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How to win in today’s highly competitive attention economy

By the end of 2020, 94% of UK homes had internet access. Individuals spent nearly 5 hours online every single day: three hours and 37 minutes on smartphones, tablets or computers, and another one hour 21 minutes watching video streaming content. People tuned into their Connected TVs more than ever before. When multiple devices compete for consumer attention at any given time, how can online publishers captivate their audiences?

Attention Economy

For online publishers, this level of Internet engagement represents a huge opportunity to drive revenue through subscriptions and, of course, advertising. However, with so much choice, one bad experience can quickly lose a potential consumer. Given these circumstances, one thing is clear: attention cannot be bought; attention must be earned. Great content alone is no longer enough to engage users, publishers need to put the customer first across every touchpoint.

Work with partners that bring unique, direct demand

Poorly placed and poorly executed advertising is one of the biggest irritants for consumers. This makes it imperative that publishers ensure advertising is a seamless, non-intrusive, and relevant part of their consumers’ experience alongside content. So how can publishers use tech solutions to improve the user experience at every stage of the journey, specifically in terms of content, advertising, paywalls, subs, and e-commerce?  

First of all, publishers should invest in working with partners that bring unique, direct demand to the table. The closer the relationship between publishers and advertisers, the better the match with consumers. This also protects brands more effectively. In the absence of an expansive sales team, working with the right partner can deliver the unique demand that sets publishers apart from their competitors.

Seek transparent and creative solutions

Secondly, publishers should pair with partners that offer transparent reporting. This enables deeper insights into how to improve audience experiences with advertising. Increasing transparency was sparked by growing public distrust after several security incidents and privacy breaches, on the one hand, and growing awareness about the value of personal data on the other.

Thirdly, publishers need to invest heavily in creative. An advert needs to be more than just targeted, it needs to be impactful and visually stimulating. Furthermore, working with creative partners that not only support and contribute to a wide range of processes – from strategy and practice to production and editing – but also develop a range of formats suited to a global consumer audience can only grow engagement. Seamless transitions between content and audience are key. In this regard, Unruly’s own creative studio Tr.ly marries creative assets to brands’ media strategy to deliver compelling storytelling across all digital environments, using key insights and continuous optimisation tools to grow consumer conversion and loyalty.

Consider data, visibility and safety

Effective and accessible data use can help drive sales lifts by up to 47% overall, so harnessing the unique power of data can truly amplify individual addressability. Publishers do this by finding partners that truly excel in data gathering, analysis and management, with integrated data management platforms (DMPs) and in-house data science teams and whoever can layer this data onto a deal ID will create efficiencies and drive higher CPMs.

Last but not least, branding safety is crucial. What publishers need to look out for first and foremost are partners that prioritise brand image and reputation. This means industry-recognised brand safety certification as a minimum, as well as added measures such as in-house technology, third party integrations and daily quality assurance. There needs to be a holistic approach to the ad experience, encompassing advertisers, publishers and consumers. Only through end-to-end support at every level can brand consistency – across content and advertising – be guaranteed.

Discover how Unruly could help you generate more attention in today’s highly competitive market here.