Connected TV and online shopping here to stay post-pandemic – as brands play catch up

Fiona Roberts
By Fiona Roberts | 25 May 2021

Fiona Roberts, MiQ Commercial Director
It’s hard to remember the way the world – and our lives – were before the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, it’s a period we’d be quite content to have wiped from our recent memories if we could. What’s interesting is that many of those changed behaviours are here to stay. If as an advertiser you’re still hoping we will revert back to how it was pre-pandemic, you’ll be disappointed, and that has implications for your advertising investment decisions.

While the pandemic has only really been a part of our day-to-day for 12 months, for many, it’s almost impossible to remember how we worked, interacted, and behaved before the lockdowns, social distancing, and work-from-home reality of 2020.
The global pandemic and its impacts forced many of us to change the way we structure our daily lives and adapt to a “new normal” – a world of online shopping, Zoom meetings, daily use of QR codes to track our movements outside our homes, home schooling etc… all punctuated by finding new ways to “spend time” with family and friends.

A global study which included Australia, was commissioned by MiQ to examine how consumers adapted in 2020, what changes are likely to be temporary, and what’s likely to become entrenched in post-pandemic life.

The biggest shift is in the consumption of TV – particularly connected TV (CTV).

For Aussies, half the nation spent more time in front of the TV during the pandemic – which was good news for advertisers - even if not so good for our waistlines. Lockdown accelerated the rise of new channels and platforms, with significant growth noted on new and emerging platforms. CTV viewing jumped by 200%.
Subscriptions like Netflix, Stan, and Disney+ soared as we sought out games, lifestyle content and sport to get us through lockdown. This love affair with our TV screen isn’t going anywhere – our data showed the growth in content consumption on OTT has continued well into 2021. Interestingly, it’s not just Gen Z looking for a TV binge – those aged 35 or older are continuing to consume SVOD content, providing new markets for advertisers.
This trend also extends to shopping where the desire to purchase online has proven increasingly popular with both young, digitally savvy shoppers, and a new audience – the older shopper, who previously preferred going to a bricks and mortar store. With lockdown, came the temporary closure of many physical shop fronts, forcing people to hit their devices for a shopping spree. Now shoppers from both ends of the age spectrum have grown to love online buying. While many people said they
were looking forward to returning to retail outlets, nearly half (46%) said they felt positive about buying clothes and accessories online, even post-lockdown.

So, what does all this mean for advertisers? 
For many brands, the pandemic has forced them to sit down and reassess their audiences and how they reach them. The study revealed five new audiences that have emerged post-pandemic, all waiting to hear from advertisers with content and products relevant to them. The post-COVID-19 world is about the ‘self-improvers’, the ‘parent-teacher playmates’, the ‘fitness fanatics’, the ‘entertainment junkies’, and the ‘online shoppers’. These groups represent powerful new audiences for advertisers – and their influence shouldn’t be underestimated. Now is the time for brands to harness these fast-emerging markets and shift their advertising investments accordingly. Take full advantage of Aussies’ renewed focus on health and wellbeing, the desire to learn a language or a new hobby, to stream and view TV and movies, and to head online to stock up on clothing, electronics, beauty products and more.

For consumers, 2020 – the so-called year of the pandemic – was all about change. And it’s the same for advertisers. Businesses now have more platforms, outlets, and options to reach consumers but being able to tap into the right people, at the right time, with the right message is the greatest challenge. With so many options available and so many new audiences, how do you know your content is getting into the right hands? It is about accessing the available data and harnessing it to be strategic with campaigns. Start by understanding the metrics and the people you need to target – and adjust your advertising from there.

Hey, if Aussies can respond and adapt to the post-pandemic world, so can we.

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