What does the future hold for us as a people particularly in the area of human communication and social engagement as we emerge from the damning effect of a global pandemic?
Indeed the world is no longer the same as we knew it and it will probably stay that way as we learn to live with the changes imposed on us by necessity.
The new ways of doing things which we have come to tag as the “new normal” permeates every area of human association and activities making it imperative for us to embrace and adapt to these changes as quickly as possible.
Communication has been the most dynamic area of human activity where changes have been visible. The lockdown and movement restrictions across the globe introduced a new set of values to social media as the world took to digital media for communication and effective social interactions. The unprecedented numbers of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Telegraph, and TikTok users since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus speaks volumes, with digital platforms like Netflix, and Showmax having also posted growing numbers of subscribers on their platforms. Indeed digital media has gained so much ground and is fast outpacing traditional media like Television, Radio, Newspaper in the new normal.
According to Datareportal’s 2021 report on digital, with the world’s population standing at 7.83 billion at the start of the year 2021, a staggering 5.22 billion people across the world use mobile phones. This represents 66.6 percent of the world’s population with a yearly growth in usage of 1.8 percent (93 million). Internet usage figure was placed at 4.66 billion worldwide with an increase usage of 7.3 percent (316 million) from January 2020. In the same light, Social media users worldwide stand at 4.20 billion with indications that there was a 13 percent growth from January 2020. This represents 53 percent of the world population actively connecting on social media.
It is worthy of note that with half of the world’s population going digital, the world is not just a global village anymore but a click away. Many digital habits formed during the global lockdown has remained with people and there is now an evolution in the way people search the internet for information. All these have far reaching implications to advertisers.
This development calls for a rethink in the way we communicate. Advertisers are particularly at risk of missing their target markets with their marketing communications without a proper alignment to current realities and understanding where their markets are.
The rise of digital media as the go-to tool in the new normal we live in gives unprecedented opportunities for selective targeting and controlled advertising. The increasing social community opens doors for greater reach, more interaction, engagement and conversion for advertisers. More importantly, advertisers can position their brands to be a part of people’s lives through strategically coordinated digital media planning.
So with all these in mind, let us examine some of the media trends in the new normal and how they will impact advertiser.
- Winning through content Creator Partnership
More than ever before, digital platforms are connecting more with people in the place of interest. Such interests are expressed through content creation. Yes indeed, over the years creators have become the new darlings of the digital world as they help to make content offering richer thus developing a much more vibrant and engaging digital communities. Communities are becoming smaller and well defined as groups galvanize towards contents that meets their information needs be it a comic skit, fashion, music, food, extreme sport, you name it. Little wonder that there are about 50 million people globally who regard themselves as creators with the numbers growing by the day.
The daily connections witnessed on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and a host of others with the amount of time spent on these platforms is not only a pointer to brands as to where to find their markets but also a call for strategic alliances with content owners and creators to leverage on existing communities for brand success.
2. Slimmed-down Media models standing as challenger
The imposing figures posted by some of the socials heavyweight are undeniable. Facebook alone boast of over a billion connections daily with reported increase in daily and monthly usage. But there are newer platforms spring up to challenge the status quo, especially in the face of public outcry and criticism of the practices of the established platforms. These new platforms offering slimmed-down media models as compared to the established platforms are bridging the gap and connecting with people in ways that are easy and safe as far as their audiences are concerned, with convenient moderation of such platforms to deliver seamless experiences. Platforms like Livechat, Spotify, Clubhouse, Substack give opportunities for people to build meaningful connections with their communities rather than rely on programmed recommendations for engagement.
As more and more people shift attention to these Slimmed-down media model in search of satisfying social experience, advertisers must be awake to the task of cultivating customer experience options that are less intrusive and do not come through as desperate attention grabbing efforts. Creative presentation of brand offerings that suite the temperament of digital communities on this platforms will be key to success.
3. Enter the Metaverse
The Metaverse may not be a new concept but the idea of actually bringing it to reality is. The hype surrounding the topic is gradually climbing to a frenzy. It is argued that Augmented Reality (AR) is the future and that future starts now. With studies indicating a mixed consumer reaction to the idea of a virtual world, it is safe to say that just a small percentage of acceptance is enough to kick start the process. While nearly four in 10 adults in the US have not used and are not interested in using AR and VR while shopping according to a study by Bizrate, it is believed that 23% of these are very much interested in trying it out. For a generation that is taken up by new inventions, hesitation in adopting the technology will definitely change. The question remains, how far will this change be evident in 2022? The competition brewing in the Metaverse space is a huge factor to consider with Facebook re-branding as Meta with greater focus on AR, Microsoft announcing Mesh as it metaverse platform and even Elon Musk considering stepping into the game, the result will be a scramble for the meta space with a lot of interest from the populace.
