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Episode 129: Creating Your 2021 Marketing Plan with Steve Werley of Maximum Effort Agency
By PWDAdmin | |

In this episode, Steve Werley of Maximum Effort Agency is going to show you how to create your 2021 marketing plan.

The post Episode 129: Creating Your 2021 Marketing Plan with Steve Werley of Maximum Effort Agency appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Competitive Analysis Best Practices
By PWDAdmin | |

Competitive analysis is one of the most important tasks a business owner can undertake. That's why it's important to do it as well as you possibly can. Learn some best practices that can take your competitive analysis to the next level.

The post Competitive Analysis Best Practices appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Future of Media: Havas MG boss reflects, media trends aplenty and change at Snap/BuzzFeed
By PWDAdmin | |

This is an extract from The Drum’s Future of Media briefing. You can subscribe to it here if you’d like it your inbox once a week.

The media trends reports are coming in thick and fast, particularly thick. So my last few weeks of this hell-year are committed to digging in and working out just what happened.

We all hope to start 2021 making up lost growth, vaccine in hand (or arm) with crystal clear objectives. 

Havas Media boss reflects

Having ridden out his first few months as Havas Media Group UK/Ireland chief executive, Patrick Affleck is enthused by the hardiness of his media agency in the face of chaos - but there are more challenges ahead he warned.

He's aware of the systemic crises facing society (and naturally marketers) and shared how HMG is evolving to meet these issues. It was a chunky chat, and I'll admit, quite unusual to hear a chief exec talk so frankly about real-world issues and feasibly connect them to media strategy. But isn't that the point?

What struck me is that he said many clients haven't firmed up marketing budgets yet.

There's too many variables ahead; Brexit, vaccine roll-out, recession, being some. If we don't nail this vaccine roll-out, Q1 could be another lost quarter.

Sorry.

Media trends 

GroupM and our friends at Media Voices were out the gate with media trends reports this week. 

I deep-dived the GroupM report and pulled out some snackable bullet points. If you want a feel for 2021 budget predictions check this. Growth will return, caveats apply. 

Meanwhile, Esther Kezia Thorpe of Media Voices condensed its new report, which was more about lessons about how publishers rode out the storm.

A stat about the media's representation of race struck me as the most interesting. "By October, magazine covers in 2020 had featured Black subjects three times more than the previous 90 years." Let's hope this is the start of more people seeing themselves reflected in the media they consume. 

Snapchat Spotlight

Huge change at Snapchat. It remains a closed-off messaging app for friend-to-friend comms (unlike TikTok that broadcasts to the world) but it is moving closer to its rival with the release of Spotlight. 

Looking like TikTok's For You feed, the stream is adding a competitive element to its user-generated content with the allure of a $1m a day fund for the best clips. Of the 4bn Snaps sent a day, the elite will feature. There's undoubtedly a huge amount of creativity in this walled garden, this is Snap's way of opening up and chasing some of that out-of-app rep that TikTok's enjoyed. 

Natalie Carder, head of paid social at Zenith, talked us through it.

BuzzFeed/HuffPost

BuzzFeed's been no stranger to collaboration and acquisition, however, the HuffPost-acquisition took me by surprise, knowing how tough a year the title had (although things are looking up for the streamlined business). 

Nat Poulter, chief operating officer at Jungle Creations, donated some words to us weighing up publisher value vs what they can actually create.

"The digital dream prophesied by many never happened," she wrote. "Any publisher totally reliant on display advertising is going to have a hard time staying afloat. It simply doesn’t pay."

BuzzFeed, as a late entrant to programmatic display, should be protected from these issues, with sponsorships, branded content, subscription, programming, affiliates and commerce playing their part. But now, it also has the opportunity to make better use of the Verizon Media ad network from whom Buzz salvaged the troubled news title

Read it here.

Other stuff

Well, that’s this week’s round-up. If you missed the last one, I have summarised it here.

Got a tip, a correction, a complaint, want a chat? I'm at john.mccarthy@thedrum.com or @johngeemccarthy on Twitter.

