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Why consumers engage with content

News, 12 September 2016

NEW YORK/LONDON: Advertisers have a mass of data at their disposal about how to connect with consumers, but according to a new global study a key component has to be "why" consumers interact with content.

Media giant AOL recently carried out an examination of more than 55,000 consumer interactions with online content to establish what motivates consumers in eight global markets to engage with content.

Covering the US, UK, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain, the report concluded that there are eight different ways in which consumers engage with digital content and that these so-called "content moments" are universal around the world.

However, consumers in these different markets lean towards particular content moments, with for example the US leading other markets for "Comfort" and "Connect" moments.

AOL identified these eight content moments as "Inspire" (looking for fresh ideas or trying something new); "Be in the Know" (staying updated or finding relevant ideas); "Find" (seeking answers or advice); "Comfort" (seeking support or insight); and "Connect" (learning something new or being part of a community).

The remaining three content moments are described by AOL as "Feel Good" (improving mood or feeling relaxed); "Entertain" (looking for an escape or a mental break); and "Update Socially" (staying updated or taking a mental break).

The report defined these content moments as motivations for initiating the content experience, the emotions felt during the experience, the outcomes of the content, and the topic of the content.

Of particular relevance for brands seeking to engage with different global audiences, the report found that content moments for consumers in the eight markets covered in the study varied across the board.

Japanese consumers, for example, registered high with Feel Good and Inspire while their counterparts in Germany topped everywhere else with Entertain.

The report also explored the average amount of time that consumers engage with content and found those in the US and UK generally spend less time than elsewhere.

Compared with a global average of 13 minutes, US consumers spend an average of 12 minutes per individual moment, which drops to just 11 minutes per moment in the UK.

But according to MediaPost, US consumers spend more time with emotional motivations and the average amount of time they spend with the Entertain moment is 15 minutes, while they spend 17 minutes on average with Connect.

Data sourced from AOL, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff