Editor’s note: Wayne Huang is research Manager at Twitter, Chicago. Olivier Tilleuil is founder and CEO at marketing research firm EyeSee, New York. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “How AI can help marketers reach the distracted generation.”

The transition from traditional to online media channels has undoubtedly changed the rules for advertisers – especially when the target groups are made up of Millennials (or Generation Y), the generation behind one of the biggest disruptions in media consumption. Content might still be king but what if there’s no one to crown it? To discover the secret of engaging and striking content, Twitter and EyeSee analyzed different advertising setups using AI technologies that track people’s emotions and gaze via Webcam.

Getting through to the mobile-first generation. During the 1960s and the 1970s, television was one of the most important mediums for disseminating information, delivering entertainment and fostering socialization. Half a century later, 47 percent of Gen Xers and Millennials do not watch traditional television, while every third household is without a cable or satellite subscription. The smartphone has become the new pivotal gadget and now we have multiple screens fighting for our attention.

Shifting the research spotlight to the subconscious. Although Millennials have distinct consumer habits, they are as bad at self-reporting as any generation before them – they struggle with articulating their emotions, they are afraid of social judgment and, ultimately, cannot always grasp the actual reasoning behind their actions. However, behavioral research methods based on AI – such as eye-tracking and facial coding – can provide information on how different marketing content stimulates the brain, whether it evokes emotions and how those emotions impact final purchase behavior.

Marketers have merely moments to make an impact. While scrolling through social media, it is impossible to devote more than a split second of attention to each content piece. This means that marketers have a very short time frame to make an impression and they are not only competing with other brand but with updates from friends, followers, media outlets and many others.

This is exactly why news feeds can work in advertisers’ favor, as ads are placed between very engaging content. Here are the key takeaways presented by Twitter and EyeSee at The Market Research Event in Orlando:

1. Context matters. Millennials demand a seamless user experience and do not appreciate being interrupted. Marketing messages need to be integrated into relevant context – for example, a sports brand ad inserted into a sports news feed. According to Twitter and EyeSee, this can increase stopping power by 42 percent, lead to higher emotional engagement by 24 percent and drive 26 percent more people to act. The same principle applies even if the advertiser is not relevant – the creative solution needs to fit into the relevant surroundings.

2. Maximize branding. Consumers want to be aware of who they are conversing with. Using clear, visible branding in posts and featured content (i.e., a logo/product with a hashtag is better than a solo logo or product) can positively affect ad credibility as well as impact brand image and the likelihood of purchase intent. The same goes for CTA – a simple, direct message about the ideal strategies for boosting consumer-brand interaction which will, ultimately, yield the best result.

3. Product as a creative element. Storytelling is vital for successful advertising but not more important than the product itself. For example, a holiday celebration in a family setting might elicit emotion but showing a person giving a gift can increase ad impact. Rather than creating the perfect scenery, marketers should focus on highlighting the product within the right context.

The information jungle

We have a long way to go before AI can create snappy slogans but it can help navigate content toward the customer through the information jungle. We can look at concrete data that gives us a glimpse into how people consume content and how that impacts their decision-making process.