One effect of the pandemic on marketing seems to be that marketers have moved on more quickly than consumers. A survey of 4,000 consumers and 700 global marketers across 7 global media markets reveals significant disconnects between how brand marketers see advertising trends and how consumers see them. The study, conducted by Kantar, a data, insights, and consulting company, is the first to reflect on the new post-cookie apocalypse, as well as the effect of the ongoing pandemic on media trends.
If you ask consumers what kinds of ads they like, they still seem to favor advertising on offline media channels like TV and OOH, perhaps because they are less intrusive. While intrusiveness was a concept that occurred often through the study, there were exceptions for certain digital platforms, such as TikTok.
On the other hand, marketers have completely moved on with their budgets, preferring online advertising because they know that’s where they can get reliable data—especially since consumers are at home so much more. Money is leaving print, cinema, and OOH channels and it’s being funneled into online ads more quickly than predicted, and that’s slated to continue into 2021.
Despite political uncertainty, early adopters of TikTok as a digital marketing platform seem to have made the right choice because consumers voted that site #1 in brand equity, followed by Instagram, Snapchat, Google, and Twitter. (Interestingly, Facebook didn’t even score in the top five, despite its reach.)
Kantar’s advice for advertisers and agencies is to reduce the frequency in online channels, where consumers already think there is already too much advertising. The pandemic may have driven households online, but it has also created an environment of purpose-driven consumers who have had plenty of time to think about health, the environment, and corporate social responsibility. Thus, consumers want advertisers to partner with companies that are engaged in social issues and are authentic in the way they present their points of view.
For a brand manager, there’s no one perfect place to advertise because the new generation of advertising must reflect the aspirations of the brand. This means you should pick a media partner that aligns with your brand’s aspirations, rather than a site-based sheerly on the number of visitors. If you’re a serious brand, news sites are for you. If you’re playful, you might prefer TikTok.
This move toward the perfect media partner is driven by the new push for “contextual targeting,” which has replaced cookies as a way to identify the right customers. Contextual targeting is going to drive brand and media partnerships going forward.
If you are a media company, Kantar’s research reveals that all online publishers have to improve their industry reputation for intrusiveness. In other words, the days of endless retargeting are probably over.
Media companies also have the responsibility to innovate their advertising formats regularly to satisfy the needs of marketers and make their platforms “sticky” without the vanished tools like third party data. TikTok has done this well so far; although, their advertising program is still nascent. If your platform is “fun” enough, like TikTok and Instagram, or useful enough, like Pinterest or Twitter, the new trends in contextual marketing should work well for you.