A round up of the latest digital trends according to Mediatel
In recent years, the digital space has undergone seismic shifts that have hugely affected how audiences consume content and the way marketers engage them. The cookie’s ongoing demise has driven a mass search for alternative targeting and measurement strategies, placing more emphasis on first-party data and new attention metrics. In addition, the increasing number of digital platforms and devices has meant that advertising focus has become ever more multi-channel — especially when it comes to harnessing the rise of streaming services and connected TV.
In such a rapidly evolving and sometimes chaotic landscape, Mediatel can always be trusted to unite industry experts from all over the world and deliver the latest actionable insights. Here’s an overview of some of the top digital media trends impacting consumers, marketers and advertisers 2022, as discussed at Mediatel’s events so far this year.
The future of TV
As new streaming platforms keep cropping up, variety is expanding and more questions are being asked about the future of smaller pay TV operators.
At the Connected TV World Summit, industry experts discussed how pay TV operators can stand out among streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+ with local video content, as they know their local market and can tailor products and services accordingly. However, smaller operators don’t have to be in competition with the giants; collaboration can help both sides, giving the bigger players access to local markets and valuable data, while the small businesses get access to more content.
Interestingly, while viewership of streaming video on demand (SVOD) services has overtaken that of pay TV in the UK, this isn’t the case everywhere. While audiences are increasingly embracing a mix of both pay TV and OTT services, pay TV is lagging behind social media marketing and video marketing when it comes to advertising revenue.
To win maximum audience share, it’s becoming more important to provide viewers with an easy-to-use bundle, where all content is conveniently aggregated into simple, accessible apps. The rise of these “super aggregators” means TV operators are now being seen as offering a service rather than a device. In other words, the screen on which content is watched matters less than the quality of the content itself — and the smoothness of the customer experience.
Evolution of measurement
As digital marketing trends constantly evolve, measurement has to adapt to them. At the Future of Brands event, the audience heard why Les Binet and Peter Field’s traditional 60:40 rule — 60% of ad spend for brand building and 40% for activation — for media split needs to be revised. For one thing, the rule doesn’t apply to everyone — online-born brands are closer to 80:20 or 90:10, for example.
Another reason for a rethink is that strong branding and good creative can boost conversion rates even if overall attention is low. Industry experts discussed the limitations of attention metrics in that broad reach doesn’t necessarily mean attentive reach. For example, attention metrics such as completed video views don’t always guarantee that a user has devoted their full attention throughout.
Industry leaders are also working to address issues caused by varied measurement models and levels of cross-platform effectiveness. Initiatives such as Project Origin have aimed to combat this lack of coherence by establishing universal data-driven insights across different forms of media such as display ads, video, and audio.
Similarly, the CFlight initiative aims to establish data clarity across both linear and CTV. Although it’s still too early to tell how well these efforts will tackle current challenges, they certainly represent encouraging progress that will be increasingly essential, especially as data deprecation rolls on.
Panellists suggested the death of the cookie will actually be a positive thing for digital marketing; preparing for this turning point has forced marketers to re-examine their measurement methods and think about data quality. As the insights provided by third-party cookies keep diminishing, advertisers are turning towards first-party and zero-party data to create targeted user profiles and to optimise their marketing strategies.
Opportunities in sport
As buzz around the Winter World Cup grows, it’s no surprise that sports opportunities were also a hot topic. At the Future of Brands event, panellists discussed the impact of the change in standard scheduling with some industry players arguing it will be a blessing to ensure a greater spotlight for other sporting events in the summer, such as the Women’s Euros and the Commonwealth Games.
In fact, women’s sport was a major discussion point in itself. While woefully neglected in the past, brand interest is rising as women’s sports gain a larger place on the global stage. See, for example, DAZN’S recent move to secure the UEFA Women’s Champions League through a partnership with YouTube, which aims to further promote the game through engaging video content.
Moreover, OTT platforms are fast becoming the go-to medium for sport streaming in general, bringing young people closer to sports they had not previously engaged with. Within the past year, long-form sports documentary Drive to Survive resulted in a 42% increase in 18-34-year-old F1 fans in North America, while shareable short-form content continues to win more time-pressed fans: 42% of 18-34-year-olds prefer to watch football highlights online.
Brand purpose and sustainability
Last but not least is the increase in meaningful marketing. A core focus at Future of Brands was the importance of brand purpose in establishing long-term consumer relationships and fostering trust. This means not just setting out key values, but also living by them.
Sustainability is, of course, high on the list of key causes for consumers, with almost a third preferring to buy a product or service from “green” brands. With the marketing industry frequently coming under fire for contributing to climate change and consumers calling for change, it’s easy to see why this was a significant discussion point.
Panellists emphasised the importance of collaboration to meet net zero by 2030, and suggested an industry-wide system with standardised guidelines to get there. Organisations are increasingly answering the call for eco-friendly approaches, and this will make sustainability a crucial consideration in all advertising strategies going forward.
Following close behind greener ad operations was diversity and inclusion. Exploring the need for marketing campaigns to engage and speak to everyone, panellists quoted an ASA survey which found that BAME groups were three times more likely to feel under-represented or not represented at all in ads; around half of BAME participants reported inaccurate portrayal, and a quarter had been exposed to negative stereotypes.
To tackle this endemic problem, there needs to be better representation in the marketing industry; getting the right voices in the room will ensure better diversity and inclusion is achieved from the top down and throughout each stage of advertising strategies. It’s not just the moral and ethical thing to do, it’s important for the customer experience, too: Global MONITOR found 65% of consumers say it’s important they buy from brands that promote diversity and inclusion within and outside of their business.
As we look ahead to future digital marketing trends, we can be sure of further changes at a fast pace. It’s likely we’ll see more innovation in measurement strategies, while in the TV space, operators will need to provide excellent customer service in the form of an easily accessible, pick ‘n’ mix viewing experience to maintain viewers’ loyalty. At the same time, sustainable practices will be vital to future-proof success, as well as robust diversity and inclusion initiatives. It may not be predictable, but the road ahead will be an exhilarating ride, packed with fresh developments and opportunities.