We’re desperate to say goodbye to COVID-19 and lingering pandemic. There is good news when it comes to economic recovery and spending: according to Deloitte’s latest United States Economic Forecast, PCE is likely to increase by 7.6% in 2021 and by 3.9% in 2022, a sharp change from the 3.9% contraction last year. So what trends emerged from the coronavirus pandemic that are likely to stick around? How can advertisers adjust their strategy accordingly? Let’s dive in.

1. Ecommerce is Booming & So Is Multi Channel Shopping

Stay-at-home orders revealed that consumers were just as – if not more – willing to shop for everything from groceries to tech online. Even when the ability to shop in-store returned, ecommerce continued to grow, and forecasts predict record-breaking ecommerce sales into this holiday season and beyond. As consumers became more comfortable with shopping online (and retailers made the experience easier to navigate), they also adopted a multi-channel shopping approach. Whether it be researching on their phone, trying in-store, then buying online at their desktop with click and collect – or any other combination thereof – a multichannel shopping experience is here to stay, and advertisers need to step up their strategy to meet the demand.

US ecommerce sales are expected to grow 17.9% this year to reach $933.30 billion, and ecommerce is now on track to surpass 20% of total retail by 2024, according to eMarketer. In the US, omnichannel shopping has grown by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic (Nielson via Facebook). And let’s not forget click and collect: US shoppers spent $72.46 billion via click and collect in 2020, a 106.9% growth rate over 2019; eMarketer forecasts that click-and-collect sales will grow 15.2% in 2021, and 150.4 million people in the US will make a purchase via click and collect at least once in 2021.

The Stats:

  • Deloitte’s latest United States Economic Forecast, PCE is likely to increase by 7.6% in 2021 and by 3.9% in 2022, a sharp change from the 3.9% contraction last year (Deloitte, 2021).
  • Ecommerce is now on track to surpass 20% of total retail by 2024 (eMarketer, 2021).
  • US ecommerce sales are expected to grow 17.9% this year to reach $933.30 billion (eMarketer, 2021). 
  • In the US, omnichannel shopping has grown by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic (Nielson via Facebook).
  • US shoppers spent $72.46 billion via click and collect in 2020, a 106.9% growth rate over 2019 (eMarketer).
  • eMarketer forecasts that click-and-collect sales will grow 15.2% in 2021, and 150.4 million people in the US will make a purchase via click and collect at least once in 2021 (eMarketer, 2021).
  • Over 150 million people will make at least one purchase via click and collect this year in the US (eMarketer, 2021).
  • Click and collect will account for 9.9% of all retail ecommerce sales this year (eMarketer, 2021).
  • US click-and-collect sales more than doubled in 2020 and will sustain double-digit growth rates over the next four years (eMarketer, 2021).
  • There has been 1.3X growth in mobile purchasing, globally, for the holiday season since 2018 (Facebook)
  • Retail mobile ecommerce sales grew 15% in 2021 and is expected to grow 22% in 2022, reaching $435.75 billions (eMarketer, 2021)
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2. Context Discovery Commerce in COVID and Beyond

With a multichannel shopping experience comes a more thoughtful shopping experience. Consumers are looking for – and accepting – help and guidance from brands when it comes to shopping online. Creating digital ads – discovery aides – that help shoppers determine what to buy based on what they are likely to love (thanks to context clues and audience groups, for example) is crucial to success and will continue to be trending in 2022 and beyond. Maximizing contextual targeting and context-driven optimization will ensure your ads and content find your target shoppers. Make your consumers’ shopping job easier. Don’t just meet them at their needs; anticipate them.

The Stats:

  • 63% of global shoppers surveyed enjoyed discovering items they weren’t actively looking for (Facebook).
  • Half of all shoppers polled experienced some difficulty knowing what to buy for others, highlighting the need for discovery aides-especially during the holidays (Facebook).

3. Spend on Native Ads Increases, Still Preferred by Consumers 

When it comes to digital ads, consumers are more than accustomed to their omnipresence while browsing the web. Still, consumers expect a higher-than-ever level of sophistication from digital ads: unobtrusive, soothing to the eye, and relevant to the content they are consuming. As patience for aggressive advertising tactics wanes, native advertising is seeing a resurgence in popularity, especially in the post-pandemic era as consumers spend more time than ever on their electronic devices from work to shopping to personal entertainment.

Nonintrusive ads are crucial: a solid majority (63%) of adblock users said they’d be willing to accept ads on websites if their ad experiences were light and nonintrusive, per a 2021 Blockthrough survey via eMarketer, and even respondents that disliked certain types of ads could tolerate them under the right circumstances. And consumers don’t just prefer it, they are more likely to interact with contextually-relevant native ads: a 2020 Outbrain and Content Marketing Institute study found that Native advertising on the open web that uses a softer trust-based approach to content marketing got 5-10x higher average CTRs than a more aggressive push marketing approach. Native advertising spend in 2020 reached $52.7 billion (which is 64.8% of all US digital display ad spend) according to Statista and Native display ad spending jumped from $47.33 billion in 2020 to $57.27 billion in 2021, accounting for a 16.2% increase, according to eMarketer.

