The Art of Capturing Attention in Online Retail Media

“I have to make a quick stop at M & S!”

Physical retail stores have long held a cherished position in the hearts and minds of consumers. Long-established connections and dedicated trips for specific products from specific places. 

However, over the past two decades, we’ve witnessed a remarkable shift as this connection has migrated to the online world. We’ve come a long way from the launch of Amazon and eBay’s marketplace to now, where retail brands have online stores, intuitive shopping experiences, and an omnichannel marketing strategy to match. Today, as we effortlessly shop with a touch on our smartphones, a key question arises: How can brands stand out in a highly competitive online marketplace?

Inspiration-Led Journeys

Discovering something new – not researching a product/brand – is growing as an important part of a shopper’s purchase journey. According to Global Web Index, Gen Z are more likely to go online to find new ideas and inspiration (49%) than to research products and brands (41%).  People want brands to get their attention and inspire, but it takes finding the right ways to do so.

The Role of Ad Placement: From Window-Shopping to Clicks

One effective way to capture the attention of existing and new audiences is by placing ads on trusted websites that match the interests of your audience. However, this approach comes with a challenge: audiences are usually deeply engaged in the content they come to see. If the ad is too plain, it goes unnoticed; if it’s too intrusive, audiences ignore it. This challenge can make or break a retail marketing campaign. 

Ad placement at its best should be the online equivalent of window shopping. Just as window displays give customers a good feel for what your shop is about, your placement acts as the digital storefront to entice potential customers. Indeed, your store’s positioning in a high-traffic area is important, but it’s equally important to know what draws them in to explore further. The same applies in digital advertising, using prime real estate and knowing what encourages audience engagement.  

Interactive Experiences that Create Connection

Interactive experiences in physical stores are often facilitated by product displays, in-store events, and showcases, or helpful staff who provide personalized recommendations or assistance. Shoppers can physically touch, try, and test products for a tactile experience that creates connection.

But that’s not limited to in-store experiences. Digital advertising and its various formats captivate the attention of online shoppers by enabling them to virtually interact with products and explore features from the comfort of their own devices, while providing a more engaging and informative journey. These experiences also provide audience insight to make them more personalized and engaging – not just to prime audiences for action but to optimize campaigns and make your brand memorable. 

Onyx and Brand Studio: A “Game-Changer” for Retail Brands

The fusion of creativity and engagement in high-attention moments is what makes Onyx and Brand Studio an integral avenue for retail brands and their marketing strategy. Onyx functions as a branding platform specifically aimed at enhancing brand impact through display and video ads by optimizing for user attention. We’ve created new in-article placements that appear as audiences gradually scroll through page content, in the moment when they are ready to explore something new. Meanwhile, our Brand Studio team continuously creates custom, data-led experiences that break through the clutter and spark audience interaction.

German retailer, Breuninger, is a great example of that combination for the brand’s upper-funnel goals. The custom format that was used, known as ‘Swipe Away,’ was the perfect user-driven experience where a simple swipe triggered a campaign video and invited users to explore further:

“Working with Brand Studio for our Spring/Summer campaign was a game-changer. Their collaboration brought a fresh perspective, crafting custom-designed experiences that engaged open internet audiences and elevated our brand building goals. Utilizing non-standard display formats, and the strategic blending of existing creative assets in unique ways, has been instrumental at cutting through the digital clutter. When time came for our new Autumn/Winter campaign, there was no question that we would re-engage Brand Studio to refresh and remake the ‘Swipe Away’ experience – now powered with the new, high-attention Onyx environments and technology.” – Teresa Schmitt, Head of Performance Marketing, Breuninger

Online attention is undeniably a crucial and increasingly challenging element for retail brands to secure. As brands continue to seek new ways to engage audiences, the answer to the fundamental question starts at the heart of advertising: by placing your audience at the center, your brand will be the center of attention.

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