The evolving ad model – new opportunities for brands to get consumer attention

The evolving ad model – brands need to wake up to new opportunities to capture consumer attention

Advertising used to be based on scarcity in a world of few television channels and limited magazine pages. It was simply about broadcasting to the masses, and it was easy to know where consumer attention was focused.

Flash forward to the digital age where this mass audience now spends hours consuming media across a multitude of interactive digital outlets on the Internet, opening the door for brands to communicate with their target audience like never before the Internet allows advertisers to single out the people they want to engage and create bespoke messages to tell their story, yet brands seem reticent to use the medium to its full potential.   

TNS recently reported that 61% of UK consumers don’t want to engage with brands via social media, which essentially tell us that certain forms of digital advertising across social media are creating a substantial amount of digital waste.  There clearly needs to be a shift in how advertisers are marketing themselves via social media and the Internet at large.

We need to move to a world that isn’t so focused on billions of display ads, the perpetrator of wasted ad dollars. Instead, engagement advertising that provides value to a consumer in exchange for their active attention can deliver results that sustain the online advertising ecosystem and drive quality results for all parties:

  • Brands get active attention to their message from consumers in an environment where attention in the most valuable commodity (and perhaps the hardest to attain)
  • Consumers earn a valued benefit for opting-in to a brand experience and providing their active attention to the brand’s message
  • Publishers effectively monetize their content and are able to give users an ad experience that enhances their overall encounter with that property

In order to garner consumers' attention, you have to reach them where their attention lives. You do this by proving a valued benefit that helps -- not hinders -- what they're already doing online. By providing a motivation or reward in exchange for interacting with your brand’s message, consumers welcome the experience and provide their active attention. The advertiser now has a captive audience, and it's up to them to deliver the creative messaging that they've worked so hard to create. 

Once an advertiser has established that it is reaching people where their attention lives, they can then communicate their brand message through creative that is true to their brand and hits their objectives. By making ads relevant and engaging, people are more likely to give the message their active attention – in this way advertising can be seen as an enhancement to their experience rather than an annoyance.

Research from KN Dimestore and SocialVibe recently found that 90% of consumers reported that they appreciate the opportunity to interact with brands and provide their attention when the experience is initiated with some sort of value-exchange, such as earning virtual currency in a game, unlocking access to uninterrupted streaming music, or generating a free micro-donation to charity.

The study also found that people were 161% more likely to visit a brand’s website and 36% more likely to shop for a product at a store location after completing a brand engagement. These back end results show how powerful active attention to a brand message can be. The proof also comes in the form of consumer action that goes along with a lean-forward, engaging ad experience. Clicking, answering, choosing, watching, playing, seeking more information, connecting with a brand’s social channels or otherwise doing something valuable and impactful within a brand engagement all lead to significant brand lift.

Some brands are worried about switching from what they know to something new, but in challenging times, it is often the brands which are brave which benefit long term.   There is a need for brands to communicate with their consumer in a dialogue rather than just broadcast to them – this has changed for good and brands need to embrace the opportunity and seek ad technologies that empower their strategies.

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