Top 5 Trends for Digital Advertisers in a Post-COVID Economy (With Data!)

Top 5 Trends for Digital Advertisers in a Post-COVID Economy (With Data!)

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. People are able to buy things online from all over giving them a wider range, this also helps businesses connect with their customers, especially as they have access to ecommerce translations that can help with communication across multiple platforms. 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. Many, for example, are turning to Smm panel services to boost their social media presence online. This sort of advertising appeals most to the younger market, helping to boost sales amongst teens and young adults.

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. These types of businesses have popped up a lot over the year with many going for the more ‘remote working’ option to help them work from wherever they can whilst making money, however, as businesses grow they may want to have a business address through a registered office in London so they can be a lot more professional as they build up their business and customers.

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)

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). Many people have begun to invest in laptops and other equipment in order to make working from home more efficient. You might find more info at this link if you’re looking for a new system.

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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B2B Post-Pandemic: Shift to Digital & Omnichannel, Context-Driven Advertising Necessity

B2B Post-Pandemic: Shift to Digital & Omnichannel, Context-Driven Advertising Necessity

The pandemic accelerated a clear shift – arguably already in the works – to online B2B sales. Omnichannel purchases have not only risen from last year to this year but from pre- to post-onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Tech, financial services, and energy are benefiting the greatest out of the B2B sectors. Display and mobile ad spending are seeing the most popularity. Digital strategies will need to adjust to keep up –including shifting to greater digital advertising efforts and online sales by using effective B2B SEO strategies to reach their intended business audience. Here’s what you need to know if you’re an advertiser in B2B.

Download Onesheet: B2B Post-Pandemic

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Accelerated Shift to Digital B2B Sales & Ecommerce

The pandemic accelerated a trend that was already emerging in the B2B space: digital sales. B2B had been shifting toward more ecommerce technology, fewer face-to-face sales calls, more digital communications, and more predictive customer relationship management tools for years. One indicator: millennials in B2B. Research conducted by Merit in 2019 found that up to 73% of B2B buyers are now Millennials. And according to the IBM Institute, Millennials prefer to engage B2B sales through email or phone nearly 3-to-1 over face-to-face meetings.

The number of online B2B purchases rose from 41% before lockdown to 46% during lockdown. During the pandemic, 90% of sales moved to a videoconferencing (VC)/phone/web sales model, and while some skepticism remained as of April 2020, more than half believed it to be equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19, according to McKinsey & Company. And B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions in the future, according to McKinsey.

  • ⅔ of buyers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service (McKinsey, 2021)
  • E-commerce was the most popular route to market for B2B companies as of February 2021 (marginally outpacing in-person). And 41% of leaders say it is their most effective sales route, beating out in-person (37%) and video (31%) (McKinsey, 2021).
  • 73% of B2B buyers are now Millennials (Merit, 2019).

The New B2B Omnichannel Sales Approach Is Here to Stay

“Without in-person events fueling the top of the funnel with leads, digital channels will need to do that heavy lift, at least short term. It is critical to optimize all channels and weigh how much to spend and where.” (eMarketer, June 2020)

Since the pandemic, digital methods have held on and cemented omnichannel interactions as the predominant path for B2B sales – that is, a mixed digital and in-person approach. According to McKinsey, even as in-person engagement reemerged as an option, buyers made clear they prefer a cross-channel mix, choosing in-person, remote, and digital self-serve interactions in equal measure. Eight in ten B2B leaders say that omnichannel is as or more effective than traditional methods-a sentiment that has grown sharply throughout the past year-rising from 54% at the start of the pandemic to 83% in February 2021, according to McKinsey.

Advertisers can be seen adapting to the new ways of marketing. Multiple platforms are providing facilities like lead generation to increase the sales pitch via cold calling, email marketing, which they can use resources such as mailfloss for so they can get rid of fake emails that may be affecting their business and marketing campaigns, as well as LinkedIn outreach, etc. Businesses could do an online search to avail service providers like SalesHive (here) or something similar, to gain all the benefits.

What does this mean for advertisers? Digital advertising has never been more essential to a B2B digital marketer to reach buyers. Moreover, since advances like conversion rates has come in to the picture, marketers are inclined to enhance their knowledge in digital advertising and conversion rates. In their efforts to adapt to this technological advancement, marketers also seem to be opting for courses similar to marketer training for CRO.

  • 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).

B2B Digital Ad Spend Increase: Display & Mobile

Overall, ad spending in the B2B sector fared well during lockdown. The US B2B Digital Ad Spending share is forecasted to grow $3.73 billion, from $10.84 billion in 2021 to $14.57 billion in 2023, according to eMarketer. Last year, we noticed a disconnect between B2B digital content creation and distribution spend. Since then, digital ad spending has increased substantially.

