Where most industries took a hit, the inverse is true for online marketing and advertising. Even though organizations established digital presences long before 2020, the Coronavirus outbreak abruptly altered consumer preferences and behavior. As businesses enter 2021, marketing strategies and advertising plans are upended. The advertising scenario expects a 66% spike in social media content creation after the pandemic, 57% in blog content, and 50% in video production. Brands are now re-formulating to adjust to the new normal.
2020 taught companies that marketing shifts often happen with no warning and ostensibly overnight. However, not all the changes are here to stay, and some are just a flash in the pan. Here are the top four technological trends in this age of Digital Darwinism that will shape marketing and advertising culture in the future.
Digital-first Approach will Catch Up
Pre-pandemic, the overall advertisement market was likely to reach $865 billion by 2024. But post-Covid-19, ad spending dropped immediately. According to the IAB Media Buyers Survey, the ad spending in traditional media like Linear TV, radio, print, and out of the home (OOH) advertising experienced declines in double digits. However, pandemic intensified digital spending for advertising. Linear TV, radio, print, and out of the home (OOH) advertising were down by more than 20%.
With digital media consumption soaring, companies are using online channels for direct response campaigns and encourage quick online purchases. Gartner’s 2020 CMI Spend Survey indicates that around two-thirds of brands worldwide will increase their digital channels’ budgets. Advertisement content is now seeping through social media, featured snippets, personalized e-mailers, shoppable trends, influencers, ad banners, OTT platforms, and more to engage customers virtually. Marketers believe that this paradigm shift to online will well extend into the future since virtual spaces are flocked with consumers. However, pandemic intensified the possibilities for digital marketing and advertising.
Rise of Augmented Reality (AR) & VIrtual Reality (VR)
Remember, when everyone was posting a picture of them as a Taco? That was Snapchat offering a Taco filter for Taco Bell. When the third season of Stranger Things released, Google Lens brought the New York Times to life. Trainline’s OOH ads transformed into departure boards when viewed through a smartphone. L’Oreal launched its first beauty AR lens; M.A.C, Nars, Warby Parker, and Ray-Ban offered try-on features for cosmetics and eyewear products. These are just some of the many examples of AR’s impactful implementation, creating a stir across social media platforms. As these channels enhance their AR features, marketers can leverage augmented reality to focus on their social media marketing strategy.
The decline in offline retail shopping and a noticeable increase in online purchases have spurred marketers to invest in AR through social media platforms to offer virtual tours, try-on, and other engaging experiences, usually available in-store. With people spending more time on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Pinterest, during lockdown; instead of creating large billboards for their brand, companies are investing in AR to bring those larger than life expressions alive.
Emergence of New Media Platforms for Streaming Ad Campaigns
Consumers are consuming content anytime, anywhere, on any device. Ad campaigns must seamlessly deliver information and offer calls to action (CTAs) across laptops, tablets, and mobile phones; and then across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc., to engage customers and persuade them successfully. Forcing the same advertising video content to suit a non-linear pattern of consumption won’t yield expected results.
Findings from MetrixLab suggest that advertising intrusiveness differs on different connecting devices such as mobiles and laptops; and is exaggerated on a smartphone. However, you can’t stop advertising. But you can definitely market to sell. Creating ad campaigns perfect for each device, and each platform that makes them revisit your store is a must in 2021.
Features like 15-second stories are no longer new and are becoming a part of nearly all platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. Companies will utilize these story ad formats, instant messaging apps like Messenger and WeChat, and games like Ludo, AmongUs, and more that garnered incredible attention during the pandemic to increase their overall mobile-platform advertising investment.
Emotion AI: A Kaleidoscope of Opportunities
With the entire world functioning remotely, market research methods are also changing. Large-scale, consumer-focused, hands-free, and qualitative market surveys are gaining traction. New approaches to dive deep into the consumer’s mind and advertise in ways that appeal to their emotions are underway. Marketers are keenly investing in Emotion AI platforms to detect unbiased emotions and capture real-time responses from their target groups.
Marketing companies and Advertising agencies are now using Emotion AI technologies such as facial coding and eye-tracking to get creative as well as connect consumer behavior insights into overall ad performance, segment-wise analysis, brand prominence, message impact, brand recall, and more.
Brands can understand the emotional response they will receive, which segment is best suited for the ad, and whether appropriate elements are highlighted. These emotion-driven consumer insights are enabling companies to deliver impactful messages that resonate with customers, thus increasing sales.
Furthermore, with changing circumstances, viewers expect more from the ads. Climate-sensitive, gender-neutral, and socially responsible are just some of the buzzwords. Catering to these demands is easier with Emotion AI platforms. AI-enabled emotion analytics, such as Affect Lab, offer actionable emotion insights from consumers. Testing ads before launch with facial coding and eye-tracking technology can enhance their creative value dynamically.
Embracing New Normal in 2021
In 2021 and beyond, augmented reality, social media marketing, optimized ad content, and Emotion AI will top the trends lists. Emotion insights will seal the deal as companies prepare to cater to informed customers in an era defined by disruptive technologies. Moving forward, brands must focus on developing seamless CX using emotion insight technologies such as facial coding and eye tracking, and create ads that resonate with the audience’s emotions, aligning with marketing goals and business objectives.