What guys want, online


iMedia Connection


The key to building loyalty with 18- to 34-year-old males is to partner with sites that not only draw them in but that also engage them.

One of today’s most coveted demographics for marketers is 18- to 34-year-old men. They are beginning to start their careers, are building disposable income, and spend a lot of money. As coveted as they are, they are increasingly difficult to reach through traditional media channels. Instead of watching television or reading magazines, they are online blogging, playing games, looking for information and entertaining themselves — often up to several hours a day.

For marketers hungering for this demographic who are still devoting the majority of resources to traditional media, the train has left the station. The audience has moved on, and you need to as well. What’s the best way to hop on to reach and engage with those guys before it’s too late? Here are five keys to engaging with 18- to 34-year-old guys.

1. Work with sites that understand their audience and can help you craft custom campaigns that will reach and engage your audience. Today’s men’s sites fall into two broad categories: those that court drive-through engagement and those that lure and nurture audience by offering compelling content and experiences. In the fading era of clicks and eyeballs, the drive-by worked to a degree — provocative video or other content generated audience spikes, but no loyalty. In the emerging era of engagement, what wins the day is interesting, consistent and targeted content delivered by sites that understand the needs of their audiences. That knowledge is then used to help advertisers create targeted brand campaigns for that audience.

2. Find partners that will help you deliver integrated campaigns across any media you need — from banners to video to branded content to promotions. A partner that understands its audience also understands how to package advertiser messages to that audience. It understands that sometimes banners deliver the right message at the right time, and in other cases a more branded experiential campaign might be in order. It understands, too, the balance between exposing advertisers to audiences that appreciate edgy content and protecting the brand from exposure to risquĂ© content. In the era of engagement, that knowledge is gold.

3. Understand the new era of precision marketing and work with publishers who can help you identify different psychographics of men to target particular interests. A partner that is engaged with its audience understands, like layers of an onion, different facets of its audience. It uses sophisticated algorithms to deliver fine-grained slices of its users. It knows how and when to reach them and what type of approaches work best.

4. Capitalize on scale, whether it is through a branded property or though an affiliated network of branded properties that can run integrated campaigns. The key to internet marketing is finding a partner that has embraced the depth and breadth of its audience. A single site can deliver an advertiser a certain psychographic. A network of sites, built to draw ever widening circles of 18- to 34-year-old men, scales powerfully. Add to the equation affiliated sites that appeal to varying tastes of the demographic, and the result is an astonishingly cost-effective way to reach a mass of men. This is not easy to do today, as advertisers have to work hard to piece together sites to try to get even near the demographic.

5. Activate your brand online to translate eyeballs into ad revenues. The web is a multimedia experience for guys. They’re not plopped down on the couch watching TV like their fathers did — they’re gobbling up video content online. They’re not locked in a dorm room playing Dungeons & Dragons like their fathers were — they’re gaming online, by themselves and with legions of friends. They don’t sit in an easy chair with a martini nearby while they scan financial and cultural publications for the latest information — they are consuming that online, several hours of the day. This is where the 18- to 34-year-old man is today, and he’s willing to be marketed to in respectful, compelling ways.

For brands today, the clickthrough is dead — if it ever worked at all. Building brand loyalty requires engaging with the audience, and that requires partnering with someone who knows the 18- to 34-year-old male, how to “talk” male and how to engage him. The time is now, before the train chugs off down the track and around the bend.

Keith Richman is founder and CEO of Break Media.


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