2020 was expected to be a good year for the growth of the advertising sector but with the spread of coronavirus, businesses across sectors have witnessed a downfall rather than growth. While the impact was witnessed on outdoor advertising due to imposed lockdown, digital advertising grew at a significant pace. This largely resulted in recalibrating the entire advertising approach and focusing more on digital ad avenues as consumers were glued to online content. It has also changed the way we perceive digital avenues and has reallocated budgets for an aggressive digital presence. As per a KPMG report, online advertising was expected to see a 12% growth overtaking traditional media like television which will contract by 17% this year. It is fair to say that 2020 was a challenging year for brands and advertisers as the pandemic caused significant economic turmoil. With such scenarios, brands and marketers had to embrace new ways of doing things and changing their media strategies to suit the new consumer habits. As we move closer to 2021, the industry is expected to collectively revive bringing new challenges to our ever-evolving advertising industry.
What has worked for advertisers and brands in 2020?
With partial lockdown and necessary social distancing norms, every business today has moved online. Affordable internet, easy access to smartphones, and connected televisions has played a pivotal role in pushing businesses online. From education to entertainment, from grocery shopping to buying necessary health aid, everything today is executed with a press of a button or a swipe. The smartphone consumption has increased from 3 hours 22 minutes pre-covid to 3 hours 54 minutes in April 2020 and stabilized to 3 hours 37 minutes with the first phase of unlocking, basis a report by KPMG. Video streaming on the other hand has penetrated into 96% of India’s metros and mini-metros and 97% of its tier-one and tier-two towns as video streaming are one of the sources of entertainment during these uncertain times. Considering the current pace, the OTT market in India alone is expected to grow by 32% over FY21. Mobile payment, on the other hand, has reached 73% of the metros and min-metros and 75% of the tier-one and tier-two towns. Overall, this year is seen as a catalyst for India’s digital progression. Digital avenues have changed the game for brands in 2020 making it easier for brands to reach out to their potential consumer with just a click of a button. In challenging times, social media platforms have also introduced new features that would help creators and brands to be more visible. For instance; YouTube had introduced double ads that play two ads back-to-back. While this lengthens the advertising time for the viewer, but it also prevents further interruptions later on in the video. Similarly, Instagram introduced IGTV shopping feature that enables users for a fast-buying experience by clicking on the product which will be direct them to the retailer’s website to purchase it.
Will 2021 be a year of recovery?
While 2020 was a rough year for advertisers but it has also presented opportunities that were unexplored before. 2021 will bring a new set of challenges as advertisers attempt to reckon with the impending upheaval of data deprecation. Brands and advertisers will be forced to divert attention to the issues that emerged during the pandemic. Brands will have to embrace a consumer-centric approach pro-actively. COVID 19 has bought a change in consumer behavior that has impacted the brand’s overall media plan. There is a change in viewership as the audience is increasing content consumption across multiple screens. Brands will have to adapt to a hyperlocal approach to ensure visibility across a variety of demographics. The pandemic has forced brands across the sectors to reduce the budgets and headcount but it hasn’t evaporated the expectations for high-quality advertising. 2021 could potentially change the business dynamics of the brands and make them turn to virtual ad creation in various ways, from virtual influencers to increased investments in creative ad-tech making 2021 a year of virtual ads. 2021 will also introduce new avenues for ads and the sector could witness an influx of new pandemic-friendly ad placements, from branded personal protective equipment to pre-roll ads on freemium video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meets, etc. This would change the sector for the better, offering more opportunities than ever to have ever-specific targeted conversations. 2021 is looking bright and it could change the way we perceive advertising avenues.
Article is authored by Sameer Makani, Managing Director, and Co-Founder, Makani Creatives