millennial female consumer staring at ads on mobile phone

Uncovering the Future of Advertising with Xandr

millennial female consumer staring at ads on mobile phone

Founded by Alexander Graham Bell, AT&T is no stranger to innovation. At its first annual Relevance Conference last month, AT&T shared its vision for the future of advertising with the launch of Xandr, a new company that keeps consumers at the center of advertising initiatives, better personalizing ad experiences using data and technology.

Xandr’s commitment to providing the best advertising experience is evident in the key role consumer research plays in their strategy and planning. We recently partnered with Xandr on a foundational study exploring the state of consumer attention in today’s vast media ecosystem and how to maximize relevance given the volume of premium video content available. Our research began with virtual attention diaries followed by a robust quantitative study surveying 3,022 viewers. We then dove deeper with ethnographies surfacing the human complexities and nuanced consumer perspectives that shape ad experiences.

The research highlighted a tension we all inevitably feel — that we live in a tug-of-war between what we have to do and what we want to do.


77 percent of consumers say the majority of their day is driven by what they have to do.

In today’s accelerating world, more than three-quarters of us feel that most of our daily lives are governed by unavoidable routines and responsibilities. As a result, we look everywhere for escape — and often find it through “snacking” on content. From social media to streaming, linear TV, and beyond, today’s expanding content ecosystem serves up the fun, surprising, mood-boosting moments we crave in our everyday lives.


68 percent of consumers say they spend most of their free time engaging with content.

With more content creators and platforms than ever before, the sheer volume of content consumers want to keep up with across channels leaves little patience for content that doesn’t add value — which often means advertising.

However, there is good news for advertisers. Although 57 percent of consumers don’t currently find advertising relevant to them, a much larger number — 70 percent — do like it when advertising goes beyond selling a product, and 66 percent express a desire for ads to be more relevant to their interests and lifestyles. We believe that this represents an untapped opportunity to better connect with consumers as technology catches up and enables advertisers to navigate the complexity of consumer relevance needs.

Read more in the Xandr Relevancy Report.


We’d love to share more about how our unique expertise and solutions can help your business move forward. Drop us a line here, and we’ll be in touch!

Young male concert fans cheering

Harnessing the Power of Fandom

Young male concert fans cheering

Media and entertainment companies have always understood the power of fandoms. But in today’s rapidly changing landscape of consumers moving from passive purchasers to influential advocates, brands across industries are realizing the need to identify who their fans are and how best to engage with them.

Throughout our extensive work with media and entertainment clients and audiences, we’ve explored  what fandom looks like and how it creates value. From our work with diverse media audiences, we know that today’s fan communities are motivated by content, experiences, and products that appeal to their passions, interests, and identities. The most valuable and engaged fan groups use brands as a badge of honor to self-identify. They help shape a brand’s offer and products, and will evangelize on behalf of brands.

The influence of fandoms on consumer trends and purchase decisions will continue to grow. Brands are now faced with an opportunity to turn organic fan communities into their strongest marketing tool.


Defining ‘Fandom’

Through social analysis and a quantitative study, we took a deep look into the world of fandoms across beauty, alcohol, snacks, media, and OTT brands to discover who they are and why they buy. We started by exploring where the lines between unengaged, casual, and fan/super-fan are.

We found that fans are consumers who have not only purchased the product but also:

  • Self-identified with the brand
  • Participated in the wider conversation
  • Spread the word

Fans hold such power because they are much more than consumers: they are advocates and influencers. When they self-identify with brands (e.g., Aerie through its “real women” models and Fenty through its wide spectrum of foundation colors), their engagement with brands on social platforms is more likely to represent an intent to purchase. By participating in wider conversations, they become brand advocates and champions, often leading to real change (e.g., when Brooklyn Nine Nine fans took to social media to save the show). And when they truly love a product, they share it with friends, who in turn are more likely to become fans themselves because it was personally recommended.


