A Critical Note on the Importance of Context

Things change quickly in our digital world. Last week, Twitter announced they were cutting 9% of their staff and shuttering Vine. Apparently people did not really want to actively connect with brands via six second videos on an ongoing basis.

Vine was fun. Back in its heyday, it provided a lovely form of distraction, particularly in the hands of people like Brock Davis. But any rational consideration of its context, of how and when people used the platform, would categorize Vine as something for downtime, for filling in-between moments when you simply wanted distraction.

That’s hardly an ideal platform for a sales message. And no; companies won’t provide free social media platforms if they can’t figure out how to monetize them. In every case, that requires funding from marketing dollars.

If they stopped to think about it, most advertisers would understand that people won’t find meaningful engagement with their brands in just six seconds (entertainment brands are one critical exception). A fascinating study released this Spring from Mondelez and Droga5 comparing commercial cuts of :15, :30, and 2:00 lengths found the :15 worked the least and was skipped the most.

My point isn’t to argue for longer film; it’s to emphasize the critical importance of context –in message, platform, and timing. Understanding Context, like understanding your Audience, is crucial.

Platforms may come and go—and increasingly quickly in this modern era—but the power of an amazing creative experience at the ideal time will resonate powerfully as long as there are sentient beings to feel them.



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