Shouting into the Wind

Why brands need to stop shout and start engaging with their audience on more human terms.

shouting-emojiIt seems like a definition of digital insanity.

Online ads are getting lower and lower response rates. But instead of prompting advertisers to take a cold, harsh look at their tactics, they are doubling down on their targeting and getting even more aggressive with intrusive ad practices.

It’s small wonder that ad blocking is smacking the industry upside the head. Consumers have had it, and research shows “people are far more receptive to advertising when they feel that they have ‘control’ of the message,” notes this post from Magnetic.

What will save brands from an all-out advertising meltdown? According to Magnetic’s Sue Todd, a “strong emotional connection” is the critical element for brands.

Todd was speaking at the recent SPARK event in the UK, and gave a blunt assessment of the state of the industry, likening it to “our own climate change debate.”

That might be a bit hyperbolic, but it certainly got people’s attention. Todd’s ideas have a lot of support in the industry, with many saying that the current online advertising model is badly broken and brands need to change their ways.

Building an emotional connection allows readers to seek out the content (including ads) that resonate. It’s this, or we continue to put up shields to block those incoming ad missiles. And magazines play a key role in this kind of connection, as Magnetic’s “Moments that Matter” research proves.

“Inspired by the work of Professor Paul Dolan, an expert on happiness, the research revealed that the majority of magazine moments meet a reader’s desire for ‘reward or ‘information’, creating experiences that reduce anxiety and increase well-being,” the article notes.

Can we say that reading content on digital provides that same kind of experience? Not yet. And probably not likely.

We’ve said it before; it’s up to advertisers and brands to square things with their audience. Today’s consumer demands it.