The media landscape in 2022 is more fragmented than ever thanks to the rise of new digital and social networks, and audience engagement is becoming more difficult. Where we once had defined audiences and understood consumer behavior, we now find splintered audiences and an increasing number of platforms - all competing for the same individual's time.
There are currently more than 131 social media channels for consumers to choose from. Digital media giants are quickly losing ground to fast-growing channels such as podcasts (which grew in listenership during the pandemic), Connected TV (moving away from cable and satellite tv to streaming services), and advertisers dancing away on TikTok.
This market shift seemed to happen overnight:
- Facebook lost around 500,000 daily active users at the end of 2021 — a first since the company was founded in 2004
- Netflix has lagged behind its rivals Disney+ and HBO Max in subscriber growth, losing hundreds of thousands of subscribers in the first 2 quarters of 2022
- Google suffered its first revenue dip in 2020 as brands pivot to other digital channels
- More than 1.2 million new podcasts were published on Spotify in 2021, driving the platform's podcast ad revenue which is projected to increase over the next three years, before reaching an estimated $414MM in 2024
- Instagram was unseated, with TikTok becoming the most downloaded app from 2019 into 2022
Despite this, many brands are slow to create a new digital media marketing strategy to respond to the trend shift and capitalize on the changing landscape.
On the other hand, many marketers have already immersed themselves in these new platforms and are ahead of the curve. Here are some best practices our top freelancers have recommended:
Know more about your audience
To understand audience engagement, you need to know how to reach people.
Skilled marketers build consumer profiles that tell the story of the people they want to target. They use this data to craft a digital marketing strategy that allows brands to connect with their desired audience by knowing them well.
Consumer profiles will vary in length and depth, but for most consumer profiles to be effective, they should include:
- Age and gender
- Job and income
- Hobbies and interests (this is a big one!)
Stay on top of changing trends
The consumer media diet has evolved a lot in the last decade, and consumption patterns are no longer static.
- 73% of social media users are on three different platforms, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
- Daily time spent on digital channels has increased by 58 minutes in the last 2 years – granted the world was in a pandemic, where we relied on digital channels even more.
Marketers *have* to stay on top of changing trends and mediums to ensure effective audience engagement. Brands can no longer expect their target audience to consume the same media or use the same platforms.
Evolving your strategy to meet the shifting landscape allows brands and marketers to catch the right people at the right time, in the right place - and in the right mood.
Make the most of a medium's quirks
Any marketer understands that you need to target the right platforms to capture your desired consumer's attention.
But, a smart marketer knows how to maximize any given medium by leveraging its unique qualities.
For example, in the past, many felt audio ads were inferior to visual ads. While visual marketing is an effective method of capturing a person's attention, audio ads (like on Spotify) can spur emotions in ways that images or videos cannot. The absence of visual cues forces listeners to fill in the gaps themselves. With the right team building the content behind the ad, you can drive the exact desired action.
Savvy marketers bring a deeper understanding of each platform, and can also minimize ad backlash, especially among ad-averse consumers.
Ads can dominate the digital landscape - a Hubspot study revealed that 91% of online users believe ads are more intrusive today compared to two to three years ago, making organic-looking ad content more important than ever. From TikTok to Instagram, the results are clear - authentic advertising is key.
It’s no longer just about showing the product. Even TikTok has encouraged advertisers to create ads that are authentic. Building social proof and trust is more important than ever. Ads on the platform have to look, feel, and sound like native content generated by any other user.
With this marketing philosophy, TikTok has drawn industry accolades, including the top spot in Kantar’s ad equity rankings for offering the “least intrusive and most innovative ad formats.” Which is driving marketers and brands to be far more aware of how to approach it.
Acknowledge that the market is changing
Media fragmentation is not going away any time soon. The digital media marketplace will continue to grow and expand in ways that aren’t always predictable. The ability to anticipate and acknowledge the fluid nature of the brand, the consumer, or audience, and how platforms evolve their creative ideation will be a driving factor in ensuring a greater level of future success.
As the media landscape continues to become more fragmented and diverse, brands will turn to top marketers to reach and engage existing and new audiences in ways that the old guard of mass marketing techniques no longer can.
Companies that fail to respond to rapid market shifts risk falling behind their competitors, losing market fit, or simply looking dated - a conversion killer on its own.
It’s not a one size fits all model anymore.