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2021 Insights and Trends

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

The online habits that formed during a worldwide pandemic in 2020 became established patterns in 2021. And those patterns have changed almost everything in media.

People are spending even more time online, which has changed how they buy products, what they watch and where they work. While the economy has opened back up and the face mask mandate has been relaxed—it is abundantly clear we are not going back to the pre-Covid world.

Simply put, these online trends are likely to drive accelerated change throughout the rest of this decade. So, most “media best practices” must now be rethought if your business is going to thrive.

Which is why we’ve launched the Rethinking Media Blog. In upcoming posts, we’ll dive into these crucial trends:

Who you target and how you attract new customers and why that has changed.

Focusing on your own customers is substantially more effective and substantively less expensive. The 70-year-old demographic targeting method, created after WWII, calls for advertising to a large pool of people—most of which (probably 85% to 95%) had absolutely no interest in your message or product. In a game of numbers, that old way wasted a tremendous amount of money. Remember: Social Media’s entire existence depends on connecting people to one another. That means connecting people who have the same interest and the same likes, and social media does it very efficiently. Each platform’s algorithm finds people who are much more likely to engage with your ads and check out your business than the old-fashion method of targeting an entire demographic segment market-wide.

People under 30 in the US are spending less time on Facebook and more time on other Social Media platforms.

Facebook no longer is growing as fast in the U.S. as several other social platforms with people under 30, especially women under 30. We believe those women are changing the structure and feel of social media. Right now, there are substantially more women on TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest. TikTok is forcing Facebook to seriously consider changing Instagram. Facebook’s ads for Social Commerce and eCommerce have flooded Facebook which has turned off a number of people, but especially those under 30. Also, the divisive tone on Facebook, especially around the political season has also turned off younger people and reduced the amount of time they spend on Facebook.

Ecommerce and Social Commerce have exploded and there are no signs that they are going to slow down.

2020 was the breakthrough year that many have been predicting since the beginning of the internet. Forced to stay home people, brought more online – even purchases that most people assumed would only be made from brick-and-mortar retailers. Online grocery sales skyrocketed, jumping almost 50%. Overall, eCommerce increased by 45%. And Social Commerce increased a whopping 700%.

Streaming Video and Audio have exploded.

OTT (Over The Top) and CTV (Connected Television) now penetrate almost 75% of all U.S. households, which means that you can now target people much more effectively than broadcast TV. It also means that movie theatres are no longer the primary way to see new film releases. Streaming audio, however, only penetrates about 40% of all unique individual devices, so it is not quite competitive with traditional radio, but it is growing.

Used properly, Loyalty Clubs can grow customer frequency dramatically.

People want to be treated specially by the brands they like and they also want to feel like the brand recognizes the value of their patronage. Unfortunately, most brands do a very poor job of taking care of some of their best customers who belong to their loyalty club. Far too many loyalty clubs communicate in a generic way, almost never say thank you, and many offer very few meaningful rewards.

What do these trends mean for you?

All of these media areas require a new set of “Best Practices” and “KPI’s” to fuel growth. At Exclamation Media, we don’t just dig into the data, we turn insights into action. For example, for a few of our longer-term clients, we have achieved a CPC (Cost Per Click) under 0.25, which a few years ago, we would have said was not possible. Paying attention to a platform’s algorithm, testing it (as well as testing creative and new ad units) leads to constant adjustments and data sets that drive both better understanding and better campaign performance.



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