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How Experian Match allows advertisers and publishers to thrive in a privacy-first world beyond cookies
By PWDAdmin | |

Replacing the cookie

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that marketers need to find a new way to target and measure audiences as, today, third-party cookies are not effective on either Apple devices or the Chrome browser, with Google following suit sometime before 2022. Though to be effective, any solution needs to be privacy compliant and to work seamlessly in a broad range of environments. This will enable advertisers to run more effective media and ultimately lead to publishers being better able to monetise their valuable audiences. Of the solutions proposed so far, Experian Match is the first solution to fit these criteria and so could be the solution that allows display to flourish. It does this with a focus on ensuring privacy compliance and a customer-centric way of working.

 

How it works

Experian Match utilises its great history of customer insights and audience activation. By utilising InfoSum’s privacy-first technology and ecosystem, Experian can allow publishers and advertisers to onboard data at a household level. Code deployed on both publishers’ and advertisers’ sites works with IP and first-party IDs to identify groupings and households and allows for that information to be syndicated through the InfoSum ecosystem. Campaigns are then run via private marketplace deals and data processing will be carried out by Experian technology (to aid targeting and measurement). The benefit of this approach is that it allows audience targeting and retargeting to be carried out seamlessly on quality inventory. Crucially, it will work in multiple environments from banner ads to rich media including video and connected TV. This system is completely browser and environment agnostic, so can work across browsers and devices. 

For advertisers, this means that they get a complete data-driven media solution that allows them to operate on all browsers across quality media. Ultimately, driving ROI and real-world brand outcomes. 

For publishers, this creates an opportunity to monetise media that cookie audiences cannot reach; today that is iOS, Safari and some TV/Video environments. In future, this will be the case in all online media environments. 

 

Privacy by design at its heart

Any replacement for third-party cookies needs to be focussed on consumer privacy and compliance with regulation. As such, Experian Match first of all ties into the IAB’s (Internet Advertising Bureau’s) TCF 2.0 (The Transparency and Compliance Framework). Furthermore, Experian Match data is accessed and used via the differential privacy infrastructure of InfoSum’s decentralised data platform. Experian facilitates the targeting and measurement of media to occur without any customer data being passed between different companies in the media buying process and data will only be used when consent is granted. Additionally, as the data is controlled by leading brands that consumers have heard of, they have a relationship which is a big step forward to the situation in open programmatic today, where the data is being read by multiple adtech companies, often without the consumer’s awareness. Lastly, as Experian Match leverages private marketplaces rather than open buying structures, individuals’ data is never broadcast to other non-participating companies (as is the case for normal open market media buying).  

 

Quality matters

One of the major challenges for advertisers and publishers has been the dominance of first-party data and the questionable quality of third-party data. Quality data does exist in the marketplace; and particularly the data that comes from premium publishers and trusted data providers. The challenge for advertisers is recognising this good quality data, compared with the high volume of relatively poor data that sadly is also prevalent in the market. 

Experian Match is built on the foundations of datasets that are built from the ground up on Mosaic, Experian’s segmentation product, to provide a view of the UK population. This means that advertisers and publishers are able to model their customers against a world-leading service, prior to buying for planning. Advertisers already have access to good data on users that have already visited their website, this set up further gives them the data on customers that have yet to engage with them. As such, this is ideal for prospecting and brand campaigns.

 

Focussed on excellent cross-channel media execution

Experian Match is not only a viable replacement for cookie methodology but also an end-to-end media ecosystem. Only approved advertisers and publishers that work with Experian will be able to participate in the opportunity which helps to guarantee quality media environments and advertisements. Indeed, Experian Match not only helps solve for identity in a privacy-first world but also helps advertisers control supply-side issues highlighted by numerous reports (including the PWC/IAB report in summer of 2020), over discrepancies in the supply chain. Because Experian Match leverages private market placed deals (PMPs) extensively (though other options are available), participating advertisers will get direct access to marketplaces with many of the industry’s top publishers. A display ecosystem built on Match is much more transparent and higher in quality and performance than is open RTB display.

