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Decoded: The True Meaning of 10 Advertising Buzz Words

By David Berry: Ad agencies and advertising people have a way of sounding really smart without saying much that could be considered substantive. I know this because a fair amount of my career was predicated on doing so.

David Berry, 2015: “What I think we’re seeing is a move toward more original, native content being distributed across channels, but in a hypertargeted way. And the superdata we have allows us to do that effectively.”

David Berry, 2015, translated: “Advertisers figured out that people want to see stuff that they like, and less stuff that they don’t like.”

The translated version is a lot easier to understand, but a lot less impressive-sounding, right? Well, here are 10 buzz words that are still being overused – and aren’t that impressive either.

1.     Data-Driven Content: Free data that’s built into Facebook and Google, etc. tell us the age groups of our audience and a little bit about what they like to look at. So if we see that they like cat memes and not dog memes, we make more cat memes.

2.     Influencer Marketing: People know that businesses want you to buy their stuff, which is why people usually tune-out the businesses. So we hire really cool people to sell our products for us, because you like them better than you like us. (Also see: Brand ambassadors)

3.     Storytelling: Storytelling. But usually about a product that’s for sale.

4.     Native Advertising: Ever seen recommended articles on Buzzfeed, but they just happen to be promoted by a brand? Native advertising. People tend to like it more than obnoxious banner ads.

5.     Hashtag Mining: Just finding out the hashtags people use most when they post stuff. Like if I post a picture of myself boxing, I would go find out that people use #boxing #mma #ufc a lot when they post pictures of boxing, too.

6.     Disruptive: This is an obnoxious way of saying ‘game changing,’ which is an obnoxious way of saying ‘nerdy stuff that might eventually catch on.’ Don’t get me wrong, disruptive technology or ideas do change the world. But most of the time you hear the word ‘disruptive’ being used to describe it, it’s not actually true.

7.     Hyperlocal: Basically, it’s advertising that’s based on where you are. The easiest way to tell that is usually through your mobile phone, and yes, brands can track your location because you willfully provide it to them. You know, so you can find a hottie within walking distance on Tinder.

8.     Integrated Marketing: This one isn’t as buzzy as it used to be, but it’s a fancy way of saying “we’re putting similar ads and information in a lot of places.” This is a good thing for advertisers and consumers. Once upon a time, there was TV, newspapers and radio. Now, there are those things plus computers, smart phones, Fitbits, running shoes, etc. That means that integrated marketing is designed to go where the people go.

9.     Millenials: Anyone younger than the advertising executive telling you about them. No hard data exists on this group, but generally speaking, Millenials are an extremely diverse group of consumers who were probably born between 1980 and the mid 1990s. Millenials are important because they were the first truly tech-savvy generation, and now they’re starting to have some real buying power. Which is why advertisers are always touting the importance of ‘capturing the millennial audience.’

10.  Clickbait: We all know what this is and unfortunately we’ve all fallen for it. The headlines that are the equivalent of a chocolate cake when you’ve been on a diet. “His girlfriend got cat-called by his best friend and you won’t believe what happens next!” 100% of the time, clickbait is designed to get you to click on something that sounds amazing and invariably is not.

Did this help you make sense of all the noise? Do you have any buzzwords that you’d add to the list? Share them below.