Reports Media & Marketing

Ad strategy in a digital-first environment Rethinking acceptance, tolerance and effectiveness

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Digital-first behaviours and the proliferation of choice have caused underlying changes to how consumers perceive and respond to brands. Brand loyalty has been replaced by content fandom. Frictionless service-switching and overlapping subscription now clashes with high-value content moving between platforms in short time frames and across differing geographies. This has resulted in lower brand recognition, and less brand loyalty overall as the value proposition is subject to rapid change. Meanwhile, ad proliferation in a digital environment has saturated content feeds and consumer resistance has grown, particularly with the likes of Facebook showing competitor brands side-by-side – making it almost impossible for subliminal messaging to stick. New strategies are needed, focusing on understanding how consumers relate to brand-based advertising. Forward-thinking content providers must either more carefully cultivate their brand visibility, or embrace the prominence of content. 

Key insights

  • While the            to digital-first life has long            underway, the            pandemic has accelerated                       of US consumers over the            of            were binge-viewers of TV            in            2021, and            pay a            subscription for video – up            only            in            2019
  • Mainstream digital-first            creates a market dynamic defined            the proliferation of choice, ease            service-switching and ubiquity of access
  • As consumers            more time online growing accustomed            having control over what they            and when, their tolerance for            ads deceases
  • Skipping video            online has increased since            2019            all age groups, most strikingly            those age 20-24 (up            points)                       (up            points)
  • Advertising has            from brand recognition and loyalty            a click-through-to-purchase, instantaneous and one-off            – which is more of            roulette game to see which            the user clicks on in            feed, rather than a long-term            relationship
  • Advertisers should            about their jobs the same            that content strategists do, taking            consideration not just what message            should be getting across but            their format and message do            the consumers who see them
  • Overall marketing            and methods should therefore be            when measuring total market ROI            advertising, to better account for            content advantages of the more            and creative outreach available to            broader strategic umbrella

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon Music, Apple Music, Clubhouse, Fortnite, Instagram, Lego, Netflix, SoundCloud, Spotify, Star Wars, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, YouTube Music, Facebook, The Witcher

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