Blog Post

COVID-19 Digital Marketing Trends That Are Here to Stay

05/18/2021 - Sierra Ducey

Over the past year, advertisers quickly pivoted their marketing strategies, embracing a digital-first approach. They promptly shifted any day-parting strategies away from that previously sought-after commuting time. New creative formats like high impact and native advertising were utilized to stand out amongst the digital noise. And, new audience targeting tactics were quickly implemented to ensure nimble budgets were optimized.

Now, a year later, as advertisers grasp what is working, we’re faced with another change. As guidelines change and restrictions lift, you may feel the pressure to make a quick pivot again.

There’s a silver lining. Many of the trends and consumer behavior changes brought about by the pandemic are now projected to continue long after it’s over. So, although re-implementing more digital out-of-home, geo-fencing, or foot traffic studies are smart investments as people return to a more normal routine, you don’t have to rethink your strategy altogether. 

Below we’ve outlined the top 3 digital marketing trends brought on by the pandemic but are here to stay and worth the continued investment. Additionally, we’ve included tactics and channel recommendations to help you zero in on these trends to remain in lock with consumers. 

3 Pandemic-Proof Digital Marketing Trends

1. Amazon Shopping Gives Google a Run for its Money

Amazon’s rapidly growing popularity outdates the onset of the pandemic. However, you can’t ignore the drastic boom the company saw over the last year and how it’s paved the way to increasing popularity in online shopping. In 2020, US e-commerce sales grew 44%, and Amazon accounted for a whopping 31.4% of that growth. 

It will come as no surprise that the online shopping giant has solidified its number one spot, rounding out the year with just under $300 billion in revenue. However, what may come as a surprise is their growing power in search. 

People have long seen Google as the search powerhouse, but more consumers now start those on Amazon than on Google when it comes to product searches. To break down the numbers, 67% of online shoppers begin on Amazon, while 35% begin on Google.

Digital Marketing Recommendation: Shopping Ads on Amazon and Google

Advertisers shouldn’t abandon Google search ads; after all, more than ⅓ of shoppers still turn to this search engine as their top choice. However, if you haven’t implemented an Amazon shopping strategy, the time to start testing it is now. You can implement keyword-based shopping campaigns that promote online and inventory and drive sales.

2. CTV Surppases Cable

Over the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming platform saw a dramatic boom in subscribers and viewers. Netflix, for example, reached 200 million paid members globally, 37 million of whom signed on to the service in 2020. 

As more streaming platforms enter the market, this trend isn’t expected to slow down. People will continue to opt for these viewing options more and more. So much so that the households advertisers can reach with streaming now outnumber those reachable with cable, 84 million and 78 million households respectively (according to the TradeDesk).

Whether cord-cutters, cord-shavers, or cord-nevers, consumers opting for Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) viewing is quickly growing, and advertisers have a window of opportunity to stay a step ahead of the competition with a timely investment. 

Digital Marketing Recommendation: Bring Video and CTV into your Omnichannel Strategy

CTV and OTT’s historical use has been for top-funnel strategies used to drive awareness. With a strategic retargeting tactic in place, this is an excellent investment for brands to make. For example, a consumer sees your video ad while watching their favorite program, and then as they’re browsing, they’re targeted with a display ad, keeping your brand top of mind. 

However, with attribution and measurement solutions in play, advertisers no longer have to rely on CTV for top-funnel messaging. Now, advertisers can measure the impact these specific ads have on conversions and sales. 

So whether using CTV ad placements for awareness, consideration, or conversations, it’s a wise investment to make to improve your omnichannel marketing strategy. 

For a deeper dive into the trends and benefits of CTV, check out our recent blog post, 7 Benefits of Incorporating CTV in Your Omnichannel Marketing Plan.

3. Digital audio has surpassed radio

Just as we’ve seen in the CTV vs. linear tv research, digital has reigned supreme in the audio world, as well. At the start of the pandemic, industry experts were worried about this channel. As most people no longer commuted, the usual time for tuning in, predictions indicated that listenership would decline. However, the reality was just the opposite. According to eMarketer, time spent with digital audio increased 8.3% to 1:29 per day; and, it’s expected to increase another 4.8% this year. 

Whether people are streaming while working from home, in their car, while working out, or as people head back into the office and that commuting window returns, digital audio is an excellent investment for advertisers moving forward.

Digital Marketing Recommendation: Podcast Advertising

In the realm of digital audio are podcasts, which alone have grown 16% year-over-year. Advertisers can layer on location, behavioral, contextual, and first-party data to reach audio listeners. Podcast advertising also gives creative flexibility to brands as they can choose between pre-recorded and host-read podcasts. 

For more on the latest digital advertising trends, check out our recent blog Digital Audio Advertising Trends: Your Guide to Reaching Listeners in 2021

Implement Emerging Channels into your Digital Marketing Plan Today

Today’s consumers spend, on average, 5.4 hours on their mobile devices. As digital consumption continues to grow, new trends, channels, and tactics will emerge for advertisers. 

It’s important to say in step with these behaviors and trends so you know you’re making the most of your advertising dollars. Whether it’s Amazon, CTV, digital audio, or other channels consumers have flocked to over the past year, with strategic data-driven digital ads, you can ensure you’re not missing opportunities to get your brand in front of consumers. 

Digilant: Digital Advertising Partner Raking You From Now to Next

At Digilant, we pride ourselves on staying in step (even a step ahead) of these consumer trends. We know that understanding what’s to come and what’s popular with consumers lends itself to more strategic, better-informed media proposals and strategies for our clients.  

Our team of planning & insights strategists are skilled researchers, diving into data sets and industry news to ensure our clients are prepared for the future of digital advertising. So if you’re ready to take the step and build a digital advertising strategy built to take you from now to next, we’re eager to talk. Contact us today!

Looking to learn more about Covid-19 driven digital advertising trends that are here to stay? Our latest webinar covers the top digital advertising trends that we’ve seen – and will continue to – dominate this year. Watch our webinar on-demand: 2021 Digital Advertising Trends here

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