Tap into Consumer Mindsets: AOL's New Approach to Content Marketing

By Brad Cressman, Managing Director of AOL Canada

It wasn’t long ago that I was in cottage country Ontario having a relaxing evening with my family, feeling good, live streaming The Tragically Hip’s final performance. It was one of those nights where something truly cultural brought together a whole nation. Can you remember the last time you were really engaged by content online? What your motivation was? It could have been a sporting event or an article you came across on social media, but more often than not, the reason you engaged with content has to do with your mindset and emotional needs at the time.

Today, reaching audiences on a personal level is easier said than done. Human behavior outpaces marketers, moving across devices and channels without a second thought. Consumers are deciding when and how they engage with content, and the content they engage with is chosen based on mood and emotions – which drive the most purchases. It’s critical that marketers understand what resonates with their consumers and why, in order to invest in content marketing programs that yield results.

AOL’s global Content Moments research reveals the critical moments where consumers engage with digital content in order to shed light on a new approach to content marketing.

The research study spanned eight different markets and distills the most important consumer mindsets into eight Content Moments — from Feeling Good to Seeking Answers and everything in between.


Globally, we see that consumers are spending longer with more emotional outcome driven Moments such as Inspire & Feel Good where motivations are driven by the desire to seek out fresh ideas and relaxation, and less time in Moments where they are looking to learn something new [Connect] or stay updated [Be in the Know]. Our results found that Canadians spend longer in Moments that offer a mental break [Entertain] and where they can stay updated [Update Socially], as opposed to Moments where they are seeing support or insight [Comfort].

When it comes to content formats, Canadians are 12% more likely than their US counterparts to watch a long-form online video when looking for relaxation and escapism [Entertain], they are 37% more likely than Americans to watch a short-form online video when seeking out a heartwarming moment [Feel Good], and they are 25% more likely than their UK counterparts to read online articles/blog posts when seeking answers to questions [Find].

The insights that AOL has uncovered can help marketers and advertisers address many of the challenges faced in this new era of digital advertising. Integrating data and analytics into your content marketing efforts will give you a better understanding of why a consumer engages with content and what he/she wants to get out of the experience. From browsing a photo gallery of the best fishing tackles to playing online scrabble and watching The Hip, content marketing programs have the power to engage me in the moments that matter – transforming the way I perceive and interact with brands.

Check out the content topics and formats that consumers are looking for in each moment on the Content Moments website.

Originally published on Marketing, Oct 2016.

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Tags: aol, consumer, audience, content marketing, video, motivation, content moments