A survey by Yahoo! and ad giant BBDO says advertisers need to raise their game in “owned media” like brand.com sites to woo consumers.

The companies surveyed 1,000 consumers and marketers and dressed their findings in a dating metaphor, advising advertisers to think of paid media (advertising) as a “first date”—a shot at catching the consumer’s attention—and owned media as a way to “get closer” to the consumer.

“Consumers want to experience brands more fully for themselves in order to determine their level of attachment,”  the study noted. “They are deciding if they want to associate with the brand, spend more time with it and get to know it better. In short, they need a reason to stay.”

Doing so means not only giving the brand’s price, product attributes and proof points but also its history, quirky details and interesting stories—telling consumers why they should care about it, said the survey.

“Owned media is where marketers have an opportunity to get consumers to take action and to stay,” they said. “Here is where storytelling should be at its best.”

Great brands were compared to “an interesting person at a party,” but the danger is coming off like the bore who drones on  about himself. Forty-nine percent of consumer respondents said they shut out “aggressively advertised” brands for which they hear one ad over and over, and 82% said they ignore those they see as overly intrusive.

Earned media—whether generated by PR or unprompted consumer reviews—is where consumers settle down and go steady with brands, the study said.

“Marketers are facing new challenges in their efforts to tell more effective brand stories across the complex landscape of paid, owned and earned media,” said Simon Bond, Chief Marketing Officer for BBDO. “A new model emerged from our study that suggests how marketers can shape their stories within each of these media that, at its core, is akin to creating ultimate love stories. Further analysis revealed that viewing storytelling on POE through the prism of a dating relationship can help marketers increase their chances for success.”