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Video: Does Age Matter With Ads and Branded Content?

How important are age-specific audience demographics in determining branding and advertising strategy with sponsored online video? How careful and aggressive are marketing strategists in adapting their branding efforts to what they know about millennials, Gen Z, and other target audiences when it comes to establishing a visible or comparably subtle branding presence in their published content? AwesomenessTV's Max Polisar and AOL Partner Studios' Drea Bernardi offer their takes in this excerpt from their panel at Streaming Media East 2016.

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Read the transcript of the clip above:

Max Polisar: We have a big distribution footprint and we're programming for Gen Z. Naturally we stretch up into those that are aspiring and down to those that are aspiring. I think you have a psychographic change between the younger millennials who are in their very early 20s to the older Gen Zed who are going to be graduating college in a year or so. Marketers clearly like that 18-24 year old demographic or it stretches even beyond that and you've got two types of temperaments within that.

Our strategy has been to program a lot of content aimed at hitting both of those interests. When it comes to brand of the entertainment, the rule of thumb is you have to give somebody value. Their engagement or their dwell time or the watch through is actually the reward for us producing something that's of value. If that has a brand in it or doesn't have a brand in it that sort of formula still needs to transpire because it's very easy to swipe, click, get distracted. In order to ascertain that engagement and I think key metric on that is like watch through time. There's a lot of people, if you look at your own social feeds, that you don't like and comment on everything that you observe and the things that you do observe actually garnered you to pause.

We have a lot of mobile viewers on everything, naturally, but when you pause as an individual on the things that capture your attention there's a value. You're either having that with your friend, your mom, a publisher--it doesn't really matter; it's platform-agnostic. Those brands, they can either come forward and say, "Hey, we are enabling this content and now we're going to let you get in that experience and get that value and/or we're going to be into this content but the value of the content's going to be so great that we're not going to disrupt it with an informational message."

I think to bring it to the demographic point the younger you go, to the college, high school set, the 17 or 18 year old, does not want to be disrupted.

You look at some of the ad duration formats, like we went from 30-second spots in television to 30-second spots on the internet to 16 seconds, to now there are publishers experimenting with shorter forms because the art of getting in front of your audience is one thing but you don't want to disrupt them. I think once you hit to the Gen Z you cannot be interruptive all the time, you really have to add value if you're going to be a brand and you want to transcend them to actually sharing, encourage engagement or watch through the whole experience.

Drea: Younger people, even before millennials, they don't care about selling out. They're much more interested in the creator and the person that is bringing them the content. My generation, my parent's generation, they're a little bit more hesitant. They don't want ... They see a brand and they're like, "What did you do? I'm turning it off." It's really about knowing your audience and knowing the levels of integration that your audience are going to be comfortable with so that you don't freak them out and have them go somewhere else.

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