TV makes a resurgence, and 10 other media trends for 2021

This year we saw a decade of media evolution taking place in a few short months. But this has also led to some very interesting trends reemerging. For example, as viewers reprioritise the importance of family relationships, the TV will once again become the gathering point for shared social time - even as the sources of content grow, said Kantar’s Media Trends and Predictions 2021 study.

As such, advertisers, media owners and social platforms will have to reevaluate how media strategies are formulated. In 2020, we’ve seen the rise in in-home media consumption, while consumer confidence and ad spending declined. Next year, audience behaviours will be more complex and difficult to decipher than ever.

“Boomerang subscribers”, described as consumers who increasingly see video-on-demand subscriptions as interchangeable, will migrate between video on demand platforms and subscription services, increasing the need to understand and monetise the total audience.

Meanwhile, influencer-based content will become an increasingly important feature of the advertising landscape, while eCommerce capabilities will seamlessly integrate with social media to deliver a tangible and immediate revenue stream. As such, advertisers, media owners and social platforms will have to reevaluate how media strategies are formulated. Ensuring that a brand remains relevant while generating demand will necessitate a new level of data-driven marketing. A purposeful data strategy for owned data within the organisation will require integration with reliable and validated external data sources.

When it comes to restricted budgets, analytics will be infused through all aspects of marketing and campaign management, from creative and media mix optimisation to broader elements like channel strategies and innovation plans.

Despite the deprecation of cookies, brands will also need to quickly adapt to hybrid methods of ad effectiveness measurement and ROI. Brands will move up a gear in understanding how activism plays into brand strength; their purpose and beliefs will be illustrated in their specific media choices as well creative strategies, and a greater importance will be placed on the context of where ads appear and how they are optimised for those environments.

Pablo Gomez, media domain leader for Kantar’s Insights division in Asia Pacific said 2020 has been a very challenging year for the media and advertising industry but during COVID-19, 93 million households in Asia Pacific have bought FMCG products through eCommerce for the first time.

“E-commerce is now a reality in our region. As a result, eCommerce will be more at the centre of the media strategy in Asia Pacific. Consumers will also view more influencer based content than before, which in turn will lead to the seamless integration between eCommerce and social media to deliver a tangible and immediate revenue stream,” he said.

He adds: “The storm is far from over, there are still very challenging times ahead in our region, but also enormous opportunities for those who are bold enough to embrace them."

Here are the trends and predictions:

1. The boomerang subscriber: Consumers increasingly see video-on-demand subscriptions as interchangeable, pushing the streaming wars to a new level. Content aggregators will take centre stage to unlock new customer acquisition strategies; collaboration is essential for longterm success.

2. The audience in the stream: Togetherness has grown in importance during the pandemic, boosting TV co-viewing. A deeper understanding of co-viewing, with its overlaps and migrations between streaming platforms, is needed, and media trading currencies must reflect the totality of audience behaviour.

3. The social media dilemma: Brand investments in social media continue to grow, despite consumer distrust. Brands will become more open-minded and dynamic in their media and comms planning, breaking down silos to create campaigns that reach across channels, and using influencers strategically.

4. eCommerce and media: Social media influencers will influence consumers across the entire sales funnel, guiding them to a more efficient omnichannel presence. Brands need to reimagine their D2C strategies to integrate influencers and community-powered platforms.

5. Infused analytics: Analytics will fuel more optimal investment, delivering a balanced strategy between the short and long term. Measurement that certifies and optimises creative content quality before airing will grow in importance, and more advanced analytics tools will help determine strategic investment decisions.

6. Tough cookies: Digital ad spend is becoming more dominant as the demise of the third-party cookies looms. Advertisers will move towards hybrid ad effectiveness measurement, combining privacy-compliant direct integration, probabilistic and analytics-based modelling to achieve a holistic view of campaigns.

7. Democratising data: Media data is being used and shared more systematically within organisations. Media professionals need access to broader data sets for better decision making and opportunity recognition, while data platforms must be open source so brands can own integrations with multiple programmatic partner platforms.

8. From activism to action: Activism enables brands to meaningfully connect with consumers, but actions speak much louder than words. The correlation between values, media selection and influencer strategy is increasingly important for brands but creates risk for media platform owners too.

9. Creative context takes centre stage: Seeking differentiation, advertisers and agencies will accelerate their adoption of the latest media channels and formats; content creators must focus their efforts on the platforms providing best value for them. Online video will be the single biggest winner.

10. Audience behaviours, industry dynamics - stick or twist?: In-home media consumption has increased during the pandemic, but questions remain over how long these habits will last and the challenge this poses for advertisers seeking to optimise their media buys.

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