Traditional media will bounce back. Digital media will continue to thrive. But the difference will come from enhanced consumer expectations of the online shopping experience.
With retail outlets closed and everyone in lockdown, online competition heated up with many businesses upping their game to attract sales. The property clients were quick to promote virtual home tours and Universities, Museums, Zoos and travel companies quickly followed providing online platforms and virtual walk throughs of campuses, exhibitions and holiday destinations. A great immersive way to experience a product or service from the comfort of your own lounge.
People will continue to seek these virtual walkthroughs, video demonstrations of the product, access to all the specifications, reviews and clear pricing. They want to know exactly what they get for their money and how and when it will be delivered. Businesses will need to be more obvious and take the guess work out of what they want consumers to do next. Web experiences need to improve because if it isn’t a good one, people will simply go elsewhere. A great campaign will now have a sales message complemented with helpful content and tools to give consumers confidence they are making the right decision.
So while the advertising landscape will not be greatly changed in the future, the experience businesses need to deliver to convert savvy online consumers will have to improve.
And what of the impact of COVID-19 on the advertising industry?
The shift to online news has had the most significant impact on newspapers and magazines. The biggest media casualty of COVID has been more than 100 News Corp regional and community titles that will no longer be printed but will move to a digital-only format. In NSW the Rouse Hill Times will cease to exist in any form. In April, according to Nielsen Digital Ratings, Australia’s top 10 news sites saw an average increase in readers of 57%, with the time spent online more than doubling.
Outdoor, radio and our friends in cinema land all had their revenues fall off a cliff. Outdoor advertising hit its lowest point in early April. New mobile ID tracking data supplied by QMS showed weekly total audience contacts dropped by 67%. Hardest hit was the CBD down 71%, suburban was down 41%, and regional down 34%. These numbers are now on an upward trajectory.
Radio was hit hard with many businesses pulling advertising. GfK Australia reported that 7 out of 10 Australians were listening to as much or more radio, with a clear shift to talkback formats. Radio consumption is now on the way back up as people are getting back in their cars. Advertising spend will follow.
Cinema advertising was hit the hardest. Hoyts closed their cinemas across Australia for the first time in its 111-year history and the $1.2bn Australian Box Office could drop 50% in 2020 as a result. With the increase of video streaming and quality movie content being released across Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Disney+ the question is being asked if people will want to return to the cinemas. Of course they will. You can’t make a choc-top at home, or spill popcorn on the floor for someone else to clean up.
One of the broadcast channels that has benefited throughout these times has been TV. There has been a renewed interest in linear TV with time spent in front of the box never being so high. During the peak of lock down the number of Australians watching TV across the day increased by 22% with prime time news bulletins increasing 30% over the same period. These numbers are however starting to drop back to normal levels.
The broadcast media channels we use to interrupt potential customers, and to put products or services on their radar, will go back to the way they were. High reach. Impact. Interruption. The exciting thing here is the innovation in data and tech that we are starting to see emerge across these traditional channels will allow for more refined targeting and more accurate tracking. Watch this space.
In the mean time, when considering your next campaign, give your customers all the information and tools they need to feel confident they are making the right decision. Don t hold anything back.Give them everything they need and clear direction on what you want them to do next. They are smart, they will make the right decision.