COVID-19: The rise of new digital audiences

How have media habits been affected by lockdown in the UK? We share the latest insights from our TGI advanced profiling data.
10 July 2020
New media audiences
Mark Inskip

CEO UK & Ireland, Media Division, UK

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The past four months have turned the world upside down. Even the best laid plans of businesses large and small have been abandoned, scattered or totally overhauled. In times like these, it’s more important than ever for brands not to disappear. When in doubt, keep communicating.

Kantar’s TGI advanced profiling data reveals that digital habits in adults have skyrocketed in lockdown. 65% of Brits aged over fifteen claim to have either watched more Video on Demand (VOD) due to the coronavirus outbreak or have felt encouraged to use video calling platforms. Of those aged fifteen to fifty-four, nearly half say they’ve been doing more of both, with plenty of time spent on platforms like Netflix and YouTube. On the other hand, among those senior citizens who have recently embraced new digital channels, the majority have limited their digital exploration to calling platforms such as WhatsApp, FaceTime and Skype.

Effective communication is never a one size fits all game. When lockdown here in the UK meant people’s media habits switched almost overnight, that switch wasn’t the same in every household. Background, wealth, age and values all impact on how consumers behave. Grasping these subtle variations allows brands to effectively engage people across different generations, on the right platforms, even in extraordinary times like these.

Profiling with purpose

When it comes to getting value out of consumer data, the key is to go beyond identifying broad brush changes in overall consumer habits and drill down into sophisticated audience segments. Our Kantar TGI profiling considers backgrounds, outlooks and behaviours specific to the COVID-19 period and sorts consumers into simple, targetable categories.

From surveying these consumers, we can learn that, of those aged 55+ who have embraced new digital habits in lockdown, 49% are childless and career orientated. On the other hand, of the under 55s who are more digitally engaged in lockdown, 30% are precarious parents with little disposable income who value practicality. By using in-depth insights like these, brands and marketers can easily form a solid foundation for communication, drawing back the curtain to reveal what really matters to individual audiences.

A targeted approach can toe the privacy line

A tailored approach doesn’t have to cost the earth, but it does have to toe the line around privacy. Marketing budgets are tightening everywhere, and bosses want to know how spend is being justified – but powerful data is a critical centrepiece to any successful communications strategy. It is the ultimate tool to help marketing teams make informed decisions and ensure their own outreach is relevant, accurate, and on the right platform.

Nearly half (48%) of the over 55s who have increased their digital habits during the pandemic are optimistic, open minded, affluent types who appreciate high quality products and services. That’s a whole new digitally engaged audience with money to spend on the finer things. The upbeat, unbiased group who make up a significant percentage of the most digitally engaged under 55s, are typically less affluent but at the same time largely independent and materialistic. These savvy shoppers don’t have as much disposable income to spend but are keen to spend what they have and are less concerned about the long-term impact of the pandemic on their futures.

Guesswork simply won’t cut it. Insights like this can help brands target effectively and appropriately, whilst maintaining sensitivity towards consumer privacy.

Attitudes change – consistent measurement is key

By using in-depth insights to track changing consumer attitudes and behaviours, brands and businesses will be able to effectively communicate with their target audiences, whether young upstarts or golden oldies. More than anything, the rapid and radical changes in consumer habits brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrate why brands must keep a finger on the pulse, now more than ever. Ultimately, attitudes and behaviours are always subject to change, so consistent measurement is key. Brands who take this approach will be well equipped to engage their audiences in a highly tailored and crucially, highly appropriate way during – and after – the pandemic.

This article first appeared on Mediatel.

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