Fuse Fridays: Interrupting, it’s just plain rude!

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Over the past few years, brands have been obsessed with interrupting audiences. While this may have been a good idea when brands were still wrapping their heads around social and what it meant for them, the idea of interruption in 2016 is just plain ridiculous.

Audiences are more aware then ever of brand advertising, especially given they can now tailor their experience on platforms, such as Facebook Newsfeed. In fact, interrupting content could be detrimental to the brand, as it could result in audiences blocking brands from serving ads to them altogether.

Sorry not sorry, Maroon 5!

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On the flip slide, when brands create content which adds value to the audiences’ experience, they will naturally want to engage with this content. This is what we call being thumb-stopping. On channels where there is an endless need to keep scrolling, the thumb-stop is the first move you want the audience to make. It’s not interrupting because the audience has had the choice to opt-in.

Brands need to think of the audience as if they’re teenagers. They no longer want to do what their parents (brands) are telling them to do, because they have their own ideas and interests.

As any parent would know (FYI I’m not a parent, but I was once a teenager) trying to force a teenager to do something often requires more energy and time and you still may not get what you want from them.

Chris Anderson the curator of TED summed it up perfectly when he said:

“If you drop the idea of ambushing people’s attention by shoving videos down their throat, and instead ask them to view by invitation, you can share an idea.”

One brand who is playing in this shared interest/idea moment and seeing fantastic results is Qantas. The airline have an always-on strategy, amplifying positive news stories through Outbrain, a content amplification platform.

Outbrain helps audiences discover content that they can trust to be interesting, relevant and timely for them. Through partnerships with leading online publisher sites, Outbrain recommends content to the online publishers audiences.

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Above is an example of the recommended content served by Outbrain at the bottom of a news.com.au article. The Qantas content recommendation can clearly be seen sitting in amongst a variety of other content. However the decision to opt-in is solely the decision of the reader. If the reader is interested by what they see, they will stop their thumb and click through to continue their content consumption.

So, how can you make sure that your content is thumb-stopping not interrupting? Here are three simple tips.

  • Use your personal experience – think about how you use your social channels, what do you choose to engage with and what do you ignore? Apply your own experiences to the brand.
  • Know your audience – remember your audience are humans not data, you need to know what interests them and their habits.
  • Think holistically – your brand is just one small part of the audiences’ social channels. It needs to work with everything else happening on their feed so look outside the box and see what other brands and publishers are doing.
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