As you can see from the above, Experian has gone a long way to creating a data-driven ecosystem that’s fit for the future (beyond cookies). In my view, it is an exciting opportunity for advertisers and publishers alike. It is equally important for consumers to be able to enjoy an ad-supported ecosystem with confidence that their data is respected. I really hope marketers engage with this opportunity quickly, to build a better world for our industry and for consumers. 

 

Robert Webster, founder at Canton.

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Big tech, small tech: surely we’re all in it together?
By PWDAdmin | |

Announced last week to not insignificant fan-fair was the ‘newly minted’ Digital Markets Unit [DMU], the freshest incarnation of a power-play by the Competition and Markets Authority. Its remit? To enforce a [yet to be defined] code of conduct that will set new [yet to be defined] limits on tech’s biggest platforms, as well as attempting to create a more level playing field for smaller rivals. [That’s us, new arrivals like Blix, by the way].

There are no specifics released on what that code is or might be or what enforcement powers they may have. What we do know is marshalling the big boys and girls in this space has thus far proved to be tricky, combative and absent of any genuine collaboration for good.

The unit’s formation and subsequent headline intentions pose a multitude of questions, not least how can constructive, positive change come about?

How can the drive-for-profit be reconciled with a desire for a more expansive, collaborative and ultimately [for the customer] more balanced digital landscape? How can competition be seen not only as a force for good but part of the genuine lifeblood of an industry? And how are new ventures encouraged to navigate the market to bring new solutions to the world?

[Writer draws breath, feeling slightly overwhelmed by the task and the weight of these rhetorical questions.]

As the co-founder of a new martech [a rather smaller, much smaller rival] business called Blix, the inspiration to ‘get into it’ every day initially comes from a personal view that competition is good; benchmarks are set, gauntlets thrown down, evolution is born of opportunity-spotting and new ways of solving problems that have not yet presented themselves is the big picture yet quotidian thrill of it all.

Genuine entrepreneurialism is in part about navigation, setting a course and being nimble enough to sidestep. When it comes to units and authorities; they tend to ‘er’ on the side of punishment as opposed to incentive and collaboration; another fine, another court hearing – somewhat blunt tools that big business can factor into their damage limitation budgets. [In principle, of course, there are no such things as damage limitation budgets… or are there?]

Sure, wrong-doing and illegal behaviours need to be punished, but the outcome must be a positive shift; fines only act as a binary solution and potentially miss a whole opportunity-space worthy of some exploration.

We need a new lens through which to look at the big and the small, a fresher perspective to a state of play I call ‘counter-complementary-ism’ – big businesses thrive off new innovations either from within or outside their own spheres. There is undoubtedly room for all, for the competitive benefits and positive disruption of all.

The post-industrial nature of digital tech is more than anything fluidity; the nature of customer user models, applications, re-application, upgrades, integrations; never before have market dynamics been driven by collaboration and complementary tech. Sure, initially counter or competitive even but over time together is often better.

The initial mission statements of ‘big tech’ never set out to be ‘anti-competition’. There was, and in part still is, a purity in their original missions. While I appreciate this is the hopeful optimist in me talking, could it be that we, big and small players alike, might all have a collective role in working towards the ultimate end of big tech working harder and better? To support the very lifeblood of the future, where new and emerging tech can often be identified by their purer missions or north stars?

These purer articulations and manifestations from smaller rivals, entrepreneurs and innovators – they add layers, they weave in, they complement, contradict, inspire change and only over time dilute and lose their own purity, and so the cycle evolves. The ebb and flow of digital innovation.

For context, Google was fined around $9bn by the EU alone across 2017 and 2019, whereas the entire digital tech investment in the UK in 2019 is reported at £10.1bn, and that was a 44% year-on-year increase.

We’re at a point in time where legislative power and fines must also evolve with one eye on cultural shifts, identifying new models for the entire tech ecosystem, rewarding positive change, an appreciation of what’s really happening with smaller ‘lifeblood’ businesses and a desire for a genuinely open debate around positive solutions that address the balance of power for good, as a force for good. For all.

