Posts Tagged ‘ video ’

Best Uses for Flash (not Gordon)

It’s been impossible to miss the storm of controversy in the tech field over Adobe Flash. By blocking Flash content on the iPhone and iPad, Apple has single-handedly inspired clients and advertisers alike to shy away from an industry standard. Under the barrage of ad campaigns and open letters, it’s easy for a marketer or advertising executive to be left wondering which way to turn, especially when so much of the debate is dominated by developers throwing around highly technical jargon. Ultimately, that decision should come from a thorough analysis of what you’re trying to accomplish and who your audience really is.

When marketers refer to using Flash, they are frequently thinking of it as a video compressor, and this is where some of the most vocal opposition to Flash comes from. The complaint is primarily poor performance in regards to CPU usage, but how accurate is that complaint? Flash performance is based on the plugin’s ability to access hardware acceleration, and Apple is not giving Adobe access to the tools they need to reduce the load.  It’s not difficult to conclude that Apple’s block is more about pushing mobile users to buy videos at their store than it is about doing them a service by blocking video readily available for streaming all over the Internet, but the bottom line is the iPhone won’t use it anytime soon. Is the alternative Apple offers in HTML5 a viable option?

According to YouTube software engineer John Harding, the answer is no. HTML5 falls short in dynamic quality control, buffering, the ability to play full-screen and as uncompiled code and suffers from the ultimate shortcoming: no protection for copyrighted material. It’s also far from being an industry standard. HTML5 has yet to adopt a standard video format, and browser inconsistencies will continue to plague HTML5 for years to come.  Video is not its only downfall either. The “canvas element” for HTML5 has been prematurely lauded as a rival to the interactive aspect of Flash. Since current experiments are crude, only sophisticated browsers support it, and few knowledgeable Flash developers would be willing to give up the wide scope of what they can already accomplish to learn it anytime soon. Flash is by nature a compiled application, something Flash game developers rely on to keep their work protected. HTML5 for games would not only require an excessively lengthy amount of coding to do the same job, it would expose it to the world.

There are alternatives to Flash that can accomplish some of the same purposes with fewer drawbacks and higher cross-platform compatibility. JQuery is quickly becoming a replacement for Flash slideshows because it is commonly supported and does the same job – a simple web effect that can take longer to replicate with Flash in terms of load time and future adjustments. Very few websites are built entirely in Flash anymore and shouldn’t be, not only because of compatibility issues and the time it takes to edit, but also because nothing beats the ease of establishing good relationships with search engines like text that lives outside of a compiled application.

Flash continues to have no reliable competition when it comes to interactive games, activities and animation, as the protection it offers and the breadth of its capabilities have yet to find an equal. Offering this kind of rich media should be something your website does as an enticement to engage, but it should not be a cornerstone of your content. This way, search engines and visitors averse to plugins will still find plenty to explore. Javascript is readily available for your developer to include, and will show alternative content should your visitor arrive without the plugin installed. But what about all of the buzz around mobile devices? Who knows who might be looking at your website and what their capabilities are…shouldn’t you leave Flash out of the mix completely just to be safe?

It’s important to keep your audience in perspective. For the average website, between 75 and 85 percent of visitors are on a PC using Internet Explorer, and in spite of the hype, those visiting on a cell phone or iPad will be less than 1 percent. Consider this: are your friends with iPhones using them to browse business websites or do you more frequently see them using applications developed specifically for their device? While the number of users visiting websites on mobile devices will surely rise, analytic trends from the last five years show that these numbers have hardly budged up to this very week, and any change is likely to be slower than you might think.

Although the direction of Internet development is always bright and exciting, it’s also certain to be a vast hodgepodge of alternate technologies, for nothing in the world of competing browsers has ever been consistent. Keeping a close eye on your analytics will guide the Internet developer to the right tool for the right job, and Flash will continue to be one of those tools for the foreseeable future.

Satisfy Your Media Craving—pepper the proper landscape to taste

The way a potential target consumes media changes with the landscape. Due to this ever-changing fact, new and emerging media must be considered, along with traditional media of course, when planning media buys.  These new mediums include online buys, Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts, seeded blogs, video, gaming, mobile text campaigns, experiential (which is a media category of its own) and many others (being created as you read this).

As an advertising agency, it is vital that we communicate the importance of understanding how messages can be integrated within these new—virtual and actual—areas. However one must carefully consider the product and service type, along with the target’s demographics and lifestyle habits to ensure the “right fit” media strategy and placement. Almost every group is becoming a more mobile consumer, so it is essential to consider where, when and how fast they expect and/or would be most receptive to receiving marketing messages.

The keys to help in media planning are still fairly traditional:

  • Define the target demographic
  • Know the product or service
  • Know the client (target)

Define the Target Demographic:

The better one can define their target audience, the more effective a media buy can be.  It is becoming necessary to look closer—explore psychographic information of the potential consumer as well as the more general demographics such as age, gender and geographic area.  You need to know what they like to do; if they are soccer moms or people who have pets or if they are retired, and customize both the message and the media to reach them.

Know the Product or Service Point of Different:

It is probably obvious that certain products and services are a better fit for some of the new and emerging media options available, while others have a higher success rate on their tried and true traditional formats.  For example, if you are trying to reach a younger demo, a mobile text messaging campaign may work extremely well; but to reach an older, more conservative demo, banner ads targeted by geography and content might be a better fit.

Know the client (target):

Keep in mind, for every rule, there is an exception. Just as with the target market, their will be advertisers willing to try something new and are open to putting their messages in new places; while others will be more cautious when considering venturing into new mediums and strategies before they see that it has worked for others. In advertising, it is as important to do the research, as it is to be the first. Some might say it’s a gamble, other’s argue “calculated risk” is a winning equation that should be incorporated into every media strategy and plan. As advertisers, both sound research and trail blazing get our vote. Further, it’s important to inquire regarding your feeling, as well as the beliefs of any agency partners you currently use or would consider. Media is as important as the message. A great message delivered to the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong place is just, well…wrong.

It is essential for any agency offering media planning, buying and placing to be knowledgeable about all mediums, not just the ones their current clients use. Further, they should inform and educate the client and all team members (account services and creative) of what’s going on in the ever-changing media landscape. As an advertising agency with clients that run the gamut, we have the good fortune to keep up with all the new and emerging media. We have a living library of emerging media stories that assist all clients with options and ideas of how to get their message out. We’ve found that all our clients, even the more traditional ones, truly appreciate the latest and greatest media trends, even if they don’t end up on their strategy-driven plan.

EVOK…an inside look

Evok Advertising, the E! True Hollywood Story from Brook Pifer RockstarPhotographer on Vimeo.