It’s most certainly a year of “more.” More of some established areas, more of some fairly new areas, but both areas I expect to grow hugely this year.
What are the main trends that signal we can indeed be cheerful about where digital advertising growth is concerned? I have identified 10. In my last blog, I shared the first five and here are the final five. (If you missed that, click here to see it).
1. More work around the demise of first-party cookies
As most of us know by now, the GDPR and CCPA have been approved as law to limit the way all companies (media or otherwise) use customers’ data.
Many companies have been fined large amounts of money due to violation of user privacy for example Amazon (US$877m), Google (US$56m), British Airways (US$26m). So beware!
Cookies allow advertisers to collect all manner of data to help them analyse and personalise their advertising campaigns. But with the end of third-party, companies will only be able to rely on their own (first-party) collected data.
This will force advertisers to be careful re which data they collect and how it is used. Although the reality of all this is still uncertain presently, there are, in my mind, three considerations to think about right now:
- Begin to be more creative to get first-party data in every customer touch point where possible (still allowing, of course, for customer consent).
- Make sure you are open with customers to make them give you that data, i.e. be transparent as to why you want it.
- As part of being transparent, allow your customers to change their mind easily about what they want to give you.
2. More commerce (mobile and social)
With every day that passes, we find ourselves living in an ever increasing “mobile” world. Mobile devices will absolutely play a much bigger part in consumer behaviour.
A good example worth following is Amazon. The company launched Amazon Pay, its own proprietary, online payment service, which reduces customer friction, particularly at checkout. Their online merchants get simple and easy access to millions of Amazon customers with this service. It’s the way forward. Simple, easy, “few clicks as possible,” commerce. It benefits customers and merchants. The user experience is first-class. A future standard for sure for everyone else to follow.
It seems to me the things to think about are: make your Web site responsive, use mobile payments when you can, make the call-to-action prominent in the creative, and make the experience something they will want to come back to.
Social commerce (which could also be mobile of course)
Two social platforms have brought new life to “social commerce,” namely Instagram & TikTok.
Instagram has 1 billion users; 90% of them already follow commerce brands, with many visiting profiles on a daily basis. Features some brands are using now are “Live Shopping” (ie live streaming), Reels Ads (a bit like stories ads), and Instagram Checkout (a frictionless/secure way to sell services and products on Instagram. Again, make the experience valued and easy, and people will come and spend more with you.
TikTok also has around 1 billion users. Recently, TikTok Shopping has emerged on the scene. This gives brands/creators the opportunity to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profile. Then an integration with Shopify pulls products from the Shopify product catalogue and shows them on the relevant TikTok profile (similar to Instagram’s Shop Tab). Thus far, TikTok Shopping is only available to Shopify merchants with a TikTok for Business account from here in the UK and in the USA. But expect this trend to expand in the coming months ahead.
3. More live streaming
Video seems to be the future of social media, but live streaming is the most preferred video marketing channel. Indeed, the live-streaming industry is predicted to reach US$183 billion (by 2027). Huge.
Research shows 80% of consumers say they prefer watching live video (to reading blogs) and 63% of Millennials watch live streaming content on a regular basis. (Read here about what consumers want.)
Additionally, consumers spend three times longer watching live videos compared to pre-recorded videos. They want unique content with a chance to connect with brand. Instagram has recently “uped” its live streaming with the launch of Live Rooms. This enables users to run a live stream with up to three people.
YouTube and Facebook both also have live-streaming services (both called Live). I believe this will become a new revenue stream for media companies in 2022 as they seek out revenue share deals with the likes of Netflix, Spotify, et al. But we shall see.
4. More podcasts
Whether they are produced by individuals or companies, podcasts have become very popular, and like many other areas, particularly since the pandemic started. I recall a moment personally about four or five years ago when I thought, in and age of video, what’s the point of audio offerings? How wrong I was. They say it’s all about timing sometimes, and re technology, it certainly is with the likes of VR, AR, XR, etc. I would add podcasts to that list, too.
And now, since Google recently had added the display of podcast episodes in its search engine results pages (SERPs), it seems podcasting is here for at least the foreseeable future, possibly for good.
As the likes of Alexa and other voice-enabled services/devices have emerged, so podcasts have benefitted from this. And in the process, they can raise brand awareness and/or audience engagement for a media company or advertiser.
Podcasts have their limits, of course. Being “in the airwaves,” listeners may not be tempted as much into a call-to-action such as, “Please go to our Web site and register.” It might be one step too far for some? Nevertheless, there is a bush fire here for podcasters. And if you’re thinking of entering the space, I would say one thing to consider is making sure it’s easy to listen to, i.e. don’t necessarily ask for log-in to join or to download it. Not to begin with anyhow. Easy does it.
5. Native advertising (aka sponsored content)
Finally, but not least in importance, is it a surprise to say that people hate online ads? It is estimated that 3/4m people globally have enabled an ad blocker to avoid advertisements. Therefore, more creatively is needed to, and here is that phrase again: “Enhance the user experience” and have them value our offerings.
Amid many other options, advertisers are discovering the power of native advertising (or sponsored content).
Native ads are a non-disruptive, blended into editorial form of digital advertising in which ads are seamlessly blended into the design of the Web page it appears on. Consumers usually can’t easily distinguish native ads from the main content in which they appear, which in the cold light of day suggests it is conning or misleading the reader. There are two sides of the debate on this, but as long and the content is clearly labelled as an advertisement, there should be little bad reaction.
I think there is still resistance within some editorial circles to the “infiltration” into journalism. However, that is changing with more commercially minded editors, the bringing down of internal departmental silos, and the general realisation that this is an important future revenue source that can help assist with the loss of print revenues, secure future jobs, and help drive a new, modern media company’s impactful and strategic mix of reader interests.
As a result, and in conclusion, native ads will without doubt continue to flourish in their popularity and become an obvious inclusion in many media planners’ advertising strategies.
And many of these native campaigns will be built for advertisers within a growing trend of news media company strictures, that is within branded content studios, which will be the subject of my next newsletter.
To leave you with for now, I wanted to share a quote.
I love this comment (pic below) from way back in the 1950s in a print article called the “The Case for Creativity.” A prophetic quote maybe, many, many years before native advertising even existed:
It sums up today’s media advertising so well.
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