The Power of an In-Content Ad Strategy

By Stephan Beringer, CEO of Mirriad

Across the board, advertisers are struggling to reach consumers through ad placement. Consumers are no longer entertained or influenced by ads, especially those with growing buying power: Gen Z and millennials. Younger audiences are increasingly scrolling, skipping and blocking ads that they don’t feel a connection to, and brands are attempting to identify authentic opportunities to engage with this demographic due to shortened attention spans and a purpose driven mindset.

Although advertisers have been constantly challenged with the task of finding new and relevant ways to engage audiences; In this new decade however, we are seeing a collision of multiple factors that are creating an urgency that we may have never seen before.

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A look into the advertising industry – how we got here and where we’re headed

As an industry, digital marketing moves fast — technologies and trends are constantly evolving. A few huge milestones that shaped the industry today include: The rise of the World Wide Web, Google’s creation of the SEO market and the social media takeover of 2002. That said, advertisers are continuously looking for new ways to pivot their strategy to reach new audiences in ways that will resonate more deeply and connect with their target audience.

However, with recent privacy changes like Apple’s ATT and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, soon taking effect, the time to take action is now. These privacy changes will make it even more difficult  for advertisers to target their audiences and expand brand reach. Now, advertisers have to combat privacy law restrictions, the decline of traditional advertising with the rise of social media and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The onset of the pandemic changed consumer shopping habits, as they began to prioritize their needs vs their wants. It was apparent that brands who didn’t transform their digital marketing plans to connect with consumers fell behind, whereas brands who adapted to today’s new normal thrived. The onset of the pandemic forced everyone to go digital and brought forth more social activists. Consumers have since then raised their expectations and are now holding brands accountable for being socially responsible.

Fast forward to today, with COVID restrictions beginning to lift and a vast amount of people getting vaccinated, consumers are beginning to confidently spend again. Consumers are no longer supporting brands that do not align with their core values and goals. In fact, 70% of consumers want to know what brands are doing to address social and environmental issues. This adds to the list of challenges that advertisers are now starting to face.

 Obstacles advertisers must overcome

Ad avoidance has been a lingering problem that continues to escalate. An overwhelming 82% of Gen Z’s are skipping ads and more than half using ad blockers, as 69% of Gen Z’s say they will physically do something to distract themselves from ads because they do not like being interrupted.

Consumers are no longer allowing the media to sway them or engaging in ads that do not resonate with them personally. They want each of their experiences, whether they’re virtual or in person, to be unique. Advertisers must transform their strategy and humanize their approach to meet consumers.

In-content advertising is the optimal solution

Placing in-content ads in relevant spaces can expand audience reach and brand visibility in an authentic way. In the UK alone, ninety-four percent of video consumed daily by consumers are in content, with the other 6% being overloaded ad time. This stat shows a huge previously unreachable area that advertisers can now utilize to connect with audiences without interrupting them.

Major global players in a diverse range of categories such as automotive and luxury are seeing amazing results – Including Mexican beer brand Tecate, are already shifting their strategy. Tecate turned to Mirriad’s in-content advertising platform to execute both product and signage inclusion in-content to promote their “Mexico is in us” tagline by using AI-powered technology. The results (conducted by Kantar) found that 76% of consumers said the campaign made Tecate more appealing to them.

Millennials and Gen Z’s are binging television shows, watching music videos and exploring gaming (e-sports, virtual reality and traditional games). According to a recent study, as of 2020, ‘Music and Music Videos’ was the leading mobile video genre amongst Gen-Z and Millennials in the United States, with 63% of respondents watching this genre of video. Also during 2020 there was an influx of activity and sales within esports and the video gaming industry — with 46% of consumers stating they are playing more video gaming now than ever before. These findings show exactly where and what younger consumers are interested in. Online experiences and entertainment.

Advertising is more efficient when it is delivered in the right place and in the qualitative context. In-content advertising makes it possible to seamlessly embed brands into content and culture. By connecting brands with people in a way that is contextually relevant, feels organic and native, which ultimately helps content resonate with viewers. This will also let brands connect with consumers in a skip and brand safe environment. If a placement doesn’t make contextual sense, and it’s jarring for audiences, then it simply doesn’t work.

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In-content advertising is the new recipe that will deliver higher levels of engagement to younger audiences. If advertisers want to continue breaking barriers and reach a completely new demographic, they should look into alternative markets such as music videos, gaming and television. By focusing on placing in-content ads in a creative and authentic way, advertisers will slowly combat the skip button along with adblock. Advertisers should prepare for a future in which placing in-content ads is the optimal solution for reaching younger consumers with targeted content in a brand safe environment.


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