Our marketing team recently attended HubSpot’s Inbound 2016 conference in Boston, where we soaked up wisdom from the sharpest and most forward-thinking minds in sales, marketing, and digital.
One of my favorite sessions was “Content Marketing 2020: Hyper Personalization of Content,” presented by Yaron Galai, Co-Founder & CEO of OutBrain. Galai discussed the evolution of content distribution, the rise of chatbot technology, and the movement toward interactive, immersive, highly personalized content consumption experiences.
“Content will increasingly and seamlessly surround us," Galai said. "There will be a seamless experience of the content that is most appealing and personalized to us, across any device we touch or interact with, in any environment or setting.”
Chatbots or no chatbots, Galai’s talk highlighted a couple major shifts in the way media and advertising are being consumed. In an increasingly connected and data-driven world, consumers value—and even demand—content and ads that are:
Hyper-personalized and highly relevant
As consumers, we share information about our habits, preferences, and demographics all the time through our digital activity. When we download an app, search the web, fill out an online profile, visit a website, follow a brand on social media, engage with a post, or shop online, we’re offering up insights into who we are and what we care about.
While that may seem a little sketchy at first, it actually benefits us as consumers. Publishers and brands can use this data to serve us stories, special offers, and ads that are highly relevant and useful to us. As tracking technologies, targeting capabilities, and behavior-based recommendation algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, the messages we receive will only become more and more aligned with what we actually want to see.
Consumers prefer this type of precise targeting and have even come to expect it as it’s grown more commonplace. In fact, studies show that not only are consumers more likely to ignore advertising that is not tailored to their unique tastes and interests, they’re actually put off by irrelevant ads.
“The Janrain and Blue Research shows that nine in 10 respondents have developed an unfavorable attitude to the company or taken some kind of action to limit the messaging in response to a company that consistently mis-targeted them in their marketing efforts,” says TheNextWeb.
Served up seamlessly
Misaligned messaging isn’t the only thing that turns consumers away. The context in which advertising is consumed also matters. Consumers are more likely to act when they receive the right message in the right place at the right time.
Today’s consumers are increasingly skeptical of—and blind to—traditional advertising. They demand more authentic and immersive experiences.
“Immersion is when you forget the message entirely, forget you are the audience even, and instead fall into a newly manufactured reality,” IAB says.
To survive in the age of ad blindness, brands and media companies are forced to get more creative and experiment with new ways to activate their audiences. Publications like The Atlantic, Slate, and The New York Times are putting native advertising and sponsored content at the forefront of their strategies. About half of Slate’s revenue comes from native. TV networks are rethinking the interruptive commercial experience. Social media platforms are developing seamless product promotion functionalities.
Galai also stressed the importance of serving content and advertising seamlessly across multiple devices, channels, and even physical environments.
The average American now owns seven devices—that’s up from four devices just two years ago—and uses an average of three devices on a daily basis. And the majority of consumers interact with multiple channels and devices before visiting a nearby store or making a purchase.
“Now more than ever, the consumer is in the driver’s seat, and multi-channel marketing responds to this by making it easier for customers to complete a conversion through whatever medium they deem most fit,” 2060 Digital puts it.
What does this mean for local media companies and their advertisers?
To drive new revenue for your local media company, you must better align your ad sales strategy with these consumer shifts. Help local businesses build a strong digital footprint to complement their traditional advertising campaigns. This way, your advertisers can reach highly relevant audiences across multiple touch points in a noisy cross-platform landscape where attention is precious and messages are easily missed.
Download our free guide, The State of Local Advertising: A Mix of Print + Digital, to help your advertisers succeed in 2017 »