RIYADH: This year has seen some areas of media and advertising – think outdoor – rewind a few years while others, such as digital media, have jumped decades ahead.
As the media industry stands on the brink of a new year, it finds itself at a significant turning point.
Market research firm Kantar has released its latest report with media predictions and strategies for the next year to help advertisers navigate this rapidly evolving space.
Serge Lupas, global CEO of Kantar’s media division, said: “What comes next? It is never easy to predict, and especially so this year. Our Media Trends and Predictions 2021 aim to support you in what is a relative uncertain future.
“They support us too, guiding us in the development of the services we offer our clients, the narratives we can deploy, and in how we can help bring the industry together.”
Here are the 10 predictions for 2021:
1. The boomerang subscriber: Consumers increasingly see video-on-demand subscriptions as interchangeable, pushing the streaming wars to a new level. A total of 74 percent of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) subscribers mainly watch new series but with content now available across multiple platforms, and a finite amount consumers are willing and able to spend, they increasingly need to make a choice. Content aggregators will take center stage to unlock new customer acquisition strategies and collaboration is essential for long-term success.
2. The audience in the stream: Togetherness has grown in importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting TV co-viewing. A deeper understanding of co-viewing, with its overlaps and migrations between streaming platforms, is needed, and media trading currencies must reflect the totality of audience behavior. Content providers and platforms must work together especially as media companies such as Disney move their streaming business to the heart of their growth strategy.
3. The social media dilemma: Consumers trust the news and information they see in print (plus 25 percent) far more than that on social media (minus 16 percent). And yet, social media advertising is the most cost-effective medium for advertising and will continue to grow. However, with 75 percent of consumer touchpoints coming from outside the paid media sphere, social media alone will not build a relationship with the audience leading to brands becoming more open-minded and dynamic in their media and comms planning, breaking down silos to create campaigns that reach across channels, and using influencers strategically.
4. E-commerce and media: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated double-digit e-commerce growth globally. Roughly 50 percent of consumers are less inclined to shop in person this holiday season, for example, but 40 percent are more willing to shop online. Retailers and traditional search engines still play an essential role in this phase – in the US, 50 percent of shoppers discover their brands on Google, and 63 percent visit Amazon.com or Walmart.com for initial product research. In order to achieve an efficient omnichannel media presence to influence consumers at all stages of their consumer journey, brands will have to use data to activate consumers across all touchpoints including social media while bearing in mind retail media’s importance in driving awareness and consideration.
5. Infused analytics: The global health crisis has led to consumers re-evaluating the brands they buy heightening their sense of social justice and environmental responsibility. As brands adapt strategies to deliver results with smaller budgets, there will be growth in the use of analytics to drive optimal investments. Measurement that certifies and optimizes content quality before airing will be important, and there will be a more central role for corporate sponsorships, experiential events, and philanthropic efforts that generate earned media opportunities to reach consumers.
6. Tough cookies: While 2021 is the year that digital ad spend is forecast to become dominant globally, the digital ad world gets tougher to target and measure due to the impending inability to track and target via third-party cookies. Google’s Chrome browser will phase out cookies over the next 18 months or so, and Apple will only allow access to consented users’ IDFAs (identity for advertisers) from early 2021. This will result in a new hybrid ad effectiveness measurement system, combining privacy-compliant direct integration, probabilistic and analytics-based modeling to achieve a holistic view of campaigns.
7. Democratizing data: Media data is being used and shared more systematically within organizations, but media professionals need access to broader data sets for better decision-making and opportunity recognition. It is not just enough to have customized data that is tailored to a particular need, but also data platforms must be open source so that brands can own integrations with multiple programmatic partner platforms.
8. From activism to action: Brand purpose has never been more important with one study showing that acting responsibly was the single-largest influence on a brand’s reputation (49 percent). As advertiser boycotts have shown, a far closer alignment between what brands claim and the channel mix chosen is increasingly important. In 2021, the shift from talk to action will move up a gear and this applies to brands as well as media owners i.e. publishers.
9. Creative context takes center stage: Context is more important than ever as media spend shifts rapidly across channels. Within smaller budgets, digital media – especially online video – is the winner. In a quest for differentiation, advertisers and agencies will accelerate their adoption of the latest media channels and formats. Content creators will need to focus their efforts on the platforms that provide the best value for them, rather than trying to customize content to every platform.
10. Audience behaviors, industry dynamics – stick or twist? In-home media consumption has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but questions remain over how long these habits will last and the challenge this poses for advertisers seeking to optimize their media buys. Global research shows that the pandemic’s impact on ad spend patterns – mainly digital investment – will continue. Meanwhile, consumer behaviors are returning to the old normal and the stick or twist will vary by audience, media, and category.