The fastest ways to alienate online audiences

Running the exact same spot over and over
Repetition is a good way to drive messages deep into the cerebellum, but in a digital world where variety is abundant, a repeated piece of content can drive people insane. If you want to push audiences away in no time (or punish them for some reason) simply ignore the fact that they might want new and fresh material that contains the same message. Content creators who take the time to edit multiple spots and mix things up find greater engagement and retention.

Broadcasting irrelevant content
From ads to entertainment, and every viewer experience in between, if you are not delivering relevance in your content and messages you will lose audiences at lightning fast speeds. With the plethora of channels and places consumers can get relevant material, the irrelevance of your content will really stand out. Make sure you understand your audience and demographic, and give them video they want to see.

Flat-out lie
No one likes to be lied to. Telling shades of truth or omitting very important chunks of information is a big red flag for viewers. In today’s transparent and very Google-able world, it’s easy for viewers to become online detectives to discover the shady areas in your messages. All it takes is a simple search, and right away people have access to a mountain of consumer reviews and objective reports (not to mention product/service alternatives). The best path: be as honest as possible. Don’t omit major flaws, and address problems in a creative way that doesn’t mislead viewers.

Selling to viewers over telling a story
The same rules apply in marketing that apply in the entertainment industry: story and narrative are key. Online audiences are bombarded with ads that have a blatant goal of pushing product. Display, search, and social are not storytelling formats. There is little room there to lead a consumer down a narrative path. The reason video is exploding and gets people excited is because at its heart, it’s a channel that allows for ample entertainment and great storytelling. If you’re not playing the game, it really stands out, and audiences will drop off.

Forcing a push-down storytelling experience
On the topic of story, the narrative you deliver needs to feel natural and relevant to the audience. You shouldn’t be delivering a storytelling experience that is so force-fed that the viewer feels like the content is completely out of place or context. Amy Elkins, head of media and marketing innovation at STX Entertainment, speaks to iMedia at the ThinkLA Entertainment Breakfast about why a push-down storytelling experience that feels unnatural can be a real turn-off for online viewers.

By David Zaleski, media production manager at iMedia.

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