Advertising is a $100 billion industry that was rocked throughout 2020. According to Kantar, there were significant ad spending declines for the first half of the year in every medium. Print was the most affected, with year-to-year ad spending declines of 24.6% for magazines and 36.3% for newspapers. Even digital media fell 18% from 2019. Even though we were all stuck at home watching our average weekly screen time shoot up, cautious brands didn’t spend on advertising.
Now, the advertising industry is piecing together lessons from last year. Executives responsible for budgets, specifically CMOs and CROs, feel the pressure to be even more accountable for every dollar spent. So look out for digital-first advertising and integrated communication strategies.
According to Gregory Aston, head of digital media research science, Kantar Media Division, in a November 2020 interview, “Brands need to focus not only on how paid media influences consumer behavior but how those paid media amplify messages across owned media — websites, apps, e-commerce, CRM,” said Aston. “And then, how the brand sustains and leverages consumer connections through user-generated content, earned mentions in social media or the press. The implications for agencies are that they’ll need to be able to engage across all these assets and deliver on a holistic strategy.”
Subtle trends emerged even before COVID hit that accelerated spending habit shifts, giving rise to fertile ground for ad revenue. Consumers wanted direct, digital access to goods and services. Convenience became king as we discovered everything from prescription reading glasses to dinner for the week could be delivered to our doorsteps.
Throw in a pandemic and we doubled down on our need for convenience and accelerated the desire for other emerging industries. Entertainment became top of mind while quarantining in our homes. Consumers required relief for anxiety and depression in response to health and financial fears. Then, with our constant focus on staying healthy, the healthcare industry had to pack years’ worth of digital transformation into just a couple of months.
Take advantage of early indicators to get in with these top four emerging industries ahead of major campaign planning:
- Sports betting: Fan eagerness combined with plummeting state budget deficits expanded sports betting and online casino gambling exponentially. Speaking at the Betting On Sports America online conference in December 2020, gambling executives, analysts, and lawmakers agreed that new tax revenue could provide much-needed income to cash-strapped governments.
- Telehealth: Hospitals are overcrowded and typical ailments, infections, and illnesses are still spreading. The healthcare industry needed a safe and efficient alternative for non-coronavirus patients. In a COVID (and post-COVID) world, telehealth ensures that hospitals and doctors’ offices remain open for the very sick. Telehealth still provides patients access to healthcare professionals for annual check-ups and referrals.
- Cannabis: The industry currently predicts an increase in consumption, especially among Gen Z and Millennial consumers. In fact, during the November 2020 election, every marijuana legalization ballot initiative passed. And with pandemic likely to have a lasting economic toll, there’s an incentive for states to tap into cannabis revenue.
- Direct-to-consumer: Shopping habits changed overnight when the US went into lockdown. A simple trip to the grocery store required masks and gloves. We encountered product shortages and sterilized groceries before bringing them inside. Not willing to take the risk, we turned to direct-to-consumer brands for their safety and convenience. In fact, as many as 81% of shoppers want to buy products directly from brands.