Don't Push Millennials; Build Trust, Gain Loyalty

According to a new study by Rapt Media, consumers don’t trust content that’s pushed at them. They’re not relying on it when researching purchases. And nearly all consumers are going out of their way to avoid seeing it by blocking pop-up ads, disabling cookies, opting out of emails, and skipping pre-roll video ads.

To understand this rapidly growing issue, RAPT surveyed an audience of over 1,000 consumers to discover: 

  • How personalized they feel content is to their needs and interests
  • How they feel about content that’s pushed at them vs. content they discover
  • How they would engage differently with content if it was more personalized
  • How millennials, in particular, want to explore and interact with content

Consumers want content that’s meaningful, helpful and valuable to their specific needs and interests. But equally important is their desire to seek it out themselves. And beyond the ability to seek it out, content needs to be personalized in a way that allows consumers to customize, navigate, click and control it.

Millennials are showing an even greater mistrust for pushed content and continue to stiff-arm brands’ attempts to reach them in this way, says the report. The effort to successfully reach, build trust with, and gain loyalty from the next generation of brand consumers and advocates starts with rethinking the way content is consumed.

Key Findings: 

  • 43% say online ads are not personalized to their interests
  • 62% say content they discover themselves is personalized
  • 95% take action to avoid seeing or receiving ads
  • 61% say even if content is customized, they still prefer to find it on their own
  • 5% say ads influence their purchasing decisions
  • 46% say content they find on their own influences their purchase decision 
  • 57% of millennials block ad content because it is too pushy vs. 38% of those over 45

Despite consumers being increasingly in the driver’s seat, brands are still attempting to personalize the content experience by pushing content at them at the right time and through the right channel, says the report. What they’ve failed to realize is that consumers don’t want content pushed at them at all.

Consumers want to discover content on their own, and they don’t trust brands who don’t realize this. This mistrust makes it apparent that brands who attempt to personalize advertisements and not content experiences are missing the mark, with most consumers saying that even if marketers tailored ads to their interests, they still wouldn’t click on it; It removes the element of discovery that they want online.

The main reasons why consumers try to get brands to stop sending Content and ads include:

  • 55% It’s not interesting or relevant to them
  • 46% It’s too pushy  
  • 42% They don’t trust them 
  • 67% They’re sending too much of it

The Problem with Pushed Content

  • 95% of consumers take action to avoid seeing or receiving ads and 66% of consumers do so regularly
  • 57% of millennials block ad content because it’s too pushy, vs. only 38% of those over age 45 who cited the same reason
  • 30% said they would tell friends about a brand/ company if it delivered them personalized content, vs. only 18% of those over age 30 and 8% of those over age 60
  • 42% say they’d spend more time reading or viewing content if they could tailor it to their interests, vs. 28% of those over age 45
  • 60%of millennials say that they would be more likely to make a purchase after spending more time engaging with content, vs. 44% of those over age 30

In looking at how discovery and personalization drive engagement and purchases, it’s worth examining the consumers that are driving this trend and how the demand for personalized content is likely to continue, says the report. According to YouBrand, millennials were estimated to have a combined global spending power of $2.45 trillion in 2015 So as these younger consumers make up a larger portion of the U.S. consumer base, with tremendous spending power, brands should take notice of what they want most from their content experience, how to build trust with them, and how to ultimately turn them into loyal consumers. 

Millennials make up a young consumer group that has yet to form the same brand loyalties that most older age groups have already formed. That makes this a crucial time for brands to reach these consumers, says the report, and what’s becoming increasingly clear is that millennials aren’t buying what marketers are selling.

Increased engagement times yield a wealth of benefits for brands who are offering these personalized content experiences. Forrester Research’s Jim Nail discussed what he calls the “Gratitude Effect,” where consumers’ positive feelings and reactions to the quality of the content they’re given from a brand, halo over to the brand and establishes a connection and relationship between the brand and the consumer.

This relationship between quality content and a positive brand relationship is evident in the research, with consumers saying that personalized content will result in them discovering more about the brand, remembering the brand, and ultimately thinking more positively about the brand, says the report.

The Brand Benefit

  • 62% of consumers said that if brand content was more personalized to them, they would be more likely to seek out other information or content to learn more about the brand, and 53% said they’d be more likely to remember the brand
  • 63% of consumers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant

Content personalization increases engagement.

  • 66% of consumers said that if they don’t view a content piece all the way through, it’s because it was uninteresting or irrelevant to them

Consumers would spend more time reading or viewing online content if

  • 33% if they could customize it to their interests
  • 47% if they found it on their own vs. having it shown to them
  • 48% if they could control it by clicking through it on their own
  • 61% of consumers said even if content was more customized to their interests, they’d still prefer to find it on their own online through search
  • 43% say online ads are not personalized to their interests, but 62% say content they discover themselves is
  • 54% of consumers said if marketers personalized ads to their interests, they still wouldn’t be interested and probably wouldn’t click on them

Consumers have clearly shown that pushed content, particularly in the form of ads, plays almost no role in their purchase decision, and that they’re increasingly relying on the content they discover on their own when making purchases.

Beyond the ability to discover content on their own, when the content they discover is personalized to their interests and needs, this has a positive impact on purchase decisions. The majority of consumers say that it makes them more likely to buy from a brand, and nearly half say that the increased engagement times also positively influences their purchase behavior.

The value of offering a personalized content experience versus pushing advertising at consumers goes far beyond simply getting more clicks and views. Interactive content experiences (just like the Web itself) are what consumers are increasingly seeking, and marketers can no longer overlook the element of discovery. And with millennials leading the charge, it becomes even more evident that these trends are only going to increase from here, making it imperative that content marketers make adjustments to their content strategies and tech investments now.

For more information from RAPT MEDIA, please visit here 



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