Put that in your code.

 

Craig Wills, chief strategy officer of adtech Blix and co-founder of brand growth agency Big Blue.

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How does B2B social media differ from B2C?
By PWDAdmin | |

Social media marketing has become indispensable for business-to-consumer (B2C) as well as for business-to-business (B2B) marketing. However, some brands still don’t adapt their social media content to their target audiences. A successful presence in social networks not only has a positive effect on brand building and reputation, but it also supports employee engagement and e-commerce through the realisation of a company’s goals. 

So, what is the difference between B2B and B2C approaches in social media marketing? For both kinds, alongside social media marketing itself, analysis and monitoring play an at least as important role. Before social media marketing can be carried out, the target group must first be analysed in order to find out how the intended audience can best be reached. The social media activities must then be monitored constantly to find out which content is best performing and how it can be continuously improved. In the age of customer evaluation, reputation management plays a decisive role. Discussions on social media platforms must be moderated and, above all, the problems of customers should be responded to. 

However, in order to operate successful social media marketing, the implementation for B2B and B2C companies requires different approaches in terms of content marketing, social media channels and the final formulation of objectives. 

The three most important differences between B2B and B2C social media include:

 

1. Content is king: fact v emotions

Content is King! This also applies to all marketing and social media marketing in particular. While B2C companies should focus on an emotional and entertaining approach aligned to the personal interests of their target group, strong B2B content is characterised by all of the above plus a mix of emotions, facts and statistics. For both B2C and B2B companies, the narrative style, ie the preparation of the content, is decisive. Here, storytelling based on facts is crucial. While content marketing in the B2B sector is usually straightforward, the spectrum of B2C companies is much more diverse.

To reinforce this difference with an example, Appetite Creative’s clients Scentropy (a niche perfume online shop) and Hybrid Theory (a data-driven advertising company) can be consulted. See here what we do for Scentropy’s and Hybrid Theory’s social media!

Scentropy’s social media aim is for customers to identify with the brand and its values through emotional appeal. Here, for example, appealing pictures of perfumes are posted and, in the description, you can read about their scents and the feelings the perfumes convey. Hybrid Theory succeeds in generating industry-relevant, fact-based content for its followers. For example, by providing interesting statistics on current industry trends and referring to informative blog articles.

 

2. Community management in social networks 

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are particularly suitable for the B2C sector, for community management and to address the target group through visual and interactive content. These social networks are also suitable for B2B companies, primarily to stimulate discussion and interaction and encourage customer loyalty. The channels are therefore used less for selling services directly and more for making people aware of the company in general. LinkedIn is more suitable for B2B companies, but can also be interesting for B2C companies, as an employer rather than marketplace. 

Scentropy, for example, uses Instagram and Facebook to draw its followers’ attention to its products. On both social media platforms, people are mainly spending their time for private pleasure. For Hybrid Theory, on the other hand, LinkedIn plays a major role in delivering leads as this is where the majority of its potential B2B customers are to be found. The data from the social media analysis outlines that Hybrid Theory achieves better engagement on LinkedIn than on its other channels because its followers appear as representatives of a company and thus potential customers, and not as private individuals. The best-performing post in October ensured that Hybrid Theory generated 37% impressions in relation to the number of followers, while the same and also best-performing post on Facebook generated only about 12%. This is due to the fact that the algorithms of both platforms classify the content of the posts as having different relevance for the audiences. 

For Scentropy, most exchange with followers takes place on Instagram and Facebook as these are places most relevant to its non-business related target audiences. 

 

3. Different objectives

B2B and B2C companies differ in their objectives for each platform. For the B2C sector, the positive perception of the brand is in the spotlight. B2B companies on the other hand focus on increasing their web traffic and thus measure the success of their content by leads that they generate by leading people from social media posts to their landing pages. 

