Millenials are showing greater interest in voting, and have a shot at changing the political landscape. Heightened interest means greater online traffic, and more opportunity for publishers to court and capture new readers and fans.
The Pew report shows, on the one hand, how much division there is in the types of sources that Americans turn to for news and information, but it also reveals how important social media, news websites, and apps are to the coveted younger audience. In the graph below, almost 50 percent of respondents aged 18 – 29 report that the most helpful news they get about the election comes from social media or news websites and apps.
Capturing and keeping Millennials
Publishers are under a great deal of pressure to keep readers engaged and moving through their site, but often they’re using clunky, third-party tools or widgets to what a reader should read next, or worse, they’re asking blog contributors or lower-level data entry employees to manually select categories and keywords for this purpose.
You’ve got a very short time to entice a reader to stay on your site, and the key to keeping them there is delivering relevant content options. If a Millennial winds up on your site trying to find out more about Hillary Clinton’s economic platform, and the related links on your site have nothing at all to do with Hillary, or economic policy, or even politics, you’re not going to get her to stay.
Consider this set of recommendations from the bottom of a Forbes.com post titled Hillary Clinton Rolls out her Economic Platform which, as of February 16th, promoted three recommended articles on the Forbes site, one on Oracle’s cloud service, a photo essay of the richest person in each state, and another piece on how to exceed customer expectations. Nothing on economics or politics.
Forbes’ own content recommendations don’t quite strike the right note, either. The site’s “see also” list is as follows, with the most relevant topic at the bottom of a list of hit and miss matches:
- Best Investment Plans
- Economic Forecasts
- Oil Gas INvestments
- Most Profitable Business
- Future Gold Price
- Money Management Tips
- Senator Hillary Clinton
- Hillary Clinton Biography
At the bottom of the page is a series of brightly colored, but even less relevant ads delivered to the Millennial who searched for “Hillary Clinton’s Platform” – do you think any of these items are going to keep our politically-motivated visitor clicking?
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Seems like the word “economic” may have triggered a shallow response and delivered a series of ads that are way out of the scope of what the searcher was looking for.
Building relevance into your site
Forbes is missing opportunities for added page views. Even if we have no additional information, we know that our Millennial is hoping to learn about Hillary’s platform, and while there is plenty of information available on the Forbes site about the election and Clinton’s views, there’s very little for the visitor to discover from this page, and only one suggested topic and not a single ad has to do with the reader’s original query. Why should our impatient twenty-something dig through Forbes when she can just hit “back”, search Google or Bing, and get the info she’s looking for on someone else’s web property?
It’s another example where text classification can be a huge help. Using eContext, Forbes could classify both user searches as well as site content to a single hierarchy of topics — topics such as “Hillary Clinton”, “Public Policy”, or “Economic Sciences”. By connecting the topics a user is searching for with the content in its inventory, Forbes can deliver truly relevant articles and more intelligently place sponsored content. Each page the visitor reads that delivers more relevant content helps the reader build more confidence in Forbes as a destination, and makes her more likely to click on sponsored content and/or return to the Forbes site in the future.
eContext’s taxonomy facilitates interaction on your site by helping you deliver relevant topics. There are more than 450,000 categories, reaching down 21 tiers to help you pull out the topics that are most relevant to your search now.
A recent Time article published by Jared Kleinert and Stacey Ferreira, How 2016 Candidates Can Win Over Millennials, strongly encourages candidates to use ad targeting platforms that will appeal to Millennials. Publishers who can deliver relevance in content and ad delivery will please readers, but their sites will also be a more appealing place for campaign ad spend. This election season, digital ad spending will represent a 5,000 percent increase over the 2008 election and is estimated to reach $1 billion, according to Wired, so making efforts toward more relevant results has the potential to deliver big numbers, particularly if you cater to Millennials.
This election season promises to deliver a great deal of drama, debate, and interest — think of what you can gain by using eContext to help your site deliver better options to readers.