Advertisers needs to start early to familiarize themselves with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and experiment with these tools to enhance customer experience preparatory to full adoption of Metaverse. Brands can take a cue from Snapchat example of opening virtual pop-up store for Wal-Mart.
4. Continued Revenue Increase for Social Media
Indeed changes are happening all around, but one of the things that will remain constant in 2022 is the increased revenue from social media. According to a forecast by eMarketer in 2020, it was predicted that Twitter will hit the $2billion advertising revenue in the US alone during 2021. The projection implied a 38.5% increase over 2020 figures. The forecast also hinted that Instagram for the first time will contribute over 50% of Facebook net advertising revenue in 2021 which came in as $50.30billion.
Advertisers should be encouraged to continue awareness for new ad features as there is the likelihood that digital ads will still deliver massive values in customer journey messaging with demand for demonstration of ROI being cushioned by evolution in options.
5. Social Commerce and Customer Service will climb together
The trend on shopping for goods and services will continue to grow prompting continuous roll out of social commerce features. While customers have grown accustomed to online purchases and fast delivery of same, there will also be a surging demand for fast customer service experience to match purchasing experiences. While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of social media channels set up for customer service, the next milage will be exceptional service delivery for retentive customer experience.
Advertisers must invest in effective interactive customer service leveraging more on social media rather than pay lip service to this part of the brand interaction. A clear understanding of new social media platform feature and how they will be best used to engage customers in order to deliver the most benefit will be a crucial point to note.\
6. Bite-Size content will achieve more
There is just too much information out there and people are not wired to be patient to absolve all of it. In a fast paced society where everything is preferred delivered quick and easy, no body is waiting around to be burdened by lengthy content. People scrolling through their feeds are watching short videos, image based info-graphics, and pictorial representation of lengthy texts. Intagram, Facebook, and Snapchat enables brands promote new products or services in ways that meet the attention span of audience.
Advertisers creativity will be tested more and they learn to cope with the dynamics of their audience. It will not be how long but how well.
7. Increased Influencers’ Influence
Social media influencers have become an indispensable part of the digital ecosystem and believe it when it is mentioned that their influence is far reaching. However, as the world progress there will be a huge demand on traditional influencers to step up their games as a new set of influencers will emerge thanks to the proliferation of creative tools that allow people to do more. This new set of influencers are regarded as Creators. Influencers value have been reshaped since the pandemic and now relevance is becoming narrower by the day. The creator influencers are the ones that will reap the benefits of gathering based on their creative offering.
When it comes to branding and leveraging engagement, advertisers must take cognizance of these two categories of influencers and strategically operate with the best option that will deliver business goals.
8. Video Metrics is being shaped by Short Video Adaptation
The arrival of TikTok on the social media scene has caused an inevitable revolution in social media video sharing with the platform dominating the space effectively. Other platforms like YouTube and Instagram have taken on the challenge and looking to compete in the same space with the introduction of YouTube shorts, Instagram is realigning its identity to emphasis video or image. TikTok spoke to the needs of a fast paced, mobile population and for them, the result has been phenomenal.
As the competition intensify in 2022, Advertisers must creatively use the available platforms and their new offerings to engage their audience. Effectiveness of correlation between playback and conversion must be established for better planning and improved ROI.
9. The Video Streaming Addiction
Netflix, Showmax and other emerging video streaming platforms have come to stay as part of our new normal. With entertainment on the go, creation of more exciting contents and improvement in internet connectivity world-wide, there is no doubt that the market has moved outdoor and is always on the go now.
Leveraging on this platform in non intrusive ways to connect with the customer is going to be one of the many challenges that needs solving by the advertiser. Although expensive as an option, but immersing the brand into the entertainment experience of the audience will be a great way to overcome this challenge.
Flowing with the new normal
While these trends are not exhaustive of what to expect in the new normal, advertisers will do well to seek partnerships that will deliver best value for the growth and health of their brands.
Babsomo Communications offers tailored made media solutions that blends traditional and more importantly digital media channels into a potent arsenal in the hands of advertisers to deliver seamless communication experience in the new normal. Click here to know how we can help.
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