According to eMarketer, display ad spending is increasing, while search ad spend is decreasing. US B2B Display ad spending share is predicted to increase from 44.2% in 2020 to 50% in 2023, according to eMarketer.

Mobile is gaining its rightful place in spend popularity, which we identified as an opportunity in our pandemic assessment. According to eMarketer, the US B2B digital ad market, mobile will overtake nonmobile in spending share by the end of 2023 and generate $7.43 billion in ad outlays. To be fair, last year B2Bs focused on nonmobile ads to target audiences working from home and spent $5.16 billion on those placements.

Tech, financial services, and telecom are arguably most effectively maximizing the shift to digital and omnichannel sales approaches with the highest digital ad spend. Tech products and services hold the highest percentage of US B2B digital ad spending at 32.1%. Behind that is financial services at 25.1% and telecom at 10.1%, according to eMarketer.

  • In the US, B2B Display ad spending share is predicted to increase from 44.2% in 2020 to 50% in 2023. On the other hand, B2B search ad spending share is predicted to decrease from 51.7% in 2020 to 47% in 2023 (eMarketer, 2021).
  • Traditional B2B ad spending is decreasing while digital B2B ad spending is increasing on a yearly basis. In 2020, traditional B2B ad spending held 60.8% of the total ad spending share and is predicted to drop to 52% in 2023 (eMarketer, 2021).
  • In 2020, digital B2B ad spending held only 39% of the total ad spending share and is predicted to increase to 48% by 2023 (eMarketer, 2021).
  • The US B2B Digital Ad Spending share is forecasted to grow $3.73 billion, increasing from $10.84 billion in 2021 to $14.57 billion in 2023 (eMarketer, 2021).
  • Tech products and services hold the highest percentage of US B2B digital ad spending at 32.1% (eMarketer, 2021)
  • The US B2B Digital Ad spending share of the total digital ad spending jumped from 4.9% in 2019 to 5.7% in 2020. It is predicted to reach 5.8% by 2023 (eMarketer, 2021).
  • In the US B2B digital ad market, mobile will overtake nonmobile in spending share by the end of 2023 and generate $7.43 billion in ad outlays (eMarketer, 2021).

What Does This Mean for B2B Digital Marketers?

Buyers are online and they are looking for answers to their company’s problems. Digital marketing, in the form of high-quality digital advertising to deliver content to interested consumers, will increase awareness and brand favorability and establish B2Bs as a trusted source of expert information.

Utilizing context-driven programmatic advertising can strategically deliver ads next to relevant content and in front of the eyes of decision-makers like CTOs and CIOs. (Read more about Just Media’s successful approach to B2B digital advertising here.) Bidtellect’s well-rounded context-driven approach delivers maximum performance and engagement for advertisers. And going one step further: to enrich contextual targeting and optimization, Bidtellect’s platform creates proprietary audiences based on contextual information and browsing habits.

All this to say: B2B advertisers and digital marketers, don’t sleep on the power of a context-driven digital approach. B2B is moving online, maximizing an omnichannel approach, and spend on digital advertising and mobile is increasing.

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B2B and Coronavirus: The Digital Advertising Opportunity

B2B and Coronavirus: The Digital Advertising Opportunity

B2B sales during coronavirus are holding steady thanks to ecommerce. Adapting to work-from-home and digital events is key. The golden opportunity is digital advertising, according to data.

Download: “B2B and Coronavirus: The Digital Advertising Opportunity”

The Good News: B2B Product Sales are Happening Now Thanks to Ecommerce

The pandemic has accelerated a clear shift to ecommerce and online B2B sales. Online purchases have not only risen from last year to this year but from pre- to post-onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Tech, financial services, and energy are benefiting the greatest out of the B2B sectors. Digital strategies will need to adjust to keep up –including shifting to greater digital advertising efforts and online sales use.

  • The number of online B2B purchases has risen from 41% before lockdown to 46% during lockdown (Wunderman Thompson Commerce via MarTech Series, June 2020)
  • B2B online purchases have increased by 24% since last year. (WundermanThompson Commerce via MarTech Series, June 2020)
  • There is a 23% increase in the worldwide average company revenue share driven by ecommerce before vs. during the coronavirus pandemic. Research (McKinsey & Company)
  • Even in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of US B2B buyers are currently considering purchases for their business (LeadMD via eMarketer, April 2020).

