Digital Media is all around us. It has given us new tools, changed the way we tell stories, and it has become an essential part of our lives. This guide maps the past, present and future of the Digital Media Industry from 3 perspectives: what it can offer to the client, how it influences the user, and what business opportunities it creates.
Digital Media in the past was not integrated with the other
mediums. It was a stand-alone medium where the communication was one-way. Before the Internet, there was no dialogue
between the client and the user. Clients would send out a
message and the user received it.
Traditional broadcasted media was very limited in terms of measuring its effectiveness. Before the social community boom, there were not many ways to collect data. Targeting an audience was limited to the geographic locations where the media was broadcasted and was only measured by revenue.
The Key to Success
The most successful agencies were those unafraid to try to embrace new technologies. They dared to experiment with new ways to reach an audience. Product and innovation-based thinking has become essential to stay ahead of the competition.
“Even babies are texting now”
- Jeena van der Heul, JWT Amsterdam
Consumers getting smart
Consumers have now become smarter than the brands. With
Digital Media information everywhere, it is no longer possible for companies to only talk about their products. This creates a
challenge for Digital Agencies, but also gives them inspiration.
What we see in the present is the “fight” between the analogue and digital world. Many leading advertising agencies have a difficult time drawing their clients into the digital world. This especially concerns big companies run by older generations who are stuck in the past.
The fight between
analogue and digital
At the same time clients are more
willing to adapt and suggest digital methods of advertising/innovation. This is because Digital Media is everywhere. To quote one of our contacts at a creative agency:
Data is everywhere. It has always been a part of our lives, but only now are we able to process data in real time. It can be used to
improve our lives in ways we never thought possible. Although some have a negative attitude towards the use of data. They are worried about their privacy being affected by it.
Creative storytelling is now seen as more important than product innovations and technology. Stories make your brand unique and interesting in a way technology never could. It’s changing faster day by day and can be easily duplicated by competitors. In the end, digital media is just a tool to tell your stories in a better, more engaging way.
Live and breathe digital
Digital Media is becoming a natural part of our lives as breathing is. All the data that you require will be in the cloud allowing you access to everything, from anywhere, at any time, from your fingertips.
Digital or Die
How businesses use digital media to connect with consumers is more crucial now than ever. This means that agencies will have to convert the majority of their communications to digital formats to face their competition and to reach the users they need. Balancing communications and keeping a consistent message through all digital channels will be the key to win the market. The ones who fail to keep up with the change will phase out.
The users will be even smarter, more dynamic, and more demanding. That’s why stories become even more important. Digital Media will be used as a tool to entertain users by telling better stories. Its role will be to create emotional bridges between the client and the users.
When we started to go online...
Finding creative agencies was hard and mostly based on recommendations and private
connections. Communication with users was strictly one-way: companies reached them through web pages and email newsletters. Consumers didn’t have an opportunity to respond.
Why Digital Media?
The knowledge of digital media was low. Clients had an analogue mindset as possibilities were yet to be discovered and shown. Based on the idea of one-way communication, the creative process focused on the clients thoughts and expectations rather than on users needs.
The gap of digital media understanding between clients and creative agencies made cooperation more difficult, while work flow was inefficient. When social media emerged, a majority of companies failed to see the importance of interaction and continued to market themselves through websites. However, private users paid more and more attention to social media.
It started with small data
Digital data has been collected since the 1980’s. However, the control of the data was in the hands of the consumers. The data collected back then was limited to what could be provided by voluntary surveys, leaving vast areas of information to remain unknown.
Connect with the crowd
Today companies use digital media as a tool to market themselves. By communication through social media, companies receive direct and easily accessible responses from their audience. When clients choose an
agency, they emphasize three major factors that are crucial for their decision: trust, brand awareness, and to find their perfect match by sending out briefs and choosing the most suitable solution offered.
Know your user
Today user data such as location, zip codes, languages, habits, and relations is collected automatically through different devices and websites. This indicates that the control over data has been moved to the businesses collecting it. At the same time, many companies still do not see the value data brings and therefore do not use it to its full potential.
