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Brand engagement, emotional connection should be top-of-mind for 2020

By Lorna White


London, United Kingdom


With a year to reflect on and the media landscape still navigating change, it’s time to look forward to understand how brands can deliver the best results from their advertising campaigns for the upcoming year.

With more devices and platforms, the race for consumers’ attention is becoming ever more competitive. Content is constantly available, on-demand, and wherever a consumer is. For a brand, this means it’s increasingly important to be relevant to create a meaningful connection with an audience. Brands need to ensure their voice is appropriate in a consumer’s media world.

That’s not just about grabbing attention but how to create a true connection with an audience.

Consumer attention is scarce. Engaging audiences is one key way to keep people interested.
Consumer attention is scarce. Engaging audiences is one key way to keep people interested.

A recent WARC article investigates engagement and how brands can drive a substantial experience with audiences. With the increasing use of digital and mobile in particular, it can be easy for brands to focus on unsubstantial engagement metrics that drive short-term value rather than delivering long-term brand preference and emotional attachment.

WARC suggests key areas that advertising brands and publishers need to focus on in the upcoming year:

  • Engagement needs to deliver results for online publishers. Digital became a challenge rather than an opportunity for print brands, but both traditional and online-only brands have seen success by focusing on time spent and other engagement factors rather than simply driving volume.
  • Neuroscience provides insight into channel emotional engagement. Podcasts, out-of-home content, and influencer research all show a deeper engagement can be created with these channels.
  • Brand engagement is driven by positive brand experiences. A positive experience can be on any execution level. Context and relevance are key.
  • Addressable television advertising drives engagement. Utilising new targeting techniques on traditional media can enhance the consumer experience.
  • Ads that move beyond the message and fully engage consumers are more effective. With the huge increase in video, this isn’t surprising. Creative needs to deliver outstanding content to engage consumers.
  • Context is vital for consumers to fully engage with brand messages. The right time and right message has always been key, but it is increasingly important.
  • Engagement fundamentally stems from experiences that have depth. The end-to-end experience is essential, from live events to the purchase. These all lead to the overall engagement with a brand.
  • Digital media has introduced new measures for engagement. Not all of these are helpful. This often leads to a focus on the short term by delivering versus in-platform metrics that look at the overall campaign and brand output.
  • Building “buzz” is a key element of social media engagement. This means applying context rather than just focusing on the volume of data available.
  • Researchers are striving to effectively measure emotional engagement. Facial recognition is helping to apply emotional understanding, but it’s important to scale the learnings.
  • Algorithmic development could reshape the role of engagement in marketing. Automation delivers efficiencies, which is a positive move for engagement.
  • Visual engagement is a more meaningful indicator of digital campaign success than viewability. Shifting the measurement of viewability is essential to deliver true brand engagement.

Looking back at 2019 helps to enhance brands’ output for 2020. This puts the consumer at the heart, focuses on the strengths of different media channels to enhance brand experiences, and leads to long-term engagement and preference.

About Lorna White

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