#RoadTo2021: Advertising trends that will die in the New Year

Sameer Makani on advertising trends that will die in 2021

Sameer Makani shares how while some advertising trends emerge, many trends will stop working for brands as consumers change with digital transformation in 2021.

It wouldn’t be wrong to term 2020 as the year of disruption and transformation. What was expected to be a good year for the advertising sector turned out to be a catalyst for the digital transformation of the sector that made brands to recalibrate their approach and reallocate their budgets to digital advertising. This was largely due to growing online consumption because of the imposed lockdown and emergence of work from home culture.

In the last 5 years, advertising trends have evolved from traditional, print ads, and TV spots to advanced ad strategies that include QR codes, co-branding, content marketing, and online advertising tactics. While print and television ads have witnessed a slow-down lately, digital advertising has shed light on the neglected avenue that enables brands to reach a powerful audience that is measurable.

2021 is expected to be a variation point where marketers reaffirm their value by balancing long-term brand-building.

The sector will now be required to master an increasingly complex network of media channels and map the ROI while becoming stewards of critical issues like sustainability and data privacy. 2020 gave wings to new trends that reshaped the industry for the better. While some strategies worked some are likely to die in 2021.

Every year brands and advertisers experiment with new strategies that help them in driving consumer conversion. As the mobile advertising sphere heads the growth of the industry, traditional advertising formats are likely to take a major hit owing to the profound change in preference of the consumer. Some of the trends that are likely to die in 2021 are:

Disruptive Advertising

This format has helped many companies grow and become dynamic in nature in the past but with growing internet consumption combined with adblocker enlisted users, disruptive advertising is bound to die in 2021.

Brands have already shifted to integrated advertising with micro-influencers that has successfully driven their business growth with a strong online presence. For instance, a headphone brand like MIVI has successfully managed to build a strong brand image with solely integrated advertising with digital influencers. This is because of the ability of integrated advertising that is targeted to the consumer in the most authentic and non-disruptive way possible.

Also read: Opinion: How gamification enables interactive storytelling

Highly Detailed Personalization

Both brands and advertisers use the digital footprint of the potential consumer to provide a more personalized experience. Having said that, new-age consumers are now well aware of data privacy and with ongoing data breaches, it has started to worry users about how their data is being utilized. For example, the first month of 2021 brought a new privacy policy of WhatsApp that has made users switch to other platforms for conversation owing to WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy.

With tighter privacy laws coming in 2021, advertising that demonstrates how a company is respectful of its consumers and takes steps to secure their private information will build the brand’s image in the minds of the consumer. Highly detailed personalization will be restricted.

Content Gating

With the emergence of WFH culture and rise in online consumption, to ensure survival many advertising platforms have gated their content to increase the mailing list and earn subscription revenue. Generally, there are two ways of gating content. One where a paragraph of the content is visible but to go through the entire content one needs to subscribe and another one is getting to read a couple of free content posts to which the user is asked to subscribe. There is no denying that this has worked in the past in getting the data from the user and easy access to the email where a product or service can be promoted.

Having said that, the internet is evolved over the years making content available freely across websites. Keeping this in mind there is a possibility of the user not tuning into the platform owing to the fact of unavailability of free content. This in turn could decrease the ad revenue in a significant manner. For instance, news websites today are utilizing a subscription-based model for survival as the majority of their operational cost was coming from print advertising which took a major hit in 2020. But going forward, there is a huge possibility that the user will not check in on the platform knowing that it needs a subscription, but the user will prefer searching for the same news on other platforms where he can access it for free.

Due to the pandemic, the advertising industry took massive budget hits. In the past decade, the industry has been focused on driving efficiency, but with this unprecedented year, we suspect we’ll see a large investment in building resilience.

In 2021 the industry will need to develop capacity, invest in contingency capabilities, and prepare for a more imaginative set of future scenarios to ensure business continuity and success in the face of adversity.

This piece has been authored by Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives.