A view from Stuart Flint

Why would a consumer look at your content?

Stuart Flint, the MD of AOL UK, asks: why is the consumer interacting with your content and how can you use that to build stronger...

Advertisers are flooded with data on their target consumers. Who is the consumer? What audience segment are they in? Where do they live? On which device do they spend their time?

Millions of data sets are just waiting to be connected for greater insights and targeting. And yet the missing piece in all of this data is too often the "Why".

The why is consumer motivation. It’s what makes us human. A consistent framework, regardless of country or culture. Considering the why takes an advertiser's insight beyond the content they’re creating. It connects them with what drives a consumer to interact with content in the first place.

AOL’s new global research study sought to uncover that why, exploring over 55,000 consumer interactions with online content to better understand their motivations. The research revealed people around the world are engaging with digital content in eight different ways, which we refer to as "content moments."

A content moment is comprised of four elements before, during, and after engagement: the motivations for initiating the content experience, the emotions felt during the experience, the outcomes of the content, and the topic of the content.

These eight content moments are:

  1. Inspire: Look for fresh ideas or trying something new
  2. Be in the know: Stay updated or find relevant ideas
  3. Find: Seek answers or advice
  4. Comfort: Seek support or insight
  5. Connect: Learn something new or be part of a community
  6. Feel good: Improve mood or feel relaxed
  7. Entertain: Look for an escape or a mental break
  8. Update socially: Stay updated or take a mental break

The eight moments are universal across the globe, and yet the fulfilment of each moment contains a world of nuance. Even as people share similar experiences, they seek out different kinds of content depending on the many moments that make up a particular day.

From mundane events like jogging to life changing experiences like welcoming a new baby, these experiences can provoke a multitude of unique moments and content.

The research was facilitated across eight global markets, including the UK, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United States, and Spain. In the UK specifically, the most popular moments compared to fellow markets are Social, Be in the Know and Comfort.

Brits, on average, spend 11 minutes in an individual moment, compared to 13 minutes globally. Digital is driving content consumption, and in the UK we’re seeing that people are more emotionally outcome-driven as they also like to be Entertained (16 minutes on average), and seek to learn new things – or Connect (13 minutes on average).

Content moments for consumers in these eight global markets varied across the board. For example, consumers in Japan registered high with Feel Good and Inspire while consumers in Germany led with Entertain.

This research is another example of how we help our advertiser partners make sense of the huge and diverse opportunities in "digital".

The landscape of how, when and with what brands should be communicating with consumers can be so broad, it’s essential to begin your plans with the best insights possible about the most important people in the chain: the consumers themselves.

These findings and takeaways are meant to help advertisers reach them not only with typical targeting demographics and audience data, but looking at the human element – the motivation behind consuming any piece of content at any given time – so an advertiser can find the right moment to connect. For example:

1. Create content that adds value

Select the moments that best fit the brand, understand the motivations behind those moments and create customized content that fulfils those needs.

2. Vary your content topics and formats

Produce different types of content to reach more consumers across moments and target them in less crowded environments.

3. Anticipate each outcome

Understand consumers’ mindset in each moment and make it easy for them to take action, like making a purchase or getting more information.

4. Embrace a blend of data and creativity

For maximum campaign effectiveness, use insights from the eight content moments to inspire creative executions and align content with consumer expectations.

You can read the whole research and take a closer look at the data here: http://contentmoments.aol.com/uk

Stuart Flint is the managing director of AOL UK.