COVID-19 One Year On: brands focus on agility, innovation and effectiveness | WARC | The Feed
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COVID-19 One Year On: brands focus on agility, innovation and effectiveness
COVID-19 has led to a 30% increase in digital consumption and the formation of new and lasting consumer habits, according to the latest Global Advertising Trends report from WARC Data.
COVID-19 One Year On outlines the shifts that have taken place across e-commerce, social media, online video and gaming for brands and consumers.
E-commerce: $900bn more was spent at online retailers last year
The move to online retail has ingrained long-term habits. Brands are investing more in e-commerce advertising, which grew far ahead of the wider online ad market last year – a trend set to continue even as high street footfall increases in 2021.
Meanwhile, the growing popularity of ‘buy online for pickup in store’, being used more by between a quarter and a third of adults in the US, Mexico and India, indicates flexibility and convenience will be a key consumer strategy in the future.
Social media: TikTok was the social winner of 2020
TikTok is now the social app with the highest level of user activity, having overtaken Facebook for the top spot in Canada (TikTok users spend 17 hours a month on the app), France (17 hours), the UK (20 hours) and the United States (22 hours).
A survey for WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2021 found 44% of brands expect to increase spend on TikTok this year, ahead of Facebook’s 39%.
Online video: YouTube, social video and brand integrations lure ad budgets
Online video is eroding linear TV advertising and now accounts for a quarter (26%) of the global video ad market. More than a quarter (27%) of YouTube consumption is via connected TV devices, which now poses a direct challenge to linear TV activity.
Audiences, however, care more about quality content than the delivery platform – one in five (20%) consumers globally sees no difference between YouTube and linear TV consumption; the figure is even higher in the US (36%) and the UK (27%).
Gaming and e-sports: Brands tap sponsorships, mobile creative and celebrity collaborations
Gaming and e-sports audiences grew rapidly last year, with streaming platform Twitch approaching three million monthly viewers worldwide. Audiences are also more receptive to advertising in exchange for in-game benefits, and gamers are 7% more likely to buy from brands they have seen advertised (the figure is higher in Asia).
E-sports sponsorship, meanwhile, is expected to grow 11.6% this year and top $600m for the first time, but creative opportunities for brands extend beyond this, including celebrity collaborations and partnerships.
“The main takeaway for brands has been a greater focus on agility, innovation and effectiveness, a trend that is likely to perpetuate digital media’s rapid growth in 2021 and beyond” – Rob Clapp, Senior Analyst, WARC Data.
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