Marketers to Ramp Up Digital Ads in 2021

BY Kathy Crosett
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The Kantar Media Reactions report is out, and the findings reflect consumer and marketer attitudes about advertising on a global basis. Despite a consumer preference for traditional ad formats, marketers will continue to ramp up digital ad in 2021. Kantar analysts spoke with about 1,000 U.S. consumers and several thousand consumers globally. Their insights could prove helpful to your clients as they look ahead.

The Case for Offline Advertising

People enjoy offline advertising because the formats aren’t considered as intrusive as online ads. Consumers also gave a thumbs-​up to traditional media because they don’t feel bombarded by the same message, which is a frequent complaint about online ad campaigns.

Consumers told researchers that they love cinema ads. Why? When they go to the theater, they already have a positive mindset — they’re ready to be entertained. And because the ads run prior to the main feature, consumers are not subjected to seeing the same ad again and again. Kantar Media analysts call cinema a ‘low reach, high impact’ channel.

Consumers also prefer print advertising and sponsored event messaging over digital ads. But, they also have some favorite formats when it comes to digital advertising. They rate influencer-​branded content, podcast ads and streaming TV ads higher than other digital formats.

The Case for Online Advertising

However, when marketers plan out their media mix for traditional formats, they prefer TV. It’s not that consumers don’t like TV ads. The problem is they find them repetitive. According to Kantar’s CrossMedia effectiveness studies, consumers tune out an ad after they’ve seen it 15 times.

Researchers also picked up on another consumer trend. When a new media format debuts, consumers like to engage, especially if it has entertainment value. On platforms like Tik Tok or Snapchat, the ability to engage and be entertained appear to make consumers more willing to accept the ads that support the format.

Marketers and media buyers overall prefer online video ads, followed by TV, social media news feed ads and steaming TV ads. The shift to online advertising accelerated in 2020 because of the pandemic. Marketers liked the flexibility they found with online formats, especially since media companies did not require them to bid for expensive advertising space, upfront. The long tradition of buying in advance is increasingly at risk as marketers had to cope with the damage that was done to their carefully planned ad campaigns once COVID-​19 emerged.

Marketers to Ramp Up Digital Ad Buys in 2021

Many media formats suffered a drop in demand this year, and Kantar Media analysts expect some of that to continue in 2021. They’re projecting ad revenue drops by format as follows:

  • Newspaper ‑47%
  • Magazine ‑43%
  • Billboard/​OOH ‑11%
  • Events sponsored by brands ‑9%
  • Cinema ‑32%

Globally, marketers will beef up spending on podcast ads (36%), OTT streaming TV ads (46%), branded content for online influencers (48%), online display (45%), social media news feeds ads (52%), social media story ads (54%) and online video ads (65%).

If your clients are having trouble tackling the challenge of planning ad budgets for 2021, suggest that they come up with scenarios that address best case, mediocre case and worst-​case market predictions. Help them preserve their advertising dollars by targeting specific audiences. You’ll get that information from the AudienceSCAN profiles available at AdMall by SalesFuel.