For these reasons, Appetite Creative’s clients Hybrid Theory and Scentropy have found it worthwhile to adapt the goals and content to the respective social media platform. For example, Hybrid Theory uses Facebook to create brand awareness by informing its audience about current industry topics like statistics that enable the followers to always relate the interesting information to the company. LinkedIn is used to communicate the company’s expertise, with the objective to get in touch with potential customers by showing off concrete solutions for their needs. 

The content and objectives on social media should be designed according to whether the company is a B2B or B2C company. However, content should be adapted for the different platforms and their different audiences. 

 

Jenny Stanley, managing director at Appetite Creative.

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Key consumer trends that will impact your digital marketing this holiday season
By PWDAdmin | |

It’s that time of year when it starts to get a little chilly outside, the holiday spirit flows through the air and the festive feel brightens up the short gloomy days. However, just like most aspects of 2020, the holiday season this year is understandably going to be impacted too.

With the change in consumer buying behaviour this year, it seems more crucial than ever to have the right approach in place to target and engage your consumers.

To do this, you will need to create an agile digital marketing approach that can adapt to the changes of consumer behaviour on a day to day basis, especially during this holiday season. The approach should focus on creating unique and personalised experiences across the consumer buying journey. A survey by Capgemini and Sapio Research was carried out across 6,588 consumers from UK, US, Germany, France, Netherlands and Scandinavia which shed some insights into the change of consumer behaviour this holiday season. These trends should help you to think about ways to reach consumer’s during such a difficult period.

1. Some people have saved money over the past few months for the holiday season, but make sure you don’t forget about those that haven’t.

Multiple lockdowns have restricted people’s going out habits meaning that 59% of people have been able to save a little more than usual, of which 34% have done so deliberately. However, the ability to save has been greatest for those on higher household incomes. It’s vital that you not only build a strategy that targets these households, but also understand the trends that exist with those in lower income households. To target these audience groups, it’s important to collect, not only third party data, but also first party data. Through this you will successfully be able to track customer patterns at both an individual and group level. It’s important to then analyse and leverage the insights you have generated, in real time, over the holiday period. This will help you to drive relevance in your communications and offer more targeted and timely experiences to your customers.

Deploying data-driven tactics across the marketing funnel will provide you with the necessary steps to reach new and existing customers. 

2. Out of all the products out there, essential items seem to be the ones in demand this holiday season

52% of people are more likely to purchase essential items, rather than luxury goods. That includes buying for themselves as well as gifts for family and friends. This could mean that stocking fillers are likely to be filled with everyday clothing essentials or electrical items, rather than expensive fragrances and designer handbags.

Cutting through marketing insights and identifying the key trends amongst consumer needs and wants will help your brand and its category to be more innovative and inspirational. Adapting to an agile marketing approach will enable you to act quickly to your customer’s responses and feedback. For instance, if you release a campaign across your social channels at the start of December, but didn’t quite get the response you expected, you can then use the insights generated to act quick, and update that campaign in flight. Understanding marketing insights at a segment/individual level will also aide with personalisation.

3. Consumers will prioritise the price of products when deciding whether to make a purchase

Usually, some consumers are happy to pay that little bit more for something that will be delivered quickly, while others prioritise buying items that are sustainable. This year 46% of consumers say that the price will play the key factor in what they purchase. Consumers are after a good bargain and especially those that may have had a lower income than usual. They are also expecting to grab a better bargain by shopping online, rather than instore.

Online shopping continues to grow, and with all that’s happening this year, buying online now seems like the ideal option compared to ever before. 49% of shoppers expect to shop online more this holiday season than previously. With lockdown enticing people to spend more time on virtual platforms, social commerce (s-commerce) is a great way for brands and retailers to attract more leads and generate more sales. In particular, beauty and grooming brands should do well this holiday season, as Instagram is already a source of inspiration for beauty and grooming amongst many audiences.

As well as this we have seen some brands already start to offer virtual one-to-one online shopping, such as Ralph Lauren. These shifts in commerce, have definitely helped brands offset price worries, in favour of convenience.