Spend on native advertising increased during the height of the pandemic and will continue to grow: a 2021 AdYouLike analysis estimates that Native Advertising sector spending will jump 372% between 2020 and 2025 and the continued growth could ensure the global market is worth $400 billion by 2025.

The Stats:

  • A solid majority (63%) of adblock users said they’d be willing to accept ads on websites if their ad experiences were light and nonintrusive, per a Blockthrough survey (eMarketer, 2021)
  • 40.9% of respondents said they disliked certain types of ads but could tolerate them under the right circumstances (Blockthrough via (eMarketer, 2021).
  • Native advertising on the open web that uses a softer trust-based approach to content marketing got 5-10x higher average CTRs than a more aggressive push marketing approach. (Outbrain/Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
  • Native display ad spending jumped from $47.33 billion in 2020 to $57.27 billion in 2021, accounting for a 16.2% increase (eMarketer, July 2021)
  • ​​Native advertising is the second-best top-performing channel for video campaigns according to US publishers. (eMarketer, 2020)
  • Native ads create an 18% increase in purchase intent. (Outbrain, 2015) 
  • Continued growth in the native advertising sector could ensure the global market is worth $400bn by 2025 (AdYouLike analysis, 2021).
  • AdYouLike estimates that Native Advertising sector spending will jump 372% between 2020 and 2025  (AdYouLike analysis, 2021).
  • Native advertising spend in 2020 reached $52.7 billion (which is 64.8% of all US digital display ad spend) (Statista and Emarketer 2020)
  • Revenue generation from native advertising is expected to increase by 46% by 2021 (Native Advertising Institute, 2020)

4. A New Work Normal is Here to Stay

That’s right: working from home isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Of course this differs from industry to industry, but many who previously worked in an office have shifted permanently to working from home post-pandemic or in a hybrid situation (part time at home, part time in office).

According to a recent Upwork survey reported by Forbes , about 1 in 4 Americans (26.7%) will be working remotely in 2021. This is a significant change from 2018, when only 7% of civilian employees in the U.S. had an option to work from home. This means a permanent shift in digital sales and marketing tactics to reach at-home customers, from digital events to research content and more.
McKinsey found that even as in-person engagement reemerged as an option for B2B sellers, for example, buyers made clear they prefer a cross-channel mix, choosing in-person, remote, and digital self-serve interactions in equal measure. Digital strategies will need to adjust to keep up –including shifting to greater digital advertising efforts and online sales use.

The Stats: 

  • About 1 in 4 Americans (26.7%) will be working remotely in 2021 (Upwork via Forbes, 2021). 
  • Only 7% of civilian employees in the U.S. had an option to work from home in 2018 PewResearch via Forbes, 2021). 
  • 83% of B2B leaders believe that omnichannel selling is a more successful way to prospect and secure new business than traditional, “face-to-face only” sales approaches (McKinsey, 2021).
  • 83% of B2B leaders say that omnichannel is as or more effective than traditional methods (McKinsey, 2021)

5. The Inevitable Cookieless Future Will Alter Programmatic Strategy

The cookieless future is arriving sooner or later, even if the inevitable keeps getting postponed. Regardless of timing, advertisers still have cookieless front of mind and are adjusting accordingly. eMarketer’s Ad Targeting 2021 polled ad executives and many have not overhauled their strategy yet; 2022 will likely be the year catch up begins if it hasn’t already. eMarketer predicts that in this post-cookie world, multiple tiers of targeting will be required depending on which identifiers are coming through with a given bid request. Our best advice would be to start implementing multiple tiers of targeting sooner rather than later.
To read more about Bidtellect’s cookieless strategy and emphasis on our mix of contextual targeting, optimization, and audience creation, download our onesheet Bidtellect’s Solutions: Brand Safety and Context Control.

The Stats: 

  • eMarketer’s multiple tiers of targeting in post-cookie world: 
    • Logged-in impressions
    • Universal identifiers (like Unified ID 2.0 [UID 2.0] or LiveRamp ATS) 
    • Nonauthenticated impressions
    • There will also be other ways to target these non-logged-in impressions, including by using whichever Privacy Sandbox proposals end up getting adopted by Chrome or other browsers, publisher-created segments, and contextual targeting.
  • As late as Q4 2020, research from email ad monetization platform LiveIntent found that almost eight in 10 US marketers and publishers were still relying primarily on third-party cookies to determine the identity of their audiences (eMarketer, 2021).
  • The IAB’s 2021 “State of Data” report estimated $12.3 billion in spending last year on third-party audience data, as well as $8.0 billion on data activation solutions. Most of the audience data spending—$7.3 billion—went toward data used for digital channels (IAB via eMarketer, 2021)
    • The largest chunk of that spending was on demographic, firmographic, psychographic, and attitudinal data.
  • Programmatic is booming regardless: The US programmatic digital display ad market will pass the $100-billion mark by 2022, as third-party cookie deprecation looms closer (eMarketer, 2021)
  • Advertisers in the US will spend $285.58 billion on paid media to reach consumers with messaging (eMarketer, 2021). 
  • About half of adult US internet users said that when brands use their data in advertising, it helps them discover (50%) and find (49%) products and services that interest them.

We hope these 5 digital advertising trends in a post-covid economy help you plan your campaigns with ease. Bidtellect is available for all your programmatic needs. Reach out to learn more. 

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