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Gary Vee: Underpriced attention in Asia, and where creative agencies struggle

Gary Vee: Underpriced attention in Asia, and where creative agencies struggle

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The media fragmentation has left consumers and marketers with a slew of options on what to spend on. What marketers need to do right now is identify the platforms which have ‘underpriced attention’, said VaynerMedia’s founder, Gary Vaynerchuk.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Vaynerchuk explained underpriced attention to be platforms which have a high reach, but isn’t yet fully utilised by marketers or the advertising industry. Marketers who are able to utilise underpriced attention allocate their media spend on good for value arenas.

Specific to Asia, Vaynerchuk believes that beyond influencers, social media as a channel is largely underpriced given its wide reach. This comes despite businesses in the APAC stating that they will be increasing their social media investments amid economic uncertainties. According to a study by Meltwater, on average, 34% of their total marketing budget will be invested in social media, with as many as 77% of respondents planning to increase spends or keep them intact.

Vaynerchuk says that while the cost and overall spend on social has undoubtedly increased, it is still much better than the alternatives present given its price, and because people are consuming a lot more content and social today than before.

“Of course, today, we go faster through the ads compared to 10 years ago,” he said. Vaynerchuk also deems Facebook Reels to be an area that is severely underpriced at the moment.

Interestingly, Vaynerchuk is of the view that advertising on social is way less interruptive than on other platforms, which makes it such a power tool in today’s world, that is not being maximised. “If an ad on social is done right you think you are still consuming social content, and that is a profound insight,” he said.

One area that Asian marketers are really excelling in is in influencer and KOL marketing.

“I would argue that Southeast Asia in general has a better understanding of KOL works than Africa, EMEA or even America,” he said.

But the problem in influencer marketing is that brands often rush after the same faces which then drives the price up, defeating underpriced attention.

While another area that brands are clearly spending on includes digital marketing, he says that just because brand think they are spending on digital, doesn’t mean they are doing it right because more often than not, it is outdated digital. Spending on it but failing to spend it right eventually serves no purpose, he emphasises.

“That’s like me saying – ‘I play basketball. It doesn’t mean that I’m a professional basketball player.”

The role of creative agencies in understanding underpriced attention?

Vaynerchuk is of the view that many agencies do not understand underpriced attention. Optically, he does not see social media content creation to come naturally to creative agencies today. “It is not in their DNA,” he argues.

While he believes that the craft of making long form videos and producing commercials is a creative talent, he also thinks it is far too expensive and less effective in the 2023 world.

“If big brands in Asia started to get serious about allocating more money to social media dollars to the platforms, they would find an incredible arbitrage,” he said. However, he also posed the caveat that there are no meaningful creative agencies that know how to make adequate creative content for ads that stand out in the sea of ads.

“This is where we see a juxtaposition in the ad world, where the audience first has to believe in it to know that it is true,” he said.

This then poses the question - How can social be underpriced if it is already so cluttered? Vaynerchuk thinks it is not about how much is being dedicated to social media but rather how the money is being used effectively.

He argues that when allocating money, brands are, firstly, more focused on the media as opposed to the creative. Secondly, traditional media agencies buy social media for their clients based on reach and frequency, which Vaynerchuk thinks is not the way to buy social. “They may be allocating more money to Meta or Instagram or TikTok, but if they are running just for impressions at the lowest cost and not combining the creative against it, and are not trying to win on relevance against many different consumer segmentations, they have used a fork as a knife,” he explained.

Vaynerchuk went on to add that one of the biggest reasons why social has not been taken seriously enough by best creative agencies in the world is because it is too hard to make regularly scheduled content.

“It’s a lot easier to come up with a tagline, and make a video and put it on TV. What makes social hard is the speed in which the consumer attention is evolving and the speed in which the platforms are competing with each other,” he explained.  

Related articles:
Gary Vee: 'Don't be worried about content fatigue, nobody's going to see it all'
Chan Woei Hern joins VaynerMedia as ECD in APAC
VaynerMedia moves APAC creative chief VJ Anand to EMEA role

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