The strategies that will shape 2021’s media landscape

A decade of media evolution has taken place in a few short months. Our latest report assesses which audience behaviors and industry dynamics will stick into 2021.
18 November 2020
media predictions 2021
John McCarthy

Strategic Content Director, Media Division

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As we enter 2021, the media world finds itself at a significant turning point – politically, economically, technologically and socially.

Today we published our Media Trends and Predictions 2021 report. It opens a window on three macro-trends that can position the media and advertising industry as a driver of economic recovery, as well as offering some joy for the watching world.

Media pivot: industry changes are forcing a change of direction or approach

  • Audience behaviors, industry dynamics: stick or twist? In-home media consumption has increased during the pandemic, but questions remain over how long these habits will last and the challenge this poses for advertisers seeking to optimize their media buys.
  • Ecommerce & Media: Social media influencers will influence consumers across the entire sales funnel, guiding them to a more efficient omnichannel presence. Brands need to reimagine their D2C strategies to integrate influencers and community-powered platforms.  
  • Democratizing data: Media data is being used and shared more systematically within organizations. Media professionals need access to broader data sets for better decision-making and opportunity recognition, while data platforms must be open source so brands can own integrations with multiple programmatic partner platforms.

Media performance: the increased challenges of measurement and effectiveness

  • The Boomerang Subscriber: Consumers increasingly see video-on-demand subscriptions as interchangeable, pushing the streaming wars to a new level. Content aggregators will take centre stage to unlock new customer acquisition strategies; collaboration is essential for long-term success. 
  • The Audience in the Stream: Togetherness has grown in importance during the pandemic, boosting TV co-viewing. A deeper understanding of co-viewing, with its overlaps and migrations between streaming platforms, is needed, and media trading currencies must reflect the totality of audience behavior.  
  • From Activism to Action: Activism enables brands to meaningfully connect with consumers, but actions speak much louder than words. The correlation between values, media selection and influencer strategy is increasingly important for brands but creates risk for media platform owners too.  

Media people: audience and data

  • The Social Media Dilemma: Brand investments in social media continue to grow, despite consumer distrust. Brands will become more open-minded and dynamic in their media and comms planning, breaking down silos to create campaigns that reach across channels, and using influencers strategically.  
  • Creative Context takes Centre Stage: Seeking differentiation, advertisers and agencies will accelerate their adoption of the latest media channels and formats; content creators must focus their efforts on the platforms providing best value for them. Online video will be the single biggest winner.
  • Infused Analytics: Analytics will fuel more optimal investment, delivering a balanced strategy between the short and long term. Measurement that certifies and optimizes creative content quality before airing will grow in importance, and more advanced analytics tools will help determine strategic investment decisions. 
  • Tough Cookies: Digital ad spend is becoming more dominant as the demise of the third-party cookies looms. Advertisers will move towards hybrid ad effectiveness measurement, combining privacy-compliant direct integration, probabilistic and analytics-based modelling to achieve a holistic view of campaigns. 

The report, available to download here, aims to support our clients in what is a relative uncertain future. It explores findings that can helps build richer connections with audiences, consumers and clients to drive business growth through 2021 and beyond.

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Media Trends and Predictions 2023
Get a clear view on some of the biggest trends in the media world, to help guide you through a period of recovery and innovation.
Download the report