How Trends In Long-Form Content Discovery Affect Future Ad Spend

Attention spans are shrinking, content has become bite-size, and brands must market for the snacking consumer.

But there is still a home for long-form content, and it’s growing. In fact, the short-form culture of snippet-driven platforms, coupled with the skyrocketing boost of mobile devices, is actually helping to funnel consumers more effectively to the longer-form content they can immerse themselves in. A resurgence of magazines has begun, digitally.

With that boom comes a new advertising opportunity. Here’s why.

Twitter and other micro-sharing services, which enable snippet publishing with attention-grabbing headlines and photos, are actually supporting longer-form publishing. These snippet publishers offer a taste of something enticing, perhaps a short blast about a reader’s favorite surfer or a new product. Consumers who are interested then click through to the site, magazine or publisher and read in more detail. Sure, there is plenty of skating across the surface, but once consumers find what they want, they often stay on a publisher’s site and dive into the content.

We’ve found that if a visitor reads at least three pages of a publication on our platform, they’ll stay on average for 18 minutes. That underscores the consumers’ willingness to immerse themselves in material, not just nibble. This is just one piece of data that suggests magazines are poised for a big digital boost.

More evidence comes from media companies investing money in the creation of longer-form content. Earlier this year Yahoo launched Yahoo Digital Magazines and is using that vehicle to serve up full-page, high-quality ads with long-form content. Yahoo said that its food and tech magazines had already attracted more than 10 million unique visitors in the first month and a half. Google offers “Google currents,” which are magazines on phones and tablets. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post is another example suggesting that the taste for deeper dives into content isn’t going away. It’s building.

Smartphones and tablets are fueling the boom. This year, more than 1.1 billion Android-powered phones will be sold, along with more than 344 million Applephones, according to Gartner. That means more consumers will have the platform for a magazine in the palm of their hands because the user interface of mobile devices enables magazine-like reading experiences.

Then come the ads. Digital media enable personalization in a way other ad formats don’t.  Technology tools in mobile devices can serve up meaningful ads, beyond the standard banner, by location as well as time of day, giving advertisers new opportunities to get in front of their target users as they consume more long-form content.

The most effective advertising formats within long-form content could be those that are “native” in nature and those that have a social component.  The former encourages the reader to discover a brand while they are still in the content discovery and consumption phase, and the latter encourages users to share the content that they are discovering with others.

Overall, while short blasts are becoming the norm, they are not the end of deeper consumption as we know it. In fact, they are just the beginning, and they are giving brands a chance to reach readers in new ways.

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1 comment about "How Trends In Long-Form Content Discovery Affect Future Ad Spend ".
  1. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing, LLC , June 26, 2014 at 12:47 p.m.
    Joe -- that's promising news regarding long form content thanks for sharing this nsight -- do you see stats on non digital long form reading increasing as well? Or is your research specific to digital formats? I agree with everything you shared/makes so much sense but at the end of your column you say "the most effective advertising formats within long form content COULD be those that are native" is that statistically reported as well or is that your professional opinion? I would like to know that before I disagree :) -- native is a smoke screen -- we are selling ourselves on this value but consumers aren't buying it