These are the B2B sectors experiencing minimal impact (as compared with others), according to eMarketer, May 2020:

  • Tech and telecom (21%)
  • Financial services (28%)
  • Energy and utilities (29%)

B2B Sales Strategy & Budget is Shifting From Live to Digital

With live/in-person events canceled en masse in mid-March and continuing concerns around face-to-face meetings (most offices won’t be opening until 2021), B2Bs are adjusting their strategy and leaning on digital channels. Virtual events, email reach out, and Zoom meetings are the new normal.

This is not just a temporary x; this will likely be a permanent strategy in the future.B2B marketers are even preferring digital reach out, and are recognizing the value in digital marketing and interactions.

  • Almost 90% of sales have moved to a videoconferencing (VC)/phone/web sales model, and while some skepticism remains, more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19. (McKinsey, April 2020)
  • The same goes for live events: 49% of US B2B marketers replaced some of their live events with digital ones, while 19% used digital to replace most of their events (B2B Marketing Zone via eMarketer, March 2020)
  • B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions in the future. (McKinsey & Company, April 2020)

The B2B Opportunity: Digital Advertising

Buyers are online, and they are looking for answers to their company’s problems. Digital marketing, in the form of content marketing and distribution through high-quality digital advertising to scale, will be able to carry the load to reach target consumers, increase awareness and brand favorability, and establish B2Bs as a trusted source of expert information.

“Without in-person events fueling the top of the funnel with leads, digital channels will need to do that heavy lift, at least short term. It is critical to optimize all channels and weigh how much to spend and where.” (eMarketer, June 2020)

The problem is B2Bs are spending more on content creation than on distribution. 43% of US B2B Marketers are reallocating event marketing budgets not used because of coronavirus to Content Creation (eMarketer, March 2020).

The most important action steps B2B marketers can take is sharing the content they are creating with targeted buyers. As our CEO likes to say “If content is king, content distribution is king kong.” If no eyeballs see the content, it’s not worth its creation. Forbes recommended the same in their recent Five Ways To Pivot B2B MarketingPlans During The Pandemic, urging markets to leverage digital advertising as you reallocate marketing dollars. “With people currently spending more time at home and online, now is the time to jump into digital ads if you haven’t yet. Not only can ads help you build brand awareness, but they also can capture new leads”. 

A year ago in 2019, B2B companies in the US spent $6.08 billion on digital advertising, up 18.7% year over year, according to eMarketer. Even with this growth, eMarketer stated, B2B companies were slow to shift dollars to digital ads. Many still lacked the foundational data and technology to successfully leverage digital. There’s a gap that needs to be filled. B2B’s would do well to shift dollars and strategy to a full-service programmatic platform that has the technology to target buyers and decision-makers.

Further, utilizing contextual targeting in a digital platform can strategically deliver ads next to relevant content, complementing other intent strategies and delivering deep engagement with B2B’s content. (Read more about Just Media’s successful approach to B2B digital advertising here). Contextual optimization capabilities enable content to go beyond where standard banner and display ads can reach and in front of the eyes of decision-makers like CTOs and CIOs for meaningful engagement.

Another big opportunity: mobile. While more than 70% of total US digital ad dollars will go to mobile formats in 2019, B2Bs will spend just 37.3% of their digital ad dollars on mobile placements in 2019 (eMarketer)

In our opinion, “short term” is short-term thinking. This pandemic will instigate a long-term if not a permanent strategy and budget shift to digital.

Stay active in messaging: provide valuable information, truthful

Digital advertising will also keep B2Bs in touch with consumers. While some B2Bspaused their communication plans at the start of the pandemic, it should continue now if it hasn’t yet. B2Bs providing content that is relevant and useful will gain traction. Adjust messaging so it is informative and solution-oriented. According to eMarketer, B2Bs should show compassion and offer solutions and deals while being consultative during the pandemic.

B2B buyers agree. Roughly a third of B2B buyers said they would need more quality and accurate information about what they are buying, while 23% of respondents noted they would need to have more confidence in the purchases they are making (eMarketer, April 2020). The key is not just shoving information down buyers’ throats, but offering thoughtful, useful solutions and advice (products, services, and technology included) that will make their lives easier.

This includes catering to working-from-home. If B2Bs offer technology services to make working from home easier, this is their golden opportunity.

  • 30% of respondents of those spending more purchased video conferencing software (TrustRadius via eMarketer, April 2020)
  • 15% bought security software, such as VPNs and firewalls, to keep company information protected while working remotely. (TrustRadius via eMarketer, April 2020)

WATCH: 5 Ways B2Bs Can Adjust Digital Strategy & Brand MessagingBased on Coronavirus Impact

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

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