Canadians are now more settled into life during a pandemic and have adapted to their new homebody life so without the usual hustle and bustle commutes, scheduled break and lunch windows, and daily in-store shopping, how can advertisers reach audiences like they did pre-pandemic and infer a next best action or consumer need?
Pandemic life has the morning commuter walking to their designated work area at home, and the sports and live event lovers are casually streaming their favourite concerts and sports games from the couch. Despite this change in consumer behaviour, brands can still tag along for the new customer journey.
The homebody economy is now the new norm and brands can politely knock on the front door and ask for permission to enter. From shopping, studying, working, and consuming entertainment, there’s a spot in the kitchen, on the couch and in the bed for brands. The opportunity for brands to interact and engage audiences exists throughout every room of the home. We’re long past the “We’re all in this together” campaigns so make sure you are now reaching people at home in a fresh, fun and entertaining manner by adapting to the consumers new in-home needs and routines.
So let’s break it down:
Despite consumers spending more time on mobile, the living room is still a staple for entertainment. For many families and individuals, its where the biggest screen in the home lives and with casting from mobile now being an easy thing to do, many are spending time still consume media in the living room. In Q1 streaming video gained even more steam in Canada thanks to quarantine, and brands took notice. As restrictions eased, and people started to get back out, many Canadians continued streaming and consuming content in this room.
This living room presents a great opportunity for branded entertainment advertising, whether that be pre-roll, post-credit, during a break, or in the menu of the platform being used to stream. Additionally, Smart Tv’s with the ability to play OTT content present a great place for brands to reach these types of audiences as OTT subscriptions and free tv users in Canada grew by 58% during the pandemic.
Without much to do, and public health restrictions keeping Canadians home, many have turned to staying connected on social media and on other apps such as gaming to feed the desire to stay social. For 87% of users the trend of ‘checking in’ starts from the moment the user wakes and ends just before they close their eyes to go to sleep and another 65% can’t wait more than five minutes after waking up to ‘check in’.
For brands this presents a great opportunity to stand out within the endless scrolling of social feeds, and the breaks between game play on free apps as the percentage of user media diet on digital media alone is 53.3% in Canada. The advantage of in-app advertising is that it can be done in a non-intrusive reward-based format or even delivered in the new audio ads being used across many gaming titles.
When deciding where to advertise, visibility, engagement and brand safety are all things to consider – which many highly rated and sought-after apps tend to do better than larger social media networks.
Brands that depend heavily on advertising to business audiences have felt the hit hardest. Pre pandemic places to advertise in are not like they used to be. Ad placements in airports, airlines, travel destinations, hotels, billboards, taxis, desktop, and physical space at conferences have shifted to digital. Knowing that the in-office experience is gone or not as large as before, brands have taken to connecting with their business audience in the channels that are keeping them company. And the need for a social environment is keeping many work from home employees streaming podcasts or listening to music. The result has been smart speakers running more than ever and brands can join the journey by providing fun, and engaging, advertising that users can verbally engage with.
A perfectly placed ad during a podcast or music break on a smart home speaker can be the difference between creating awareness for a new product or even immediate conversion by having the end user say something like “ALEXA, add this product to my cart” or “Learn more about this product”.
Without in-office experiences and the in-office comradery, many work from home consumers are desiring some sort of engagement, so why not have a conversation with them.
With many provinces on lockdown, most of us can’t get a haircut, get to a gym, get our pets groomed, or dine out. The result has been the creation of a do-it-yourself culture.
YouTube reports that there has been an explosion in selfcare genres across Canada during the pandemic, along with video trends for learning new skills such as cooking, home workouts and meditation. But YouTube is not the only place brands can reach do-it-yourself audiences.
Learning apps and smart speaker tech now empowers consumers to go beyond just the product by either clicking an ad or saying key phrases to learn more about the brands they love. This includes learning skill such as how to cook with or use a product. With smart speaker advertising, brands use voice commerce and actionable audio advertising to build a two way communication between themselves and the consumer. In addition to this, intelligent advertising can be built to target music or podcast streamers using smart speakers at home. A market that 37% of Canadians listening each month while 70% of Canadians say they listen to some form of digital audio each month. And with the continued cancellation of live music events, continues to fill the void of left by live music and performance based entertainment.
Managing it all:
Despite all these new ways to reach consumers at home, the key to getting this done will be the ability to adapt on the fly. Most ad networks and platforms offer flexibility to fine-tune ad placements, but not many can offer the guarantee of delivering your ads in apps or channels that are 100% brand safe and delivered to already engaged users in an un-intrusive manner.
Ultimately, staying current with the changes being brought on by Covid-19 matters, and having the right team to support you is crucial to the success of the modern day ad campaign. So this year, think like your new homebody consumer. Plan, execute, deliver and monitor.
Learn how you can do all of this with us here at APEX.
Carlos Guevara is the Marketing Manager at APEX Mobile Media, previous host of the podcast "In Search of Good Data" and has helped various organizations in the private and non-profit sector to become more customer-centric with the use of enriched data.