A look back at 2020 and a look forward into 2021 with Melissa Amedeo
In a pandemic year, advertising became more important than ever. While some companies may have looked to cut media spending, those who continued to advertise likely saw huge benefits in staying in-market with their messaging in 2020. Understanding audience behaviors and leveraging insights will continue to be critical to successful marketing in 2021.
Q: What were some of the strategies companies used in 2020 and how do you see those strategies continuing into 2021?
- One of the largest trends I saw was related to influencer marketing.
- A shining example that sticks in my mind is the skateboarder drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice while singing a Fleetwood Mac song. The video went viral and was turned into a TV commercial. I loved the spirit and recognition Nathan Apodaca received from his original video. Social engagements by both Ocean Spray and Mick Fleetwood were even included in the ad that was produced.
- At DCC, we saw the need to shift to influencer marketing with our 2020 US Census work as well. When the pandemic hit, the door-to-door grassroots marketing efforts were affected. Utilizing a network of over 360 community organizations throughout the state of Illinois, we were able to produce videos that could be used in digital marketing campaigns. These community influencers represented people across the state of Illinois as they talked about the social issues that were most important to diverse population segments. The city of Chicago alone has 77 local neighborhoods—each with their own community issues, concerns, and influences.
Influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2021, and TikTok is a platform that is becoming increasingly relevant. TikTok may primarily be a GenZ platform, but with 80% of these users influencing their parents’ purchases and 47% of TikTok users making a purchase based on what they saw in TikTok content (TikTok: For Business X AdAge Studio 30), understanding the power of this social platform will be critical in the upcoming year.
- A second trend we saw in 2020 with more people being home was the explosion of Over the Top TV (OTT)
- The pandemic accelerated the trend of people leaving pay TV for streaming services such as HULU, Netflix, Disney+, Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.
- This created a vast opportunity for advertisers to shift to these platforms as pay TV households are expected to continue to decline. The number of US Pay TV households will decline 7.5% to 77.6 million this year. The non-pay TV household total, which combines cord-cutters and cord-nevers, will reach 51.7 million. (US Digital Video 2020 Pandemic Boosts Streaming Video View, emarketer)
For 2021 and beyond this trend is poised to continue so it will increasingly become a place for advertisers to allocate marketing dollars. As an industry OTT is expected to grow to 222 million US subscription viewers by 2024. (US Digital Video 2020 Pandemic Boosts Streaming Video View, emarketer)
- A third trend which ties to both of the above is video content
- Millennial and Gen Z consumers are the most connected age groups to the internet and watching videos is their preferred way to be entertained or learn new things. When it comes to advertising to Gen Z, 87% of Gen Z prefers ads or marketing content that shows actual people discussing products.
- YouTube users watch 1 billion hours worth of videos every day. But they are not the only social channel where video engagement is exploding. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and let’s not forget TikTok many of these platforms are seeing Video as the #1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs and infographics. And promotional videos and brand storytelling videos are the most common. (Hubspot)
Look for video to continue to lead the way in content for 2021. Marketers will need to find a way to ensure they transition to a “video first” mentality and find an agency who is skilled at creating engaging videos in an affordable way. We’ve been working with many of our clients to solve this exact challenge. (see our demo reel) If video is not part of your marketing tactics, prioritizing it in 2021 will be critical
- A fourth trend is Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Google Ads continues to hone their capabilities and help marketers optimize campaigns. The past few years has seen dramatic advancement in managing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising budgets.
- Automation tools are decreasing the need for manual bid optimization. And optimization is not just a Google Ads tool any more. Facebook has gotten into the dynamic ad serving, automation learning game with the ability to serve Dynamic Creative quickly resulting in the ability to serve hundreds, if not thousands, of ad variations to your target audiences.
Look for this automation to continue to hone its reliability even further over the next few years.
- The last trend I want to discuss is around the type of creative we’ve seen in social ads
- We already discussed the importance of having a video content plan, but brands have an opportunity to build other interactive creative assets that will engage audiences and can leverage the ad automation for creative optimization discussed above.
- Create and test different types of ad formats against your audiences
- Sponsored content
- Messenger ads
- Text message ads
As you build out strategy, messaging and creative in 2021, understand your audiences and develop creative that can be served dynamically to your customers. Optimize and monitor the creative continuing to leverage the creative that works best with your audience as you guide them through their journey to your brand.
Chief Development Officer