In “normal” times, pre-global pandemic, getting the biggest ROI out of your marketing budget was undoubtedly a priority. But as we all know, the summer of 2020 is anything but normal.
With 65% of marketers anticipating a decrease to already constrained marketing budgets, brands across industries need to find ways to be more nimble, creative and strategic while also figuring out how to effectively respond to the changing needs of customers living in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and revolutionary social change.
In order to captivate the attention of consumers still spending the majority of their time at home, brands should look to shift their focus – and marketing strategies. The strategy, goals and messaging that may have worked well at the beginning of 2020 no longer fit the bill. As those change, the channels you use to reach customers have to shift too.
As your team adapts and adjusts marketing strategies going forward, consider the following media channels, all of which share a few important commonalities: they’re cost-effective, easy to target and reach customers at home, where they’re spending more time than ever before.
Streaming Radio: According to Nielsen, there were more than 507 billion on-demand streams in the first half of 2019, representing 32 percent year-over-year growth for a channel that has only gotten more popular with more consumers at home. Cost-effective, personal and heavily used by consumers, streaming radio is a prime channel to engage with audiences this summer. Worth noting: although the majority of listeners are still tuning in via mobile apps, since the outbreak of COVID-19, 36% of smart speaker owners are using their devices at a more frequent rate to listen to music and entertainment, streaming their Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora and Apple Radio at much higher rates.
OTT and Addressable TV: As with streaming radio, over-the-top (OTT) streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, and Amazon Prime have experienced a surge the past few months after steadily rising popularity in recent years. Another Nielsen report found that three-quarters of Americans are consuming content via OTT services. The same study found that consumers required to stay at home during past crises saw a 60 percent increase in their media consumption. The highly personalized targeting capabilities of OTT and an engaged audience makes OTT another smart channel to consider adding into your media mix.
Whereas OTT focuses primarily on streaming services, addressable television is a way to deliver customized ads to audiences using digital televisions with a cable connection. With both OTT and addressable television, brands have the option to hone in on the behaviors and unique interests of their target audiences.
Social media: Social media use became even more ubiquitous as COVID-19 surged throughout the US, with well over a third of Americans noting longer amounts of time spent browsing through social media apps and brands registering an average of 44 more engagements per day on social media posts across all social channels. While OTT and radio-streaming platforms offer strong opportunities to capture user attention, social media advertising presents a powerful opportunity to drive engagement with brand messaging.
Even with all the noise and the sheer volume of content, social media users are more engaged – and more attuned – to what the brands they follow are posting. Advertising on social media platforms, as with the other channels, offers a variety of targeting parameters but differs in its ability to enter brands (whether willingly or unwillingly) into ongoing conversations among social media users. With that in mind it is important for brands to stay in tune with trending conversations and social movements – such as #stophateforprofit – when planning how to spend their social media budgets, staying ever-conscious of the fact that audiences are paying attention at a much closer and higher level than before.
Paid Search: While not the most flashy of channels to work into the marketing mix, paid search is an important and cost-effective channel, especially when it comes to capitalizing on the intent of your audience. With more time spent online, there is even more opportunity than normal to reach customers “in the moment” of the research and conversion stages of their purchasing decisions. In addition to expansive targeting options, the channel is also nimble and easy to adjust based on changes in consumer search behavior (ie, searching more for “virtual yoga classes” versus “yoga classes in my area”).
The world is very different than it was at the beginning of the year, making it necessary to evaluate and re-evaluate previously set goals, budgets and marketing strategies. Even with so many uncertainties about what the future holds, day-to-day life is still moving forward. Being able to be flexible, smart and strategic about the channels you invest in to reach your customers now will pay off in dividends as we all look to establish positive, if fluid, expectations of a “new normal.”