As the world has changed since March of 2020, the way we consume media has evolved alongside it. Through it all, the technology we use for work, school, and entertainment has played a crucial role in adapting to life as we know it. The COVID-19 pandemic has especially accelerated media trends, so we’ve highlighted some of them to consider incorporating into your marketing strategy.
1. Connected TV is growing rapidly.
Chances are, you’ve watched something on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video over the past couple of years. You’re not alone; 82% of households in the U.S. own at least one connected TV device such as Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV. Not only did we all stay in our homes during the pandemic and need a source of entertainment by watching shows and movies, but the number of streaming services increased. During the pandemic alone, we saw the launches of Peacock, HBO Max, Paramount+, with Discovery+ and Disney+ launching mere months before lockdown began. With more ways than ever to watch, a programmatic CTV campaign offers more ways to reach your audience beyond linear TV.
With the rise of CTV platforms, more people have been “cutting the cord” with their traditional TV service. When previously buying TV, Nielsen primarily counted viewers of any given program only through a traditional TV service. In order to deliver a more accurate audience measurement, Nielsen recently announced that they would start including broadband only (BBO) homes, which further supports the growing popularity of connected TV.
2. QR codes are back.
In the early 2010s, QR codes had widespread popularity in the US, with businesses using them on a large scale. In reality, they weren’t being adopted by consumers as widely because the ability to scan them was limited to an app that you needed to download. It wasn’t until Apple’s iOS 11 update in 2017 that the camera on your phone had an integrated QR code scanner, but consumers still weren’t accustomed to scanning them. Then in March 2020, it became a necessity.
As restaurants and other essential businesses were open during the pandemic, in order to minimize contact and maintain social distancing, QR codes became integrated in menus and signs as a way to quickly bring up the information you needed and complete an action. Now that we are more accustomed to scanning QR codes, they are being used in a similar way in advertising.
One of the QR code integrations that is becoming widely adopted is in interactive TV commercials. It’s common for people to use their phones when commercials are on, so a way to capture the attention of viewers is to include something interactive, such as scrolling left or right with their Roku remote, or now, scanning a QR code with their phone to learn more.
3. Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.
This is the mantra of TikTok, who recently surpassed YouTube in the number of average monthly hours per user. In a similar story as connected TV, viewers spent more time on all screens during the pandemic, including mobile phones. TikTok now boasts 1 billion global users who are actively looking to engage with content, which provides an opportunity to get creative with your message.
The most effective ads on TikTok are authentic and not your traditional ad format. Successful campaigns don’t always require a paid ad, either. By tapping into a relevant cultural moment with a hashtag or by partnering with a popular creator, you can rely on user-generated content to create buzz around your brand.
Check out these examples for some inspiration from brands that are using TikTok in successful ways.