The Benefits Of Divided Attention; TikTok Hits Its Stride

Check Your Priors

Advertisers usually look for in-market or interested customers – but sometimes people need a push, not just a nudge. 

Two psychology studies identify tactics that could work for particular goals or advertisers, writes Marketing Week

In one study, Stanford researchers gave homeowners a lesson on driver safety and asked them to put up a large “Drive Safely” sign in their yard. Only 17% agreed. But if asked to display a small window decal, virtually everyone was cool with it. Two weeks later, the team asked participants to replace the decal with a yard sign, and three-quarters agreed. 

The lesson? A little patience earned 60 points in compliance. The message is that people can be shifted in small ways more effectively than via one big ask – like an inflexible subscription paywall, for instance. A better move would be to incrementally collect data and opt-ins over time. 

The other finding, though, is counterintuitive. Advertisers target people when they’re tuned in, like watching sports or their favorite news or TV shows. But according to a second Stanford psychology study, people will change their minds or behavior when their attention is diverted. 

Political advertisers, for example, or a brand making a persuasion pitch may be better off targeting distracted audiences. That, apparently, is when they’re more open to new ideas and less subject to preexisting confirmation bias. The takeaway? Target people when they’re not paying attention.

Time For TikTok

TikTok has rapidly matured into one of the top scaled online ad platforms. 

A year ago, brands were wary of TikTok, which was under fire by the Trump administration due to its Chinese ownership and under pressure to spin out its US business to a new buyer. (Walmart and Microsoft were short-lived options.) But with that drama in the rearview mirror, TikTok has taken off.

TikTok has huge user and attention numbers, but its edge as a marketing vehicle compared to platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and even Instagram is the unique attitude of its audience: upbeat, young and, above all, in a shopping mode. 

“We continuously find that what certain TikTok creators wear, American Eagle sells,” the brand’s CMO, Craig Brommers, told The New York Times

“TikTok is absolutely about a mindset more than anything,” said Christine White, Ulta Beauty’s senior director of media and content. “People are going there for lots of different reasons – they’re looking to connect, they’re looking to laugh, they’re looking to find feel-good stories and they’re looking, inadvertently, to shop, whether they know it consciously or not.”


BET, the ViacomCBS-owned black entertainment TV network, has taken its first steps into the ad-supported streaming world, Digiday reports.

In 2019, BET rolled out BET+, its subscription-based service. But now that the streaming landscape is inundated with other pluses, some viewers are trying to cut costs by switching over to ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) platforms instead. A recent TVision report says AVOD’s total share of viewership increased by 9.3% between Q1 and Q3 of 2021, while subscription-based viewing decreased by 8.6%.

To meet that demand, BET Networks CEO Scott Mills says BET+ is adding to its offering pool (or, well, stream) in 2022 – and that includes trying out an ad-supported tier. This approach will give the network some wiggle room for trial and error so it can determine how audiences respond to different pricing models compared with the demand for ad-free content.

BET+ is also planning a subscription bundle with Paramount+, its sister streamer.

But Wait, There’s More!

How the copycats came for Clubhouse. [NYT]

Taboola teams with Microsoft to launch an audience network. [Axios]

How to create an influencer media kit to get brand deals. [Insider]

Happy deal? McDonald’s is selling ad tech and analytics startup Dynamic Yield to Mastercard. [CNBC]

Audax Private Equity acquires a majority stake in B2B marketing platform Integrate. [release]

You’re Hired!

Carat promotes Mark Jones to US client president. [MediaPost]

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