Last year, the pandemic disrupted daily life around the world in ways we couldn’t have imagined or prepared for, and significantly impacted media and advertising. Marketers, especially those in travel and tourism, faced a constantly changing landscape. According to Kantar, U.S. media spending in the first half of 2020 dropped nearly 20% compared to the same period in 2019 – with spending on airline, hotel, and other travel-category media plunging more than 50%. But on the flip side, consumers spent an unprecedented amount of time at home in 2020, leading to an extraordinary boost in time spent with media and online.
As places around the world continue to reopen from the pandemic and people start to return to travel, workplaces, social activities, and more, consumer time spent with media is shifting. We worked with eMarketer to create a custom snapshot of time spent with media in nine countries—including Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the U.S.—to understand how digital and traditional media consumption trends are changing around the world as it emerges from the crisis. The snapshot shows that time spent with digital media is forecast to increase year-over-year in every country, while time spent with traditional media is on the decline. With insights into media consumption trends, marketers can be agile and adjust strategies to reach consumers where they are today and in the coming years. Based on these insights, here are three strategies for optimizing your approach to consumer engagement in a post-pandemic world.
The value in a digital approach
By 2023, eMarketer predicts that U.S. adults will spend more than 8 hours per day with digital media — including more than 4 hours with mobile and nearly 3 hours with video — accounting for nearly 65% of total time with media. The increase in digital media consumption is also spurring investment in digital advertising: GroupM forecasts global ad spending will jump 19% in 2021, bolstered by a 26% increase in digital ad spending.
With consumers turning to various devices, platforms and resources to access content, a multi-channel, hyper-agile marketing strategy remains key. Many marketers are betting bigger than ever on digital media – particularly those channels that drive demonstrated returns, like social and video. Working with the right digital media partner to effectively and efficiently acquire and engage the right target consumer is equally important.
We have more than 10 years of experience helping advertising partners navigate the unpredictable environments of a crisis, so we know that the ability to start, pause, shift and restart campaigns with short notice is essential. Last year we saw this in action, as digital channels allowed marketers to be nimble and adjust quickly. Flexibility and optimization, a variety of placements and content formats, and real-time reporting and performance insights are just a few of the key factors contributing to sustained digital acceleration.
Implement an insights-led strategy
As consumers continue to take in massive amounts of digital content, the touchpoints and opportunities for brands to connect with consumers are growing. When these brand touchpoints are relevant and add value to consumers, marketers can create genuine loyalty and drive marked results.
Data is critical to creating the right strategy for those touchpoints, so that they make the most impact. We mine more than 300 petabytes of Expedia Group first-party data to provide our advertising partners with insights into traveler intent and demand trends, so as to inform marketing strategies, optimize campaigns, and demonstrate meaningful results. This is even more essential as brands start to recover and rebuild.
We also tap into Expedia Group user research, including a monthly intercept study running on Expedia sites around the world, to understand why online travel shoppers are visiting. The study found that at the beginning of the pandemic, many were visiting to cancel, change or check on their planned trips. But we also found that people were visiting to dream about their next trip, which highlighted the importance of inspiration. As the pandemic shifted, so too did the reasons for people visiting our sites and the types of travel they searched for and booked. Our insights into intent and demand from our digital platform helps our advertising partners be agile and continue to engage travelers in a way that is relevant and strikes the right tone.
Test, learn and optimize
The increase in time spent with media, the acceleration of mobile usage, and the growth of digital—including video and mobile—has also led to increased competition for consumer attention. Marketers must work harder to break through the clutter, while also maintaining relevance and creating meaningful connections with their audiences. Efforts to this end can include expanding on tried-and-true digital solutions like performance marketing and display advertising, as well as testing tactics such as video, brand partnerships, augmented reality, and more.
Insights gleaned from campaign performance are as important as the strategy and tactics. Having access to the right reporting and performance data can provide a holistic view of what does and doesn’t work for your audience, and allow you to better optimize future campaigns toward success.
For more detail, see the full custom eMarketer snapshot illustrating consumer time spent with media in nine countries, including Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the U.S. With insights into media trends, marketers can be agile and connect with consumers where they are today and in the coming years.