4. A third of consumers will research online prior to making an in-store purchase

Although e-commerce is on the rise, this doesn’t mean that the high streets will be empty this year. 33% of shoppers will go into shops but only when they know what they are buying. Optimising the right SEO strategy to engage your target audience and leveraging your data and insights could add to that personalised buyer journey. Utilising tools such as Google Analytics, you can understand browser history which can enable you to tailor your SEO to customers, not only at the top of the funnel, but towards the bottom of funnel through retargeting and abandoned cart tactics.

It’s therefore vital, that this holiday season you can create seamless online to offline experiences for customers. For instance, give customers an opportunity to check in-store availability online, with the option to reserve a specific product, and pick it up when suitable for them. This can deliver convenience, ease and most importantly can ensure some level of safety.

Looking at these key trends, and the marketing efforts that brands can push out, it’s important to strike the balance between reaching and converting your consumers, whilst being sensitive to their needs, especially in times like this. However, every brand will have a different digital marketing approach; so, for this holiday season be agile, leverage data and the digital commerce space effectively, and ensure there is a unified commerce experience between online and offline. 

If you’re interested in how Capgemini Invent can help you with digital marketing in the new year, and boost post-coronavirus recovery, then get in touch. Happy holidays!

Pritesh Joshi, digital marketing consultant, Capgemini Invent

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A Week in Creative: Spotify unwraps 2020 and a Match.com made in hell
By PWDAdmin | |

This is an extract from The Drum’s A Week in Creative email briefing. You can subscribe to it here if you’d like it in your inbox once a week.

Welcome to ’A Week in Creative’, a handpicked selection of the most interesting campaigns to come out of The Drum’s Creative Works in the past week. If this list doesn’t quench your creative thirst, then please visit the ’A Week in Creative’ hub.

A match made in heaven hell 

Video of Match Made in Hell
 
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Hinting that dating apps are not the exclusive realm of keen teens, if Match.com's latest ad is anything to go by – demons date too. Created by Ryan Reynolds' production company Maximum Effort, 'Match Made in Hell' accurately depicts this tumultuous year by pairing 2020 with none other than Satan himself.

Hooked up via the app at the beginning of this year, the couple spends the year taking advantage of the freedoms they took away from people. Against a backdrop of Taylor Swift's 'Love Story' their dates include trips to empty cinemas, exercising in abandoned gyms, and they even have the audacity to nick toilet rolls from public toilets. Reflecting on the year, the two muse that they don't want it to end - a sentiment not felt by most, as while it may have been a match made in 'heaven' for them, it's been hell for everyone else.

What helped you get through it all?

 

Spotify Unwrapped
 
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That's a wrap! Spotify's flagship annual end of year campaign here, enlightening people across the world on their unconscious listening habits throughout this unprecedented year. 

Promising to approach 'Unwrapped' like never before, Spotify is telling a story of gratitude and resilience by highlighting and celebrating the human stories of this year, from artists and podcast creators, the passionate listeners, the front line workers, the families and friends and the everyday playlist creators who kept people entertained, grounded and informed through it all.

We're not all screwed - yet.

 

Patagonia print ad
 
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“We're all screwed,” begins this Patagonia print ad, featured in this weekend's edition of The New York Times. “So don't tell us that we can imagine a healthy future,” the ad continues in the same exhausted tone.

A defeated stance, many readers thought, for a brand that makes it a mission to inspire its wearers to enact action on climate change. Maybe, like we've been warned time and time again, it is too late, they pondered.

But just as all hope for a green future was lost, a welcome parenthesis at the bottom turns things around. “(Now read this bottom-up)” it instructs, upon which the ad transitions into a promise of hope, written in Patagonia's recognisable style.

Love actually... is all around

Love Actually
 
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Since first gracing our screens in 2003, Love Actually has become a Christmas cult classic. Latching onto the hype, Now TV has enlisted the help of Martine McCutcheon, who played the endearing private secretary to the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) in the original film. 

