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The engagement and monetization landscape for 2015 is defined by the new digital reality we live in, as defined by today’s consumer.

How Today’s Consumer Is Shaping the Engagement Landscape

There are several characteristics that define today’s engagement landscape:

  1. Today’s consumers have control over when, where, and how they will engage with brands.

The internet gives users the ability to block advertising, navigate away from pushy sales sites, and ignore irrelevant content. Mobile devices allow retail shoppers to engage with one brand while standing in the store of another.

Overt marketing, pushy sales tactics, and spammy messages will often alienate customers and erode profit margins.

Since so many users are finicky, have short attention spans, and little patience, brands must do their best to create competitive user experiences. Top-notch content, design, and performance are all necessary for companies to acquire and retain brands.

  1. The internet gives users the ability to perform product research at their leisure.

Users now have access to enormous quantities of product information. They can read reviews, compare multiple products, and educate themselves, all from any internet-enabled device.

This means that consumers are interacting with sales staff much later in the funnel. Salesy content, when introduced too early in the funnel, will turn off and disengage customers.

Engaging consumers in this digital marketplace requires stage-based content that covers the entire spectrum. Marketing must nurture prospects with light, informative content. Later, they can narrow the focus and introduce specific solutions.

  1. The vast majority of content is free, which has created a monetization landscape built on advertising.

Free content has necessitated certain monetization strategies for companies that want to earn money from their content.

Since consumers are tight with their purse strings, it’s harder to get people to pay for content. A flood of free content-driven websites, blogs, and apps have made magazine subscriptions almost a thing of the past.

As a result, publishers have turned to advertising as a means of monetization. On the one hand, this allows publishes to offer content for free. But on the other, it’s generated an ocean of advertising.

Many consumers expect free content, but complain about advertising’s effect on the user experience. So publishers have developed innovative workarounds, such as native advertising and on-site search monetization.

  1. Consumers are becoming more demanding.

Technology has made the world more connected and more convenient than ever, which has made the consumer more demanding.

To keep up and stay engaged with audiences, brands need to stay on top of the curve. Here are a few trends that are shaping the consumer landscape:

  • Immediacy With the internet at our fingertips, we have access to instant information, online shopping, fast delivery, and more. The faster and more mobile technology becomes, the more we will see immediacy become a priority for consumers. Brands will need to be able to deliver immediately if they want to keep up.
  • Personalization – Data gives companies the power to deliver relevant content, advertising, and information to consumers. And as these services evolve, consumers will grow to expect it. Marketing, advertising, and content that doesn’t personalize won’t be able to compete.
  • Immersion – The best online services are those that are present everywhere. Facebook and Google, for instance, follow customers from device to device. Accounts and services are accessible across a multitude of platforms and channels.
  • Always On – Customers are always on and conversions can happen at a moment’s notice. Brands must be ready and able to engage customers wherever customers want to be engaged. Some customers are strictly Twitter users, others are strictly mobile users, and yet others prefer email. Brands must be fluid and adaptable in order to meet these always-on consumers.
  1. Data drives engagement.

Effective data analysis lies behind successful engagement and monetization strategies.

For brands to deliver relevant, personalized, predictive, and immediate services, they need to collect and analyze data. Understanding – on a granular level – the way that customers behave gives brands the ability to deliver all of those features.

Untargeted, generalized marketing has historically delivered poor or even negative results. Today, the most successful brands will be those that collect and use customer data to deliver even better user experiences.

In 2015, data-driven marketing continues to become more of a focus for the world’s most successful companies. And in 2016 and beyond, this trend will become more magnified.

Mobile technology, wearable technology, and analytics are becoming more and more robust. Detailed information about customer behavior allows businesses to create hyper-detailed profiles and personas of their customers.

Those companies that can use data to deliver personalized services and solutions will be the ones to win in the engagement and monetization landscape. Those that can only serve up generalized content or experiences will end up falling behind.

 

As we move from 2015 into 2016, the engagement and monetization landscape will become more consumer-focused. Personalized user experiences will be the hallmark of the brands who are most successful.