Whenever consumer behaviors shift, advertising spends must adjust in response. It doesn’t make much sense to spend advertising budgets on mediums that have no audience. As confinement and distancing rules were implemented during the pandemic, out-of-home and cinema advertising almost instantly took the biggest hits and for obvious reasons. With movie theaters closed and road traffic almost non-existent, who wanted to advertise in those mediums?
At the same time, in-home media usage skyrocketed. TV viewership climbed and digital consumption increased even more. The use of social platforms and streaming services went up almost daily and gaming also grew dramatically.
As these shifts in consumer behavior occurred, advertisers adapted by following the consumers, which meant prioritizing digital advertising. The online environment was primed for more direct response campaigns as the audience for this segment grew. Brands were looking to drive sales by reaching consumers with messages that would entice quick responses from consumers.
Now that things are beginning to re-open and the Pandemic is slowly receding, many brands are struggling with how and where to advertise as a new shift in consumer behavior is surely on the horizon. Finding the answers to these questions will be critical to successful marketing in the months and years ahead.
Here is what I can tell you. This pandemic has even further reinforced what I already knew. Brands need to advertise in very local and exact terms, targeting specific consumers based on their individual circumstances and what is most meaningful to them. This means accurately defining the realistic situation, by state, county and zip code. Each will have their own comfort level and standards as to what the “new normal” will look like and where the consumer behavior will shift. Beyond just geographical targeting, I know that marketing and advertising will need to be personally relevant, aligned to an individual consumer’s situations and standards, as opposed to just general demographics, like age and gender.
As much as Out of Home advertising has taken a huge hit over the last year, I am certain that it will make substantial gains in the next. As the pandemic begins to clear, consumers are going to be making up for lost time. People are itching to go out and whether it be a night out, a day trip or traveling for vacations, they’re going to be on the road. Knowing this, there is a great opportunity to reach a large audience using out-of-home advertising. Unfortunately, the OOH companies are also aware of the demand and as a result, are not willing to negotiate as much as they have in the past. I’m sure that they are also trying to gain back some of the losses incurred over the last year. But, at least now, you may get what you pay for…. IMPRESSIONS!
Along with the rebound of OOH advertising, I believe that Cinema advertising will also see a bit of a comeback. However, it will be much slower and much less dramatic. Not only because of the restrictions that may still be in place for movie-goers, but because of the lack of supply. Many new releases that were scheduled for last year, were released in different streaming platforms for at-home viewing due to theaters being closed. With movie production also shut down for a long time, new movie releases may be few and far between leaving less opportunity for advertisers in addition to fewer audience members. You should still have your ear to the ground and keep an eye out for opportunities as the rates for these ad opportunities will not hold as the rates for billboards have. There will be deals, and with Cinema advertising, there is no ad fraud. Everyone who buys a ticket is a human being that can be reached with your messages. Just make sure your message is relevant and remember many of those ads run before the seats have butts in them.
The bottom line here is that consumers are on the move again. You can’t just blanket one medium with one message any longer. It won’t matter. Messages can no longer just be tailored to age and gender. You need to know who the potential consumers are and what the situation is where they live. If you can get the consumer “skinny” locally, and have a message that relates to them, there will be more opportunities to engage in a relevant way other than just digitally.