Aiming to spread Christmas cheer to friends and families who can’t meet in person this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 'Greetings Gram’ service, sees McCutcheon recreate a famous scene in which Mark, played by Andrew Lincoln, uses large cue cards to declare his love for Keira Knightley's character, Juliet.

What a waste

Video of IKEA - Waste
 
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Christmas is often a time of indulgence and extravagance - but that doesn’t mean we should be careless in our behaviour over the holiday season. In a bid to encourage a more sensible, considerate approach to Christmas consumption, Ikea Russia has created a film that shows just what might happen if we carelessly discard our excess food - instead of storing it in plastic containers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so if this dose of creativity leaves you thirsty for more, please drop in at The Drum’s Creative Works – the home of creative from all around the globe. You can also subscribe to The Drum’s creative newsletter or browse our round-up here.

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2020’s media moments in numbers: print, podcasts, events, diversity and keyword blocking
By PWDAdmin | |

Esther Kezia Thrope, media analyst and co-host of The Media Voices podcast, shares top-line findings from the Media Moments 2020 report. Buckle in for the key trends in media this year. 

It was a momentous year for publishers. From Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, digital subscription surges and ad revenue collapses, to Black Lives Matter protests forcing change at the very top of organisations, the industry has been rocked like no year has before.

A report from the Media Voices team - Media Moments 2020 curated these events into nine chapters, looking at the pivotal moments which affected businesses both large and small, and how this will shape their strategies going into 2021.

Here are our key findings.

A mixed picture for print

In the first quarter, magazine newsstand sales were down 8% in 2019; bad, but not catastrophic. Then lockdown pushed the year-on-year shortfall to 20-25%. 

In newspapers, downward circulation trends were amped up by the cancellation of the commute. Again, starting the year down by 8%, newspaper sales dropped by up to 40% at their worst.

However, despite the decimation of newsstand sales, the pandemic actually caused a spike in subscription revenues and drove real innovation in some quarters, from the launch of the first Black girls magazine to new home delivery deals and retail partnerships.

Condé Nast UK saw year-on-year new subscription growth of 420%. And Hearst UK had to take action to stem losses from discount magazine subscription offers as new subscribers jumped 233%.

Podcast ad spend and listenership remains resilient

Without the commute, many in the industry were concerned that podcast revenue would be a leaky ship, following the pattern of metro freesheets.

But over the course of the year, podcasting has proven to be hardy enough to weather the storm. Despite the pandemic, US podcast ad spend is forecast to rise 14.7% this year; slower than pre-pandemic predictions, but nonetheless steady.

Podcast launches haven’t slowed this year either. There were over 130,000 new shows added to Apple Podcasts in June alone; the highest number to ever be added in just one month. 

Now, with eyes (and ears) looking at the opportunities presented by engaged listeners over the next decade or more, everyone is rushing to cash in on that growing audience.

Keyword blocking has exacerbated ad revenue struggles

Almost all publishers felt the effects of the coronavirus-induced plunge in advertising revenue. But many have also struggled with keyword blocking.

As the pandemic took hold, advertisers rushed to add pandemic-related keywords to their blocklists, in order to preserve their notion of ‘brand safety’. In February, ‘coronavirus’ became the second most common word on blocklists for news publishers, with the most common being ‘Trump’.

By March, ad verification agency Integral Ad Science had over 3,000 advertisers blocking the term. In one case, this resulted in it blocking 45% of ads from appearing on The Washington Post, which like many publishers, was covering the crisis closely.

Between April and July, coronavirus-related keyword blocking was estimated to have cost publishers £50m in lost ad revenue in the UK alone. The timing of this has been especially difficult, with publishers seeing huge traffic surges but reduced ad spend.

A sink or swim year for events strategies

No revenue stream was hit as swiftly and mercilessly by Covid-19 as events. Publishers were split into two camps: those who postponed or rearranged their events and furloughed staff to stem losses, and those who pivoted quickly to reproduce their events online.

Whether it’s been virtual webinars through Facebook Live or exclusive Q&A sessions via Zoom, there have been so many stories of real innovation in the space this year. Revenue has taken a little time to catch up as sponsors and attendees warm up to paying, but there have been other benefits too.

