It wouldn’t be wrong to term 2020 as the year of disruption and transformation. What was expected to be a good year for advertising sector turned out to be a catalyst for digital transformation of the sector that made brands to recalibrate their approach and reallocate their budgets to digital advertising. This was largely due to growing online consumption because of the imposed lockdown and emergence of work from home culture. In last 5 years advertising trends have evolved from traditional print ads and TV spots to advanced ad strategies that include QR codes, co-branding, content marketing and online advertising. While print and televisions ads have witnessed a slow-down lately, digital advertising has shed light on the neglected avenue that enables brands to reach a powerful audience that is measurable. 2021is expected to be a variation point where marketers reaffirm their value by balancing long-term brand-building. The sector will now be required to master an increasingly complex network of media channels and map the ROI, while becoming stewards of critical issues like sustainability and data privacy.2020 gave wings to new trends that reshaped the industry for better, while some strategies worked some are likely to die in 2021.
Trends that are likely to die in 2021:
Every year brands and advertisers experiment with new strategies that help them in driving the consumer conversion. As the mobile advertising spearheads the growth of the industry, traditional advertising formats are likely to take a major hit owing to the profound change in preference of the consumer.
Disruptive advertising: This format has helped many companies grow and become dynamic in nature in the past but with growing internet consumption combined with adblocker enlisted users, disruptive advertising is bound to die in 2021. Brands have already shifted to integrated advertising with micro-influencers that has successfully driven their business growth with strong online presence. For instance: a headphone brand like MIVI has successfully managed to build a strong brand image with solely integrated advertising with digital influencers. This is because of the ability of integrated advertising that is targeted to the consumer in the most authentic and non-disruptive way possible.
Content Gating: With the emergence of WFH culture and rise in the online consumption, to ensure survival many advertising platforms have gated their content to increase the mailing list and earn the subscription revenue. Generally, there are two ways of gating content. One where a paragraph of the content is visible but to go through entire content one needs to subscribe and other one is getting to read a couple of free content post which the user is asked to subscribe. There is no denial that this has worked in the past in getting the data from user and an easy access to the email where a product or service can be promoted. Having said that, internet is evolved over the years making content available freely across websites. Keeping this in mind there is a possibility of the user not tuning into to the platform owing to the fact of unavailability of free content. This in turn could decrease the ad revenue in a significant manner. For instance: News websites today are utilizing a subscription-based model for survival as majority of their operational cost was coming from print advertising which took a major hit in 2020. But going forward, there is a huge possibility that the user will not check in on the platform knowing that it needs subscription, but the user will prefer searching for the same news on other platforms where he can access it for free.
Due to the pandemic, the advertising industry took massive budget hits. For the past decade the industry has been focused on driving efficiency, but with this unprecedented year, we suspect we’ll see large investment in building resilience. In 2021 the industry will need to develop capacity, invest in contingency capabilities, and prepare for a more imaginative set of future scenarios to ensure business continuity and success in the face of adversity.
Authored article by Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives.