Weekly Recap – March 20, 2020

Lori Bahnmueller 03/20/20 - 9:49 am

Two people bump elbows.

So, Mix-A-Lot

Social distancing is disrupting media consumption, prompting brands reconsider their ad mix. Digital channels are getting a bump short-term in the U.S. in response to the pandemic, per Forrester Research. While Forrester’s domestic Digital Marketing Forecast, 2018 To 2023, suggests diverse marketing priorities—with TV representing the largest category of advertising spend—a short-term shift may be warranted. The coronavirus has significantly disrupted consumer digital routines much like their daily routines. In short, more time at home equals more time engaged in digital forms of information and entertainment.

+ Consumers are spending more time gaming. Nearly one-third of U.S. online adults use a smartphone for gaming, with game consoles being the second most popular device among this group. (Forrester predicts an increase in time spent gaming as consumers spend more time at home. The research firm points to the recent stock performance of major gaming companies like ZYNGA as proof of a positive outlook.

+ Consumers are spending more time streaming audio. Just over 30% of U.S. online adults stream music from their smartphones on the regular. A November 2019 eMarketer analysis predicted U.S. consumers would spend more time in 2020 listening to digital audio—whether streaming radio or podcasts—than traditional radio. Based on a study fielded in April 2019, adults are expected to increase digital consumption from 79.6 to 83.9% and decrease traditional radio listening from 80.4% to 79.5% in 2020.

+ Social distancing is likely to have positive impact on steaming audio as adults working remotely tune in to reduce stress and tune out home distractions. (“Mom, what’s for dinner? Pandora, take me away!) Consumers are listening to custom music mixes, to be sure, but podcasting is also showing potential—24% of U.S. online adults indicate they pay attention to podcast-based advertising.

+Consumers are spending more time on social media. When asked about social media usage, 28% of US online adults say, “I’m on it constantly throughout the day”: referring to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Penetration is especially high among generations We/Z, Millennial and X (eMarketer). How high? It’s 92.5% among 25- to 34-year-olds and 87.3% among 35- to 44-year-olds. And that was pre-coronavirus outbreak, in the Before Times back in November 2019.

+ As consumers look for information, updates, social connections and ways to pass the time, their time on social media will increase. On the other hand, their lack of trust in social media could make additional ad investments a challenge.

Quaran-Streaming

During the coronavirus outbreak, Americans are quarantining and quaran-streaming. Amidst the ever-concerning coronavirus, the entire world has turned to the news to keep current. However, in order to survive their self-quarantines, they’re also turning to streaming services. In fact, Nielsen is predicting that COVID-19 could cause a 60 percent increase* in the amount of media content we’re consuming.

+ With movie theaters, concert venues and sports arenas coming to a close, and the entire country being encouraged to stay home, it’s essentially binge watch or bust. (Case in point: A simple Google search for “what to watch during the coronavirus” yielded 2,470,000,000 results in .79 seconds.) So, for the foreseeable future, consumers are expected to capitalize on the large digital libraries built by Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, HBO and Apple TV. Especially since Hollywood studios are making some unprecedented moves.

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