Drivers of Fandom

After exploring who the fans were and what distinguished them from casual or unengaged consumers, we dug deeper to understand what drives them to become fans. While there is a wider array of specific drivers, we can cluster them into three core benefit areas:

  1. Ongoing Innovation – the brand continues to offer new products and services that excite consumers
  2. Buzz and Evangelism – consumers are often telling others about how great the brand is
  3. Cultural/Value Fit – the brand is at the forefront of culture

When a brand delivers on these benefits, consumers are more likely to convert to fans, and even more than this – move up the value chain towards being a Super Fan. By constantly striving to deliver these three core drivers, brands can ensure that their fan base will continue to grow and connections with the brand deepen.


Finding and Activating Fans

While fandoms share these common characteristics, not all fans are the same, and each brand needs to understand its own category’s eco-system to truly thrive. In order to effectively fuel a fan base, a company should follow these steps:

steps of fueling fandom activate fans infographic

By understanding who their fans are and what drives them, companies across markets can capitalize on their influence through effective cross-channel engagement. By harnessing the power of their fans, brands’ efforts can be effectively amplified for sustainable, valuable growth.


We’d love to share more about how our unique expertise and solutions can help your business move forward. Drop us a line here, and we’ll be in touch!

September: Amazon Will Have Biggest Impact on Media Rights Deals

1. Which of the following companies will have the biggest impact on media rights deals within the next five years?

Amazon – 64%
Google – 8%
Facebook – 8%
A new company in the field – 5%
Apple – 3%
Hulu – 1%
Twitch – 1%
Twitter – 1%
Not sure / No response – 9%

2. As a brand executive, what percentage of sponsorship rights fees would you budget for measurement and valuation? (Write-in response)


3. Who does a better job of measuring the effectiveness of sponsorships?

The brand – 62%
The property – 29%
Not sure / No response – 9%

4. How will the competitive balance in the NBA look in ten years?

Centered around a few super teams – 73%
Equitable talent distribution – 24%
Not sure / No response – 3%

5. In ten years, what will be the role of individual NBA players in marketing by sponsors?

Bigger role – 52%
The same role as today – 40%
Smaller role – 5%
Not sure / No response – 3%

6. How many, if any, teams will be added to the NBA by 2028?

0 – 20%
1 – 9%
2-3 – 57%
4-5 – 2%
6+ – 1%
Not sure / No response – 11%

7. Has the recent Nike ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick helped or hurt Nike’s brand?

Helped – 59%
Hurt – 21%
No effect – 15%
Not sure / No response – 5%

8. Which major sports league is most likely to have a non-U.S. or Canadian franchise first?

NFL – 47%
NBA – 21%
MLS – 17%
MLB – 9%
NHL – 2%
Not sure / No response – 4%

9. As the NHL looks to diversify their fan base, who should spearhead the initiative?

The league office – 51%
Individual teams – 45%
Not sure / No response – 4%

10. Which of the following tactics would be most impactful on growing the NHL’s fan base?

Outreach programs to get more people playing hockey – 37%
Broader distribution of games on TV / online – 30%
Social media engagement – 14%
Elevating the live experience – 13%
Not sure / No response – 6%

11. Which of the following leagues would most benefit from the introduction of a “Rooney Rule” (NFL’s policy requiring teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations jobs)?

MLB – 36%
NHL – 24%
NBA – 7%
MLS – 4%
Not sure / No response – 29%

12. How many times do you plan to watch the League of Legends World Championships over the course of the tournament in October?

0 – 88%
1 – 6%
2-5 – 3%
6-10 – 0%
11+ – 0%
Not sure / No response – 3%

13. Thinking about your own particular business, what best describes your confidence level regarding the next 12 months for your own business?

7 – Extremely optimistic – 14%
6 – Very optimistic – 35%
5 – Somewhat optimistic – 34%
4 – Neither optimistic nor pessimistic – 12%
3 – Somewhat pessimistic – 3%
2 – Very pessimistic – 3%
1 – Extremely pessimistic – 1%
Not sure / No response – 0%

The Turnkey Sports Poll is a monthly survey of 2,500 sports industry executives representing teams, leagues, governing bodies, facilities, media, events, agencies and brands. The poll covers current events and topics affecting sports business and takes 2-3 minutes to complete. Results are published in the SportsBusiness Journal and on Turnkey’s website. To be considered as a TSP panelist, please click here and enter your business contact information.