What challenges do advertisers face?

Digital Marketing Trends 2021

Jan 25, 2021

10 minutes reading time

This is what awaits us in 2021

In 2020, everyday personal and professional habits as well as political debates and civil activism were influenced by the global pandemic. As a result, a change in personal attitudes and also a changed media user behavior has developed. More and more users claim to have complete transparency about marketing activities of companies regarding their data. As a result, advertisers need an efficient strategy across all touchpoints and channels in order to reach users accordingly, e.g. via shopping on social media. In addition, the competition is growing on all digital touchpoints of the customer journey for advertisers. Therefore, they will have to adapt their communication and apply targeted strategies in order to attract the user's attention at the right time. In 2021, topics such as brand safety, multi-channel strategies and the most native integration of ads in the respective user interface of the platform will play an increasingly important role.

360-degree user approach on the advance

For several years now, advertisers have faced the challenge of walled gardens becoming less and less accessible. At the same time, harmonizing the fragmented device environment is becoming increasingly important and requires a holistic approach across the entire customer journey. For 2021 we forecast a high phase for the harmonization of cross-device and cross-channel strategies. Now it is possible through already established partnerships and conceptual and technical cooperation between various players in the media landscape to combine multiple devices and channels in holistic campaign strategies in order to achieve individual marketing goals. One example of the form of collaboration is the introduction of the cross-device bridge - a result of the collaboration between Seven.One Media, esome and virtual minds. This makes it possible to implement TV (linear, ATV, CTV) and digital (programmatic, social media) campaigns across all devices (TV, tablet, smartphone) in order to achieve net reach or holistic storytelling for customers. In addition, the digitization of other traditional channels such as OOH and audio, as well as the programmatic purchase of inventories, enable new targeting options and the integration of these channels into a holistic campaign strategy.

Result orientation and KPI focus influence the long-term marketing strategy

The universe of digital marketing has grown rapidly in recent years and the challenge of using media budgets profitably in all channels is growing steadily. In 2021, a strategy with a focus on KPIs and results will be the focus of the entire marketing funnel for efficient online marketing. In the long term, advertisers will be able to benefit from the advantages of guaranteed performance values, billing based on results and a holistic target group approach. In addition, measurement service providers such as DoubleVerify, Nielsen and tech platforms such as Xandr offer more and more options to use validated, qualified and measurable KPIs such as visibility, completion or on-target-rate in order to successfully implement multi-platform strategies. In addition, not only large companies from the USA now offer result-based concepts, but also in Germany with ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE and its internal units such as esome - the Media Outcome Manager - the possibility of a holistic service consisting of digital KPI- To implement products across the company's inventory.

Digital commerce continues to gain acceptance

In 2020 we witnessed a progressive transformation of digital commerce. Many platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok have expanded their shopping offerings with new functions and, together with their partner Shopify, have made "social commerce" one of the most important trends for 2021. A study by Greven Medien shows that a third of all Germans already shop online via social media channels. In addition, 2021 will be the ideal opportunity for brands to develop a strategy for "conversational commerce" via channels such as WhatsApp. Companies enter into a direct exchange with consumers in order to convince them to make a purchase. Shopping via live streams in apps is now a rapidly growing and lucrative market for advertisers, as users can purchase products in a live stream without having to leave the app. Especially when access to local retailers is restricted, selling via live streams represents a great opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Audio and voice-controlled touchpoints are increasingly being used for digital marketing measures

The listening habits of users have changed over the course of the pandemic. As a result, digital audio touchpoints have become more relevant and the offering is becoming "smarter". The implementation of digital audio in the branding strategy for 2021 will fill touchpoint gaps in the customer journey and increase reach potential. According to a current RMS study, almost 40% of German Internet users use smart speakers and the online audio offer now reaches 70% of the German population - with growth of 14% by 2020. In addition to the growing relevance of voice-controlled devices such as smart- Home components or wearables, new advertising formats are changing the way in which users consume audio advertising. Spotify has integrated Native Ads into its growing podcast offer, YouTube enables audio ads, Netflix is ‚Äč‚Äčexperimenting with pure audio offers and the Seven.One Entertainment Group is bundling its audio divisions Fyeo, an audio app, and the Podcast Factory in a new unit the name Seven.One Audio.

Video streaming services continue to gain in relevance

The shift from linear television to subscription and free models continues to increase. During the pandemic, video streaming services gained relevance and established themselves as an indispensable part of daily life, especially during lockdowns. Streaming services will continue to be a trend in 2021, enabling advertisers to reach a highly engaged audience. Customers not only use advertising-financed connected TV devices as a supplement to their existing subscription services, but also social media entertainment offers such as live streaming or virtual events from platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. For example, Twitch is moving away from a portal focused on games and starting to offer exciting opportunities for other industries and brands, e.g. for product launches. Live streams offer the opportunity to help shape the program via the virtual chat room, instead of just watching, and thus create a great deal of proximity to the streamers and the brands.

The end of cookies presents marketers with new challenges and opportunities

In 2021, the election year in Germany and the events of last year will again increasingly focus on data protection and legal regulations for digital platforms. This requires new ways for platforms to operate in a world without cookies. Experts believe that the efficiency and quality of targeting will be countered with a change from cookies as the primary tracking method to an extension of first-party data, which is extended by other digital identification options. This increases the relevance of the company's own channels. Brands can close the resulting data gap through increased direct marketing and increasingly through innovative, user-focused measures. There is also the option of submitting first-party data by using machine learning models to generate insights into user behavior. Tech service providers are also already working on technical alternatives such as Unified ID 2.0. This concept still requires the consent of the user, but uses encrypted and hashed email addresses to replace third-party cookies. Finally, Facebook is also continuing to work on its own server-to-server approach, the "Conversion API", which enables companies to send data and website events from their own server to the Facebook server. This data can then be evaluated like pixel events and used for optimization.

About the authors

Leticia Aguilar is a consultant at esome. One of her tasks is to inform the team about all the news and innovations in the market so that our customers and partners can always stay up-to-date and try out new formats.

Anila Shah is a consultant at esome. In her position, she promotes the exchange of knowledge in the team and provides information about news in the market in order to develop innovative strategies for customers.