We are living in a fast-paced digital world that is constantly changing our habits and the way we interact with each other. More than ever consumers rely on mobile devices to do most of their daily tasks: from checking transport time schedules, and shopping to interacting via numerous social media platforms. This developing pattern poses a challenge to agencies in the marketing and advertising sectors, as they are challenged to adapt their strategies and tactics to fit these new behaviours and demands from consumers who spend most of their time connected to the internet.

We spend countless hours scrolling through screens – since 2013 adult (18+) users in the UK doubled the hours spent per day on mobile devices, with this number set to increase by 8.1% this year. The new online TV players such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple TV also contributes to a growing digital TV market, which contrasts with the estimated decrease in views of traditional live television.

With 82% of the UK population being active internet users – online is undoubtedly THE platform for brands to target their consumers through advertising. However, with content becoming more disposable, and viral trends such as the mannequin challenge, the Harlem shake or memes coming and going at lightning speed, marketers and advertisers need to make sure they join the conversation at the right time and present innovative content capable of engaging a demanding audience. This rapidly changing environment forces brands to step up their game and work in close collaboration with advertisers and marketers to engage with consumers at the right time, in the right way creating brand loyalty.

Brands are heavily investing in online advertising, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are always producing the right content to attract current or potential clients. Online represents 58% of the total media ad spending in the UK this year, which means consumers are inundated by the barrage of information, rejecting pop-up and banner ads that they find irrelevant. In 2017, nearly 15 million people will have an ad blocking adopter installed on their mobile devices to avoid being flooded with intrusive advertising. This number clearly shows their disapproval and willingness to avoid unsophisticated adverts that no longer meet their expectations.

The main question is, how can brands stand out from the crowd and make consumers interested and engaged in such a busy market? Part of the answer certainly lies in the quality of the content but it is also the way it is presented and its appeal to the target audience. The latest Publicitas research shows there is a growing need to develop and present solutions that are capable of engaging emotionally with consumers to drive purchase consideration; the study shows that more than 65% of consumers who saw an interactive ad are more likely to consider a brand to be “very different”, with more than 32% revealing that they would consider a purchase. It is then crucial for marketers and advertisers to understand how consumers develop their perception of brands, especially when it comes to younger, challenging audiences such as millennials who will ultimately shape the world in the years to come. Well-known for its digital savviness - topping the charts of internet consumption - millennials want to be engaged and want brands to positively surprise them. Rather than receiving simple one-way messages with intrusive content, millennials are interested in being truly connected with the brand and be attracted by meaningful content.

In 2015 millennials’ purchase power was estimated to be over $1.6 trillion; that’s why companies have been putting their advertising efforts in targeting this particular group.  Brands like Airbnb with their community feel and social media savviness or Dominos allowing customers to use the popular emojis to order their products, are good examples of companies that understood millennials’ language and captured their attention. And with the annual turnover of $1.7 billion for the former and $819.4 million for the latter, it is clear as day that their approach is working. Listening to and learning about your audience, responding to their needs, and leading the discussion reflecting their world view will help you to define your brand as an influencer, and create loyal following amongst consumers. When eMarketer asked millennials how they show their loyalty to brands, 72% responded with ‘buying more products and services’. Furthermore, they are also bringing new customers, with 63% revealing that to show they are a brand advocate, they would recommend the brand to their peers.

In this day and age it’s not an easy feat for brands to be seen as relevant and influential. Consumers have the world literally at their fingertips, and information is only a click away. In this crowded market, the ‘quality over quantity’ approach has never rung more true; consumers want brands to engage with them differently, showing that they understand what makes that specific group tick, and use bespoke, intelligent and engaging content presented in a new and innovative way to do so. Marketers and advertisers need to step up their game, and take consumers on a digital journey that will drive brand consideration, engagement and ultimately loyalty, triggering purchasing behaviours.


By Mike Jeanes, global head of insight at Publicitas

GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/

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