Media trends 2021: Time for new ways of thinking

The ongoing Corona pandemic is having a significant impact on communications and media planning for 2021 – and so, of course, are the media trends for the coming year.
We have summarized the developments and measures that advertisers and agencies should keep a close eye on and which we believe will gain in importance in 2021.

Local Based Marketing
Regionality hasn’t just been trending since the Corona era, but is experiencing a huge push as a result of it. “Support your local dealer” is the current motto despite all the tendency towards online retail and co. especially in the lockdown phases. Regional proximity is becoming increasingly relevant.
And this fact is spurring regional communication. Hardly any discipline has benefited as much from the digitalization of the media landscape in recent years as regional communication or local-based marketing. Above all, digital options continue to gain in importance, primarily due to the combination of flexibility and efficiency by minimizing wastage.

Social commerce: Shoppable posts on all social media platforms
In the future, creators on YouTube will be able to offer products featured in their videos directly for purchase using the new YouTube software.
Influencers can thus regularly promote and present products that can be purchased by the community directly via product tags in the videos. As a result, Levis 2020 can already report 15 percent of its sales from social commerce.
Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest also plan to further expand social commerce. The market volume for social commerce was still around $30 billion in 2015. For 2021, a development of $165 billion is predicted by the market research institute TechNavio.
In the future, users will increasingly encounter advertising media in the social media context from which they can make purchases directly – even outside of an online store.

Flexible advertising media & more flexible booking models
The consequence of the first “hard lockdown” from spring 2020: a large number of planned and booked campaigns were cancelled and/or postponed at short notice. However, many advertising media do not offer this flexibility, which is why the situation became an enormous challenge for advertisers, agencies, marketers and media.
Corona is permanently changing the requirements and framework conditions – also in marketing planning. In 2021, advertisers will therefore demand significantly greater flexibility in their communications and advertising planning as well as in media bookings – above all industries that would be the ones to suffer in the event of another potential lockdown.
These demands for flexibility continue to fuel digital advertising efforts and the topic of programmatic advertising.

Higher desktop usage
Fueled by the Corona pandemic, the percentage of employees working from home offices will increase significantly compared to previous years. Online meetings are replacing face-to-face meetings, and chats are replacing “afternoon chats” with colleagues over coffee. By now, this has been learned and is part of the “new normal,” the new routine. The notebook and the PC are the contact points with colleagues. Desktop usage time, especially in a professional context, will therefore increase significantly in 2021. This will also be reflected in device analytics, which should be taken into account when planning digital advertising campaigns.

Sales-related measures
Even in times of crisis, investments are enormously important for the brand. However, in all likelihood, many companies will have less financial resources available for communications in 2021 and will be under enormous budget pressure. Especially those industries that are prone to pandemics (brick-and-mortar retail, tourism, gastronomy, leisure facilities, etc.) will try to make up for the losses of 2020. Efficient, sales-promoting advertising measures where ROI can be clearly measured will therefore be increasingly in focus, gaining share in the relationship between branding and performance. Measures are likely to shift heavily to digital media.

Retail media
Due to the ever-increasing online boom, online retail media will play an even greater role in 2021. Amazon is now the largest product search engine and has replaced Google. The ten top-selling online retailers generate over 40 percent of total sales in Germany. Wonderful conditions for Amazon, Otto & Co. to sell their customer data and expand targeted advertising in their ecosystems.

Around 20 million people in Germany now use smart speakers in their homes (source: RMS Smart Speaker Study 2020). The Corona lockdown in the spring led to more frequent smart speaker use among 42 percent of active users. It’s a trend that will continue and put pressure on Google’s SEO business. The big beneficiary will be online giant Amazon, which is the absolute market leader with its Echo voice recognition system. The Amazon Echo is still largely free of advertising. However, it probably won’t be long before advertisers can buy their way into the search results. But other forms of advertising will also gain in relevance. There has already been a lot of experimentation in voice advertising in 2020, and this will continue in 2021, increasing its importance in the media mix.

Podcasts have not yet been able to establish themselves as a “standard advertising channel” in Germany. According to the BVDW, there are now around 14,000 German-language podcasts on offer. The pandemic lockdown phase has given the podcast industry a renewed growth spurt. There are now over ten million regular podcast listeners in Germany – and the trend is rising. More and more advertisers are recognizing the potential of podcasts for themselves. In addition to the charming native advertising integrations by the podcast host, sponsoring and audio spots are increasingly being used. Especially the bundling of topic-affine podcasts together with a programmatic delivery of advertising measures should therefore enable a targeted marketing of the long tail in the future and fuel the willingness to invest in podcast advertising. However, this “professionalization” carrie

More micro-influencers
The demand for micro-influencers will continue to grow in 2021. In most cases, they focus on a niche and maintain a familiar, authentic relationship with their community. A big plus and an excellent environment for advertising effectiveness. Companies can achieve relatively great success with smaller budgets.

Addressable TV spots/advertising overlays
Addressable TV (ATV) is also not new. However, with the ongoing rise of existing TV devices connected to the Internet, this form of advertising will become more relevant – even in 2021. The ability to combine the wide reach of TV and the targeted addressability of target groups makes ATV one of the biggest growth drivers for TV advertising. New attention-grabbing forms of advertising that allow advertisers to stand out from the usual advertising block will drive demand. Programmatic booking platforms, through which much of the available inventory can be booked, will further enhance ATV’s appeal and make it more economical.

Relevance of business networks
The big winner in 2020 among business networks is LinkedIn. While Xing is now largely used for recruiting, LinkedIn has evolved into an exchange and marketing channel. LinkedIn now has over 15 million active users in German-speaking countries. Due to Corona, the use of the B2B network has increased significantly this year and will continue to be of great importance in the coming year. In terms of advertising opportunities, Linkedin is constantly expanding its offering. Due to its large reach, LinkedIn is not only suitable for B2B communication, but also an interesting channel for end customer communication.