An audience in the real world is simply defined as, “the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event, such as a play, movie, concert, or meeting.” Somehow the digital world has twisted the word audience into a complex equation that ultimately makes advertising online more complicated and expensive. However, if we simply translate an audience to a digital paradigm, it carries the same meaning, but the spectators or listeners are reading, viewing and engaging with your information. What is important to capture from this, is that we no longer can treat an audience as users or visitors, rather as people who you can build relationships with and better engage with over time.
As digital mediums began to emerge in the 1990’s and take shape in the early 2000’s, content was king. Optimization and testing were the skills marketers needed in order to keep clicks and conversions increasing in order to generate the highest revenue yield on the content that was being churned out. And churning out is exactly what happened to content over the past decade. Publications sacrificed curating quality content in favor of creating content that “attracted eyeballs” and “generated clicks.” What was left behind was the people who form the audiences, the deeper relationships beyond just metrics that really matter. People assembled at publications only to be lured into “click-bait headlines” and “automated articles” that injected keywords and conversion elements to turn eyeballs into dollars.
The shift to audience marketing is now taking shape and it’s the responsibility of publishers and marketers to move beyond just audience data (behavioral, keywords, etc.), and onto building meaningful relationships with their core audience.
Parent.Co Audience Tip: When you set out to partner with a publisher to engage their audience — align with their brand attributes and become meaningful to their people.
To what extent will this make an impact? Recent data from eMarketer that was published by OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group indicates that 59% somewhat increase, and 19% significantly increase their purchase intent when they receive personally relevant content from brands. The old adage in marketing is that people want relationships, not advertisements to influence their buying decisions. This is where high-quality publications that have curated audiences can bridge the gap.
To shift into this new audience paradigm, here are a few points to consider to begin or expand your dialogue with publishers, with a goal of building stronger partnerships:
Start the conversation with a publisher on why they exist and what their goals are.
Request the publisher provide meaningful metrics - beyond reach and frequency.
Provide customer insights and metrics — so you can target the right audiences.
Collaborate on how you can build innovative and meaningful content to publish.
Build a plan to measure the mutual effectiveness - not just yours or theirs alone.
A recent article from eMarketer featured an insightful quote from Rob Candelino, the General Manager and Vice President of Marketing, Haircare at Unilever. He truly sums up in a very succinct way how content is supposed to resonate with the intended audience:
“[Content] has to strike both the head and the heart in a simple, crisp, succinct way.”
In summary, it is the start of a new era of audience building and engagement; one that will place a newfound emphasis on publishers to curate meaningful audiences. New partnerships will be formed between brands and publishers — that allow them to share data, share insights and work collaboratively to serve the most relevant content and products to their mutual people.
Parent Co. Marketing Tip: Challenge your marketing and media teams to go beyond rate cards and programattic integrations — find publishers to partner with that align with your brand and explore sponsored content, now referred to as Native Marketing.