What form will the advertising mix take once COVID-19 is over? How and where should brands advertise to boost E-Commerce? Should they trust Live Sports to come back in a major way? How can brand marketers best approach Data Privacy Regulations, First Party Data and Personalization?…. Advertisers have many questions as they go into 2021 and beyond. Check out the answers provided by brand executives in the Portada network and our editorial team. A Q&A reflecting the Advertising and Marketing Zeitgeist.
MY FIRST QUESTION is WTF I can’t plan much in this environment. When will COVID-19 finally be over?
ANSWER: Don’t expect live to resemble anything close to what we had in 2019 until the second half of 2021.
Good to know: Customers are the lifeblood of business and advertising is the main tool to attract new customers and an important way to retain them. In 2020 business conditions changed dramatically due to COVID-19. This substantially impacted advertising with an expected decrease of U.S. advertising revenue of 17% for 2020 (excluding political advertising, Magna Global);a miserable advertising year.
OK, but EVEN WHEN COVID IS OVER, how will the new normal impact my advertising and marketing?
ANSWER: Whether you are a company that is not directly facing the consumer or a Direct to Consumer firm, E-Commerce marketing and advertising will be much more important for you compared to pre-Covid-19 levels.(e.g. check out how automotive marketer Cadillac has worked proactively to adapt its advertising and marketing.)
Good to know: COVID has brought enormous changes in the way consumers inform themselves and buy products and has accelerated digital transformation and e-commerce. In January 2020, eMarketer forecast total U.S. ecommerce sales would reach US $674.88 billion in 2020, but a revised estimate puts that figure at US $794.50 billion or 17.7% more than expected! E-commerce skyrocketed from 12% to 16% of retail sales in only one year. Note that there is still a lot of room for e-commerce growth!
On the Relentless Ascent of E-Commerce Focused Advertising
I can see that it makes sense to put more money to work to grow E-COMMERCE, BUT WHERE EXACTLY SHOULD I DO THIS? Should I invest in advertising to attract buyers to my own website, to a third party marketplace or to direct them to social selling?
ANSWER: Most brand marketers in the Portada knowledge-sharing network see sales channels as complementary and not competing. “The key is to be omnichannel in order to be where customers need us to be,” one brand marketer says. Another thing to take into account in your advertising is that third party marketplaces (e.g. Amazon, but also Target or Walmart) are impacting brand messaging. It is crucial for brands to be in control of messaging. As social media becomes even more connected with e-commerce, Influencer marketing is becoming more sales driven. (According to Statista, global Instagram influencer marketing amounted to US $ $8,08 billion in 2020.)
Good to know: Amazon (37% sales growth in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3), vs Q3 2019) and other online retailers including Best Buy (23% Q3 2020 vs. Q3 2019 ) and Target (21.3% growth) have gained an enormous power as third party marketplaces who provide data and marketing services to brands. So have delivery and pick-up services like Instacart (grocery), Grubhub (restaurants) and others. All these intermediaries offer marketers opportunities to advertise their products on their apps and websites. In addition, social media properties are playing a crucial role in sending shoppers to company websites and also offer direct sales integrations (e.g. Instagram has just debuted shopping capabilities within its recently launched Reels feature).
Magna estimates that driven by ecommerce and advertisers looking for “lower funnel” attribution, U.S. digital media revenue grew by 10% in 2020, reaching US $140 billion.
WHAT ABOUT THE TOP OF THE FUNNEL. Is there no place for branding and awareness anymore?
ANSWER: “While digital media and e-commerce have changed and shortened the customer’s path to purchase, brand awareness continues to be the basis for consideration and purchase. Broadcast TV and other traditional media forms, including Out of Home Advertising, continue to have major reach and appeal for advertisers.
Good to know: Magna forecasts that in 2021, with a COVID vaccine and the postponed Olympics, global advertising will rebound. The agency forecasts the global ad spend to increase by 7.6% to US $612 billion. Linear media, which is mostly awareness-top of the funnel oriented, will grow by 3.5%.
Where is Experiential Marketing Going?
Corporate America used to utilize in-person Live Sports events to obtain high reach and engagement. Will that again be the case once COVID is over or will VIRTUAL EVENTS, INCLUDING E-SPORTS, STILL PLAY A MAJOR ROLE?
ANSWER: “You will definitely see more of a mix as the world returns to normal of virtual vs. in-person events relative to how things worked prior to Covid,” Michael Goldstein, VP and Head of sponsorships North America at Mastercard recently told Portada.
Good to know: The pandemic produced a huge drop in live sports ratings (e.g. a decline of 49% in NBA finals and 61% in NHL finals) as the absence or scarcity of fans in the stands may have dulled the excitement around watching events. Approximately US $ 1 billion in advertising expenditures were lost.