Adapt or lose
Companies realize the importance of digital media. They see the need to adapt to new technology and to stay constantly updated on where their users are through relevant communication and constantly emerging relations. There is a new standard where companies that fail to do so will fall behind.
It's all about the stories
In the future, companies will switch to a 2-way communication with the user and move away from static, non-responsive web-pages. The stories will become more important. The brands will need to integrate their messages into the lives of consumers through different digital channels. Face-to-face interaction with the users will become more rare. At the same time, consumer feedback will be fully considered and continuously used by companies to improve their brand.
Companies will see the use of digital media as a necessary key to success. They will realize the importance of creating a coherent brand message through multiple platforms and provide a unique user experience across all media. Big companies will hire digital professionals and therefore merge with the digital business, offering more and more career opportunities for digital creatives.
or go home
The History of Media
The history of Media is one about communication.
It stems from the human need of continuously faster communication to a constantly growing audience. The history of media can be marked by 5 major turning points:
1450 - Invention of the Printing Press (Johannes Gutenberg)
1876 - Invention of the Telephone (Alexander Graham Bell)
19th Century - Rise of recorded media such as Photographs,
Records and Video.
20th Century - Rise of broadcasted media such as Radio and Television.
1960 - The birth of the Internet
“It’s all about communication.”
Communication was a one-way street in the past. With the creation of the Internet, consumers have been given the ability to express themselves and respond to a larger audience than ever before.
The world wide web was born in 1989, and since then human communication has, for the first time, become global, constant, instantaneous, and lies completely in the hands of the user.
People today have a good idea about what digital media is. Today they generally understand the value that Digital Media has and provides, and are aware of the positive impacts it has on their quality of life. It is perceived as digital information, binary code, products, services, communities,
platforms, and a way to connect. However, awareness tends to be higher among younger generations. This online generation is completely immersed in digital media. We are citizens of the global empire called the Internet.
Work mostly. Also life. Everyday.
People use digital services for communication, entertainment, news, banking, education, work, and play, and they do it on a daily basis. It has become an essential part of everyday life.
The most commonly used services and platforms on a global scale are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg and LinkedIn; there is no shortage of applications and services.
Is this constant connection getting out of control (could there be negative consequences of being constantly connected)?
Some have already started using social media platforms less and are more aware of their presence online, in light of recent data mining scandals. Some are concerned about their privacy online, while to others it is of less importance.
Everyone is aware of the fact that they are sharing information that might be used for or against them.
"I can't live without my phone."
Those who claim their use of digital media has not increased in the last few years will admit that their use is now more efficient than it was before. There's a reason for the expression above.
Are people keeping up?
Content is king
Research shows that you have no more than ten seconds to grab a consumer's attention before interest is lost. If you want something to become viral you need at least one of the following 3 things: a taste-maker, or a person who has many followers; you need participation: communities where people share content with each other; as well as unexpectedness: you need an element of surprise.
The Power of Digital Media
Users tend to believe that Digital Media gives them more power to influence social and political change than they ever had before. There is a sense that social media will possibly affect social behavior negatively by causing users to value human interaction
less, and political progress positively by providing a level of transparency that will hold governments more accountable for their actions far from home. Of course there is a wide range of how drastic the users think the social and political change will be.
"If you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet."
- Wael Ghonim
People are no longer asking for faster horses. Instead, they want their T-Ford now and expect it to perform like a Ferrari.
Consumers expect personalized experiences to meet their individual needs faster than ever. The first experiments with personalized content have already begun. Editorial decisions are being made by computer algorithms that remember your preferred content which means that your experience could be very different from that of your neighbor.
Users have begun to feel like Digital Media has reduced human interactions in social situations. It has become normal to have a conversation with another person without ever looking away from their smartphone and, for this reason, digital communication in the future is expected to become more streamlined and gracefully integrated into our daily lives until it becomes as intuitive and effortless as starting a conversation face-to-face.