There is no denying that the global pandemic has had an impact on the advertising industry. It has elevated the industry’s current and future ad campaign plans and caused creators to reevaluate their strategies to better suit the changing landscape.
In general, the advertising industry follows the growth or decline of GDP. Like its shape, the advertising market has grown significantly in line with the growing global GDP over the past decade, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). This year, however, the pandemic has drastically reduced ad spending, with the industry facing brutal cuts of nearly $50 billion. As a result, advertisers have had to rethink their campaigns, budgets, messaging and platforms they use.
Here are my thoughts on the top trends for 2021
Increase focus on digital
With consumers spending more time at home, brands are allocating their spend across platforms and formats that reflect changing consumer behavior. This year, we’ve seen more focus shift from traditional media formats to digital media as consumers spend more time at home and online.
This year, we have seen an explosion in e-commerce, streaming services, telemedicine and video conferencing and these have contributed to the acceleration of digital transformation around the world, achieving in a matter of months what previously would have taken a decade. This digital pace shows no signs of slowing down as demand continues to grow. Once a novelty, digital advertising has truly taken over and growing consumer expectations are driving the industry into a new era.
Change in consumer behavior
After months of isolation, Covid-19 has changed the way people live, shop and interact with brands. Consumers have become dependent on online experiences that give brands the opportunity to understand what consumers are doing, thinking and planning and to personalize their experiences. As advertisers, we have the opportunity to take advantage of changes in consumer behavior to match our content to their evolving needs.
There is a huge demand for content right now and this trend will continue well into 2021. Short, easy-to-watch videos such as Instagram Reels and Tik Tok have taken the world by storm as they continue to grow in popularity. And their growing popularity is showing no signs of slowing down.
Brands with a purpose take a stand
Traditionally, brands have drawn a line in the sand on what to discuss and what not to discuss. In 2020, this practice has changed. Politics and racial issues took center stage and brands never shied away from taking a stand on issues that affected their consumers.
With the death of George Floyd, the rise of Black Lives Matter at the forefront of social issues this year, brands decided to get more involved, protesting racial injustice and demonstrating their values. Some brands have shown empathy and acknowledged the problems faced by their consumers, which has made a difference in our industry and how it operates. A recent study by market research firm Kantar found that consumers now expect brands to play an active role in social conversations and are under pressure to express their position.
Cooperation between agencies will increase
In today’s marketplace, advertising organizations realize the importance of collaborating with other agencies to achieve a common goal. Collaboration not only ensures that the end customer receives the best service, but also creates an environment that fosters innovation by combining different disciplines.
Whether it’s a PR firm working with a digital creative firm or an advertising agency working with PR, leveraging each other’s strengths to improve brand awareness and positioning is quickly becoming commonplace. When agencies are aligned around goals and desired outcomes, they can get creative to benefit the client and ultimately increase their reach, performance and impact.