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Your Marketing Can Beat Viral Cat Videos When Focused on These 2 Points

Focus on the data about the consumer’s core interest and the customer journey in order to win back the internet.

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BY Andrew Medal - 02 Dec 2017

Your Marketing Can Beat Viral Cat Videos When Focused on These 2 Points

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Do you remember pop-ups? Invasive pop up ads used to clutter internet browsing, constantly interrupting idle surfing with irrelevant promotions for products and services.

Ads like those are disappearing because advertisers realize their ineffectiveness and internet guardians have begun to penalize sites that allow them.

But the decline of pop-ups does not silence the pandemonium taking place on web browsers. For marketers, that is a significant problem.

Since the beginning of e-commerce, we have understood that it is a channel many degrees removed from anything that came before it. While it is true people multitask while watching TV and they channel surf to avoid advertising breaks, their attention is still less divided than it is online.

Whether at a computer or on a mobile phone, today's internet surfer is bombarded with options, take a quiz, check status updates, play a game, reply to an email, and those impulses are constant.

As with any new landscape, the participants of the internet ecosystem are getting better at navigating it. That includes marketers who are constantly using new technologies to break through to consumers. It follows that in a new ecosystem, it pays to know who everyone is, and that is a problem data can solve.

"We know that when people surf the internet their attention jumps from one thing to the next," says Vitaly Pecherskiy, co-founder and COO of StackAdapt, an omni-channel advertising platform. "But research shows that people consume content and click on things that appeal to their core interests. That means someone who loves the outdoors is more likely to click on an ad for a car when it is presented in an outdoor environment. Someone who is traveling to Dallas next week is more likely to consume content about Dallas."

To accomplish this outcome, ads contextualized by consumer interest (which is creating ads that are geared specifically for what a consumer likes or wants) requires highly refined data. Machine learning can do a lot, but it must be fed the right data.

1. Consumer's core interest

When marketers are empowered with data to understand a consumer's core interests, they can position their advertisements to pop out of the mayhem on the internet. That is because we are all looking for specific content whether we know it or not.

We are looking for content that entertains, informs, or helps us to do the things we like or need to do. In order to beat a cat video's attention harnessing power, marketers must understand consumers' internal programming.

"Each successive advance in online advertising technology that leverages more data to better understand the consumer and produce better results points to a fundamental truth," explains Pecherskiy. "And that is, brands must be digital natives. They have to fully understand their customers in a digital environment and curate seamless experiences that augment real-world customer journeys."

This core interest data is vital to creating the right type of ad for all marketers and businesses.

2. Customer journey

A customer journey, which is the entire journey a customer takes before purchasing, very often starts with an online advertisement.

The journey should seem so logical and ubiquitous that they are almost unaware the call to action is an ad. The funnel must guard against distraction, be adept at reeling customers back who fall away, and continuously aim to connect with the customer's reason for wanting the product or service in the first place.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London, describes the outcome of the digital chaos in an article for The Guardian. "Unsurprisingly, there is a crisis of attentiveness. When information is bountiful, attention is limited and precious. Unlike our evolutionary ancestors, who were probably rewarded for absorbing as much of their sensory surroundings as they possibly could, what's adaptive today is the ability to ignore our distracting environments. Indeed, in times of information overload and non-stop media bombardment, distraction is destruction..."

Keeping the customer journey data in mind, from point of ad to conversion will allow an optimized and effective marketing campaign.

Focused on these two points, marketers can do less marketing and do more prescribing. Campaigns will be nearly invisible to the consumer, seamless from point of contact to sale, and far less promotional than the pop-up ads of yesteryear.

And, just maybe, with the right data, and focus, we'll be able to beat those viral cat videos that continue to win the internet (maybe).