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How publishers can engage consumers and boost their online spend

How publishers can engage consumers and boost their online spend

By Julia Hutchison, COO, APA.

As the online space continues to evolve, making sure that you are targeting the right people in the right way has never been so important.

Time-poor consumers are continually looking for quick and effective ways to access content and make purchases. Therefore brands need to provide savvy and innovative options that respond directly to their needs.

Far too often, brands will merely concentrate on the transactional aspect of their relationship with customers and through doing so forget to reward them with the value-driven content they go in search of.

As such, it’s not enough just to offer customers product-focused websites or transactional mobile apps - they want entertaining and value driven content that offers a lifestyle and experience beyond the general brand/consumer relationship.

However, it takes more than just a web builder and designer to create an offering that truly encapsulates a brand and its messaging.

Organisations need experts; editors and content specialists who understand the brand and its customers and utilise this knowledge to create the right content, for the right channel and the right audience. By investing in this expertise, brands will ensure that the maximum level of engagement is achieved and the return on their media spend is maximised.

The latest Global Intelligence report emphasised the need to know your audience and target them appropriately.  

The report revealed  that online advertising almost doubled in the UK to take over TV in terms of spend in 2008-09. It also highlighted that in the UK a growing number of consumers aged 50 or over are converting to online for information, entertainment and shopping.

The research reflects that with so many consumers now using digital technology (and in this case a certain age demographic) brands must be identifying the best approach for each individual to ensure they protect their reputation whilst interacting with consumers.

A recent online YouGov study commissioned by the APA showed that consumers are in fact far more likely to make a purchase if a website makes the effort to engage and entertain them through interesting, relevant and up-to-date content. Of the 2,000 surveyed, over a fifth (22 per cent) said they are more likely to recommend a website to a friend if it’s constantly updated with information.

A further two thirds of respondents (65 per cent) stated that they would visit a website once a week or more if content was timelier, with 18 to 24 year olds agreeing that content should be updated at least once a day.

Of those asked, an additional 27 per cent said they are more likely to buy online if the website offers more than just product listings and almost a third (28 per cent) insisted that additional online content, such as editorial focusing on specific products, motivates them to make a purchase in-store.

With the continuing development of technology, consumers are now able to access online content through a variety of channel.  As such, the public now expect to engage with content on their terms, through the channel of their choice and at the time they select.  

Although brands are slowly executing strategies that take these needs into account, there are still many that are merely investing in activity that does little to support their brand ethos and instead just replicates the movements of their competitors. Although a mobile app may work for one organisation, this is not to say it will for another.

Therefore businesses must assess their needs on an individual basis, rolling out high quality content that is the right fit for their brand. This approach will not only attract prospective consumers, but will ensure existing customers feel valued, building loyalty and a positive brand reputation in the long run.

Having been rolling out content for over 20 years since the launch of BA Highlife, customer publishers are perfectly positioned to identify the needs of each brand that approaches them. Whether it is a video, eZine, print magazine or mobile app, editorialised branded content providers identify the best channels through which to engage with the correct audience.

This means tailoring the content, the creative and messages to fit accordingly. By doing so, each customer has a personalised experience which will keep them coming back time and time again

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