Advertising: How can Ad-Tech and MarTech Help?
DATA PRIVACY REGULATIONS are making it more difficult to target consumers. How can I solve this in 2021 and beyond?
ANSWER: Contextual targeting technology provides a data privacy-friendly alternative to behavioral targeting, It can help a brand understand what a consumer might like without needing personally identifiable information. Contextual targeting uses linguistic elements and the advertisements themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the context of what a user is looking at (e.g. check out Tecate’s new campaign). Contextual targeting can also be useful for performance marketing efforts.
Good to know: Data privacy regulations and third party cookie phase-outs have digital advertisers scrambling for solutions to maintain campaign efficiency and scale without the regulation compromising behavioral targeting technology.
Nice to know…but I think my company should also obtain FIRST PARTY DATA as a major way to get customer insights. Don’t you think so?
ANSWER: Brands can gain a lot by unifying first-party data sources into a single customer view in a Customer Data Platform, CDP, although the platforms may not necessarily do everything a marketer expects them to do.
Good to know: Marketers will need to shift from reliance on third-party data for audience targeting and campaign measurement to a new model improving the way they collect, manage, and activate their first-party data. Ogilvy head of experience technology, Jason Davey, sees digital marketing strategies shifting to prioritize first-party data as the looming cookie crisis gets real. Due to technological advances, multi-channel data collection, attribution, curation, enrichment and decisioning has become more accessible and affordable.
How does this all connect with my increased need to PERSONALIZE CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS?
ANSWER:The appropiate use of CDPs will continue to drive the hyper-personalisation trend, with more interest in Artificial Intelligence including predictive data analysis.
Good to know: Recent Salesforce research found customers increasingly anticipate personalized interactions at every stage of their buyer’s journey, from brand awareness through purchase and potentially on to retention and brand advocacy.
Sounds interesting. Another question I have is if I should invest more in CONNECTED TV (CTV). While the audience watching CTV is huge why are CTV advertising investment volumes so small?
ANSWER: CTV is clearly on the rise, as are other forms of video advertising, yet more sophisticated CTV measurement options “are key – and that will allow us to measure viewership and frequency across screens more easily,” Darcy Bowe, SVP, Media Director at Starcom USA tells Portada.
Good to know: CTV household penetration lies at 80% and Pay-TV’s at 62%, yet CTV advertising is expected in 2021 to amount to only 15% of total US TV ad spending.
How can Segment and Purpose Driven Advertising Really Work?
How should I approach marketing toward ETHNIC POPULATION GROUPS in 2021 and beyond?
ANSWER: “The change that I would like to see for 2021 and beyond is to move away from total market strategies that try to find places of commonalities and a move towards diverse segment lead strategies, that are intentional and focused on the most authentic and relevant messages to build brand affinity and product usage with diverse segments as the designed target”, says Larissa Acosta, Integrated Marketing Consumer + Diverse Segments Team Leader at Wells Fargo.
Good to know: Over the last decade Corporate Americas has used the Total Market approach (TMA). This approach integrates diverse segment considerations and mostly leads to a full cross-cultural approach and campaigns. Critics note that the TMA is not effective for multicultural marketing and that the real reason companies use TMA is that they realize savings in their advertising expense and marketing organizations.
OK. I do want to TARGET THE HISPANIC POPULATION specifically and support media properties that cater to those communities. How can I advertise toward the Hispanic segment in a cost effective way. I mean Facebook and other platforms tend to be cheaper and have a lot of reach?
ANSWER: “We have found creative ways to nurture our multicultural media partners to ensure they serve us in various different ways vs just ROI. Media partnerships like Hispanicize and Revolt are great examples of how partners have been able to work with us to meet those goals. We have increased our spend to support diverse communities and partnerships.”, says Alexis Kerr, Head of Multicultural Marketing | Strategy, Content and Execution, at Cadillac.
Good to Know: Brands are often asked to invest in media properties that serve diverse communities. Yet, these media properties may not have enough reach to justify a media spend on ROI terms. (It also has to be said that while the cost of advertising in social media is lower, it not always guarantees brand safety.)
RACISM AND INEQUITY are major factors behind civic unrest. How should I be mindful of this in my brand’s advertising?
ANSWER: “It is counterproductive for a company to advertise if it does not commit to social and economic change by incorporating diversity, racial justice and social equity mandates and their execution. This should include executive leadership and personnel selection, an ecologically sound production process as well as diversity in vendors.
Good to know: Covid-19 exposed a historic cycle of systematic racism and oppression as civil unrest hit many U.S. cities in 2020. More than 35% of young consumers (aged 19-26) have stopped shopping from a brand who has not spoken out against racism (Oberland Survey, August 2020).