The Financial Times is just one example. They rapidly drew together a virtual Global Boardroom event in just a few weeks, which ended up attracting 52,000 attendees. Tickets were free, but crucially, three in four of those attendees were previously unknown to the publisher, and have now provided a welcome boost to their subscription marketing funnel.

The FT is now taking a freemium approach to its virtual events. Free passes are offered alongside a range of tiered tickets, which then give access to networking and extra sessions. It is far from the only publisher with a smart virtual event strategy, with others such as The Atlantic, Reuters and the New York Times evolving their own plans as the year has progressed. 

BLM protests made media think harder about diversity and inclusion

Covid-19 was the dominant story this year, but in terms of impact on the media industry, the Black Lives Matter movement provoked what we hope are some lasting changes.

The upswelling of anti-racist sentiment that followed the summer’s BLM protests after the killing of George Floyd led to widespread calls for action to improve diversity and inclusion across all layers of society, not least the media. 

Mr Magazine, Samir Husni, shared an image of 106 magazine covers at the end of September. He noted that Black people on magazine covers were ‘few and far between’, but in the last few months, he had been able to buy more than 100 magazines featuring Black people, and/or BLM statements on their covers. By October, magazine covers in 2020 had featured Black subjects three times more than the previous 90 years.

“Magazines are celebrating Blackness,” he wrote. “My only hope is that one day we don’t need to ask the question, is this the new normal?”

Many organisations have responded positively to calls to do better when it comes to race and broader issues of diversity and inclusion. But of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

The full report, which covers the role of platforms, public trust in news, data and advertising developments, opportunities for 2021 and more, is available here.

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Omnicom’s Open DisAbility initiative announces two new chairs
By PWDAdmin | |

Of the reported 14.1 million people in the UK with a disability, 19% are working age adults. That’s 2.7m people who could be in employment. Those with a disability, however, are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, even though life costs on average an extra £583 a month if you have a disability.

While there will be several reasons why this employment number is lower, from poor health to needing regular medical attention, what should never be the reason is prejudice in the workplace. Disability equality charity Scope reports that one in three disabled people feel there’s a lot of disability prejudice whilst one in three people see disabled people as being less productive than non-disabled people.

And while there is much more open conversation today around mental health, there are still barriers around discussing disability, particularly those that are invisible.

Trying to change this, are co-chairs of Omnicom’s Open DisAbility steering group Christine Lydon, associate content director in the healthcare practice of Fleishman Hillard, and Vicky Bloyce, executive director of communications and marketing at OMD EMEA. 

Part of the first summit committee for 2019, today Lydon and Bloyce are announced as co-chairs for the next 12-months, tasked with prioritising disability on the board agenda.

Committed to disability inclusion following a cancer diagnosis in 2015, Lydon sees disability as a human rights issue and is keen to increase awareness and encourage more dialogue. “Experiencing a life-threatening illness opened my eyes to the difficulties so many of us face and I am determined to use my role to help provide the support to ensure our agencies become truly inclusive of persons with disabilities.”

Bloyce is looking forward to using the Open DisAbility platform to try and drive change throughout 2021.

As a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion, Bloyce says: “Over the years, I have worked on the recruitment side of media agencies and driving D&I through marketing in my most recent role, and it has always bothered me that I didn’t see enough diversity of candidates coming through the door. We wanted to speak to everyone and let them know there was a place for them in our organisation, but for some reason the same type of candidate would always apply, and I have set out to understand why, and do all I can to change that”.

Omnicom Media Group UK has launched several initiatives to drive diversity in recruitment now and throughout 2021, including using technology to anonymise CVs, structuring competency based interviews and ensuring diverse interview panels, and Lydon and Bloyce pledge to ensure anyone with a disability feels welcome, safe and able to work at any of Omnicom’s UK agencies.

The pair plan to tackle 2021 with an action-based plan, offering solutions, initiatives and partnerships via the Open DisAbility platform throughout their co-chair tenure.

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