engagement, if used strategically. A commonly cited example is social media, which in today’s communication environment is an essential for communicating with online communities and creating brand exposure.
While thriving during the digital age does not mean traditional mediums should be forgotten, it does involve a willingness to take on new and growing technologies and to capitalise on the unique opportunities they present. As digital continues to dominate the communications industry, it’s time to dominate digital.