Pakistan’s biggest rock band reunited for a national tour for the first time in 13 years, earlier in 2019. The sponsor put a lot of promotional muscle behind it, but both online and off, the concerts just didn’t deliver. The concert in Karachi just couldn’t sell enough physical tickets and online, it garnered views a lot shorter than the ‘usual agency wowzer’. A month after the concert, the Sooper Junoon video had a meager 176,000 views. Three months later, this number crawled up to 386k.
386k views on the biggest rock band reunion in Pakistan since, well, never. While I’m not a big advocate of ‘views matter’, this is Junoon we’re talking about. In a culture where the public goes crazy about politics, cricket and entertainment.
The only numbers that really matter are the ones that you can track and trace to conversion. For that to happen, the online and offline have to be integrated.
Definitely not as Sooper as the brand would have hoped, but here’s a reality check: times have changed. So has the audience. As has the demographic and what influences the click behavior. Media consumption is a completely different ballgame and all things traditional are struggling to show the numbers. The Junoon reunion is such as perfect storm because it highlights the issue yesterday’s brands are having with today’s consumers on distribution channels.
Do Numbers Matter?
It really depends on who you ask. Brands want to see big numbers so they can justify the money they put in. The Marketing Agencies also want to see big numbers for the same reason. The users don’t care because if they see something they like, they will click on it. The more users who see things they like, the more they will click. The nature of web-based platforms democratizes the content it runs… until money is involved. As soon as you pump money into a blog post or video, it will get more views. So what judges the true value of the content?
As of 2019, there are an astounding 4.39 billion internet users with an active 3.4 billion users active on social media. From the 3.4 billion active users on social media, an estimated 50% are using the platforms on their mobile device. Except for parts of South Asia and Africa, every region on the planet has more than 50% of its population online. That’s a pretty sizeable audience by any standard. The top 20 websites visited in the world are categorized as social, video, search, reference or adult in nature. There is only one shopping portal. At least 3 sites that get the most traffic are in Chinese because of their massive online population that is so fiercely loyal to their services.
The only numbers that really matter are the ones that you can track and trace to conversion. For that to happen, the online and offline have to be integrated. The business needs to be more goal-oriented than ever before and the marketing and sales teams need to be updated with the technology so they can meet those goals.
Even when brands use digital marketing agencies, there is a high-level integration that takes place. There is only a finite amount that can be invested in marketing and brand managers have to be able to justify what media or campaign is bringing them the revenue. Everything has changed.
Content Consumption has Changed
While YouTube might be the reigning champion on video content, it isn’t the only place where people go to consume their videos. That’s where services come in. When an event is planned, organizers are also pitching airing and broadcast rights separately to distribution partners who will help them get more visibility. Content is a business and will generally not be commercially sustained if it is only seen on one platform.
In the case of the Sooper Junoon concert, the already existing sponsorship probably didn’t pinch a relatively lower number of views, but for anyone else, someone would have been on the answering end.
Paltry views on a YouTube aren’t exactly a precise measure of how many people have watched something. It’s even less of a measure to see how many people purchased a box of biscuits. Subscription models on global platforms already make it possible to have access to the music and it’s still easy enough to rip off any video from YouTube for personal consumption. Then why bother promoting a YouTube channel?
The User Demographic has Changed
And this is critical for content publishers. Amidst the rumors that organizers were having a tough time selling the tickets, there were many happy to freeload. But the lack of sold tickets highlights an interesting demographic change. Junoon fans are the age group who may no longer enjoy the concert scene and don’t have the time for it. You can tug on their patriotism but they already have the music blasting on high quality stereo on every imaginable quality speaker.
Young kids aren’t the target audience of Junoon unless they were dragged there by parents, who may not be the target demographic for the brand. And everyone wants access to streaming content on their own devices with their own preferences. and playlists.
In the middle of September 2019, Sooper announced a whole new marketing strategy where they are going back to traditional. Tugging on memories and recreating the past where snacks brought families together – hardly something any family in today’s fast-paced world has time for.
Was the Junoon concert a Sooper fail? Based purely on the numbers in the public domain, yes. From advertiser and agency perspectives, definitely. From the perspective of reminiscing a past and new-found patriotism, I’m still not so sure.