By Alon Carmel, CEO of Aniview

As May comes and goes, we are officially deep in year two of COVID-19 and many are beginning to feel that void of “corona-fatigue.” Now, everyone understands the pandemic is a serious problem worldwide, and yet people are dying to go on vacation, go to that bar, or visit those family members. It’s natural that many of us are beginning to feel tired, annoyed and useless.

The good news? You are not useless, especially not to digital advertisers—at least your digital information isn’t. The average American sees between 4,000-10,000 advertisements per day. Those ads are placed anywhere from the sidebar on Facebook feeds, to the billboards people pass driving on the highway. Most ad players allow for feedback, giving consumers the option to skip the ad after a few seconds or continue watching it if relevant to them. This helps the user have a say in targeted advertisements. The more relevant the ad, the more the customer feels like they are being spoken to directly by the brand. So how can advertisers capitalize on this wealth of online information?

Targeting Millennials and Gen Z

As we're huddled up with our computers and smartphones, it’s no surprise that e-commerce reached an all time high in 2020 as it became the primary way for people to be entertained while at home. U.S. consumers alone spent $709.78 billion on ecommerce, while reaching 14.5 percent of all retail sales—representing not just an all-time high, but also the biggest share increase in a single year, which researchers are attributing to the high levels of people confined to their homes. While e-commerce booms, digital advertisers need to know who the average consumer is and what it is they want.

Gen Z and Millennials make up more than 50 percent of the consumer base and it seems their attention spans continue to wane. According to a new consumer trends report, the average attention span of a millennial is only 12 seconds, while Gen Zers will leave a video after just eight. Now, marketers need to figure out how to make short-form videos with all the necessary information, while keeping them sharp and the viewer interested.

These younger generations have also made it patently clear that they care about the brand more than the product. They want to know that the company they are supporting has the same ideals and values as they do. Millennials alone spend about $600 billion a year in the U.S., while about 94 percent prefer online shopping and using discount codes. This generation leads the pack in online sales, with Gen Z close behind. Knowing the average Gen Z or millennial consumer will allow for better ad impressions.

What is optimization and why is it important?

Optimizing user digital ad experiences is one way to connect with Millennials and Gen Z. Optimization increases the impact an ad has on its viewers. An advertiser can use optimization before, during and after the campaign—but optimization needs to begin with the creative. When optimizing an ad campaign, one must begin at the most granular level, before making large-scale adjustments to the entire campaign later down the road.

When thinking about how to create the best campaign for a target audience marketers are able to optimize at multiple levels: the creative, placement, supplier, and finally campaign level. The creative is the most important element in media buying. When optimizing the creative, the brand is able to recognize if a problem is that of the product or the creative unit. Finding the right placement for a digital campaign is what drives campaign performance. Advertisers need to decide if the ad will go on the homepage, leaderboard, or a run of the site—where a brand advertises only on one site and not multiple. Brands are also able to optimize at the publisher level, which will help the publisher’s overall performance of the ad.

The last step is optimizing at the campaign level, which means looking at day-parting, geo-targeting, browser, demographics, and other functions of the campaign. Analyzing the data, the advertiser can see an hour-by-hour breakdown of the ad impressions.

By optimizing an ad, publishers and advertisers alike benefit and consumers are less likely to install ad-blockers because the ads are relevant to their daily lives.

Personalizing the ads, to gain more clicks

Even when it seems like our phones are listening to our every word, 90 percent of consumers say messages from brands that aren’t relevant to them are annoying, while 53 percent say irrelevant advertisements top their list of most irritating messages. As consumers click, advertisers are having an easier time seeing which campaigns resonate with which consumers. According to a study by SmarterHQ, 72 percent of consumers say they only engage in digital ads that are personalized. Personalization is all about maximizing ROIs and delivering timely, relevant messaging across multiple channels.

Data, and more data, is a necessity when personalizing ads. When gathering information about the target consumer, advertisers can see consumers personas—including their buying habits, behaviors and what the consumer wants from the brand. Once the information is gathered, the advertiser can see which advertisement is most popular and on which channel to advertise what product—in order to get the most clicks.

Google alone has nearly 30 billion ad impressions daily, so it’s unsurprising that digital ads are the most relevant for the average consumer. As the pandemic rages on, new research shows that even with the vaccine it will be years before things go back to normal. Online shopping and convenience is quickly becoming the new normal and being able to target a key demographic is essential. With the advancement of technology behind targeted ads, even with new privacy rules—brands will be able to pull the necessary data to continue to optimize ads in a personal manner for Millennials and Gen Zers.