- The COVID-19 pandemic has led to huge surges in home media consumption.
- While many brands have struggled to adapt to these challenging times, others have capitalized on these large audiences with careful planning.
- Brands must convey messages recognizing safety and convenience.
- Utilizing adtech that allows consumers to interact with ads from their smartphones simplifies the customer experience and reduces conversion times.
- As countries, provinces and states continue opening and closing at various speeds, safety and convenience will define retail.
Even as restrictions on shopping and dining loosen up, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force many people to stay home, and many consume hours of media each day in search of comfort or to pass the time.
With that has come highly concentrated home audiences, particularly on TV and streaming services.
Feeling the effects of reduced brick-and-mortar shopping and boycotts in the name of ending hate speech, racism and polarization, many brands have now reduced or outright cut their ad spend, but this change in media consumption is an opportunity for advertisers who shift their resources to reaching consumers at home.
Brands must simultaneously adapt to these changing times and this new normal to capitalize on the larger audiences created by the pandemic and plan for the future of retail, which will be driven by safety, convenience and inclusion.
Advertising opportunities created by the surge in home media consumption
When the world first entered lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect the vulnerable, consumers found themselves with a seemingly endless amount of time to kill. As a result, home media consumption grew.
An eMarketer report estimates U.S. consumers will spend an average of (Read more...) hours and 35 minutes per day viewing media in 2020, while another estimation suggests paid subscriptions to streaming TV and video services surged by 32% during the week of March 16, when many people were first sent home.
According to Nielsen, connected TV usage remains noticeably higher than it was pre-pandemic.
Many brands have experienced hardships because of the virus.
According to an Interactive Advertising Bureau survey, 49% of brands paused campaigns that they previously expected to launch in 2020, and 45% stopped ad campaigns altogether. While some brands have struggled, others have dominated with innovation and creativity.
Popular video-sharing network TikTok grew its value to $16.9 billion, becoming one of the world’s 100 most valuable brands, according to MarketWatch.
This has been a window of opportunity for advertisers and if they can muster up the strength to continue their campaigns, there are huge audiences within ad’s reach.
How to capitalize on these larger audiences during the pandemic
In order to capitalize on these larger audiences, brands must first decide how their ads will address consumer concerns as well as empathize to develop truly meaningful connections with their brands.
While quarantining has presented many challenges for consumers, ranging from convenience to safety, it has also accelerated changes in consumer preferences and concerns, making this the perfect time for brands to convey their interest in making consumers’ lives simpler and safer.
During almost any commercial break, you will notice ads paying mind to the world’s current state of affairs in their messaging.
Many have been focused on keeping consumers safe during the pandemic, encouraging people to wash their hands and participate in social distancing, as well as communicating how the brands themselves are social distancing.
Running more strategic ads now is an investment, as it will breed strong consumer support in the long run. Pardon the phrase but addressing personal habits and social distance is becoming a hygiene factor in doing business going forward.
After you adjust the content of your ad to speak to safety and simplicity, the big opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves in the marketplace is to deliver their ads in a similar manner.
One way to do this is by integrating adtech that makes it easier for consumers to engage.
Some platforms allow users to use their smartphones to listen to and interact with ads, immediately taking them to a virtual storefront where they can purchase the products they want or respond to any desired call to action with just a few button pushes.
Using this means that not only are consumers able to connect with what they are interested in more easily, but brands can reach their target audiences more effectively and convert much more quickly, reducing leakage and improving marketing spend ROI.
What this suggests about future consumer behavior, post the pandemic
It is already evident that the pandemic has permanently changed certain aspects of consumer behavior. Much of what consumers saw as “normal” before the pandemic is now considered antiquated, and brands should take notice.
First and foremost, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of delivering goods and services to consumers’ doors as quickly as possible. For safety’s sake, many consumers have had no choice but to shop online.
Consequently, brands that could not meet this demand were in poor positions from the beginning of the pandemic.
As a result, the dawn of the post-pandemic ‘new normal’ has seen an acceleration of the decline in brick-and-mortar retail, with brands increasingly shifting to provide customers with interactive digital tech-enabled shopping via their smartphones and other screens.
The decline may also now be accelerated as some businesses have opted for hot desking and working from home now that they have been managing staff remotely for several weeks. Being in the office a few days a week less will result in less people visiting retail stores in CBD’s.
Many people are returning to the world with hygiene anxiety, looking for ways to avoid coming into contact with germs. Online shopping with convenient and fast home/personal delivery will be a perfect match for these consumers, so expect this kind of commerce to be their first choice.
Brands will need to update their business models and supply chains to reflect this.
If not to address their immediate viability, brands must navigate and apply lessons from these difficult times for their security in the future. Brands that do not plan accordingly will fare even more poorly going forward and when the next retail-threatening crisis arrives. It will not be easy, but it is necessary.
Roland Storti is Founder & CEO of Minfo Americas, a provider of new advertising solutions transforming Offline advertising & information to Online (O2O), creating Impulse Engagement. Prior to founding Minfo, Roland served as CEO of Linked Business Concepts, architecting the 360PM Computerized Maintenance Management System, which has serviced over 25,000 sites and more than seven million square meters of property including 1,630 schools since 2002. Roland is an alumnus of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.