At the dawn of the 2020s and an advertising landscape shaped by a pandemic, new business models, new application technologies and the fallout of regulatory changes confronted marketers. This wasn’t entirely unprecedented as advertising professionals operate in a dynamic sphere that thrives on the tides of change, innovation, and disruption. From then till now, marketing trends have continuously evolved, leaving businesses and brands striving to ride on the wings of the latest technologies and adapt to changes in consumer preference.
Commercial advertising experienced its own fair share of economic descent during the COVID-19 surge. But as the pandemic recedes and global economic recovery gains momentum, many businesses and marketers have found themselves in an advertising terrain never seen before. With the rise of a scale of new advertising channels, questions pertaining to how and where advertising resources should be invested have arisen. Consumers have embraced the spending habits and inclinations reinforced by the happenings of the past year. What advertising messaging, mediums, and innovations will then resonate with and reach the post-pandemic consumer?
As the tide of creative innovations and disruptions continue to rise, there are several trends that will redefine advertising success in the new era.
E-commerce meets Socializing – Social Shopping
The e-commerce industry in Nigeria experienced an upward surge with the advent of the pandemic. COVID-19 and the attendant physical restrictions meant that more people had astronomically high hours of screen time, seeking information and entertainment online, which made them more inclined to search out the goods and services they needed from online sources. By leveraging social media and online trade channels, retailers were able to make sales to a wider audience.
Now, many months down the line, the e-commerce industry, whilst still booming, is on the brink of a major shift. Consumers across the online retail supply chain are vying for a more “conversational”, “interactive”, and “social” buying experience. Hence, the emergence of the “social shopping” trend, a development akin to an intersection between e-commerce and the social interactions that are ubiquitous to social media platforms.
Social shopping attempts to use technology to imitate the social interactions found in physical stores and malls. The concept has emerged in various forms. For example, some online trade platforms might encourage users to access massive discounts by buying in groups or might display a friend’s preferences and past purchases to a prospective customer. Social shopping limits the social restrictions of online shopping, allows customers to leverage the power of their social networks, and enables them gain prospective purchase recommendations from peers, offering an unmatched e-commerce experience.
3D Advertising, AR and the Metaverse
In a broad scope, the Metaverse is a network of the internet and a blend of 3D, virtual world and augmented reality technologies. In the context of advertising and marketing, the Metaverse would mean an immersive 3D virtual space where users can spend time socialising, playing, working as well as reviewing and purchasing products. With the recent innovations announced by Facebook (now Meta), one exciting advertising trend to anticipate in 2022 is software tools, apps, and marketing mediums that solidly incorporate virtual, hybrid reality experiences into the advertising sphere. A poignant example is the Loatsad Promomedia’s 3D billboard recently hoisted along the Ozumba Mbadiwe road in Lagos, Nigeria. About 85 million people used augmented or virtual reality in 2021. In the next ten years, the Metaverse is expected to sign on a billion new users.
Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences are particularly enticing to consumers because they provide an unforgettable advertising experience. While this entirely depends on the said industry, using 3D imaging and AR for e-commerce gives customers more visibility and a perfect gauging experience of how products might fit into their spaces.
Rather than take the place of just another advertising channel, the Metaverse can serve as an extraordinary medium for storytelling. A virtual world can give an immersive experience for consumers to learn about a brand’s story – presenting them with valuable information and insight that will ultimately influence not just their purchasing decision but also their user experience.
Consumers are faced with marketplace noise and are overwhelmed. Companies that will thrive in these times will have to get ‘personal’ with their choice of advertising medium and messaging. Personalised experiences are becoming an increasingly crucial part of consumers’ preferred purchase experience, and in 2022, brands that successfully meet personalisation demands have a greater chance of building loyalty, gaining repeated purchases and referrals. As technology advances and people become increasingly dependent on digital for the running of their daily lives, personalisation will become indispensable for consumers. This is because consumers want to feel a sense of connection, recognition and esteem from the brands they engage and interact with. The more people interact with a company in a personalized way, the more willing they are to patronise that company.
In the most effective personalised experiences, marketers employ tactics that are uniquely tailored to customers as individuals and not as undefined participants in a target audience segment. Customers receive very specific products and services offers and info targeted at them, not at customers like them. Advertisers make customers a big part of a brand’s online and physical conversation, relying on data to execute consumer-centred advertising strategies. Consumer personalisation in the new advertising era will certainly not be restricted to targeted, limited offers but will extend to the entire customer experience, with personalisation touchpoints at various stages of the sales and conversion process, enabling consumers allocate time and money on brands that meet their preference needs.
4G will also continue to play a critical role in implementing consumer personalisation across the board. It has introduced video streaming, pragmatic auctions and access into the world of virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. 4G allows for the use of stable, accurate, and fast user data processing through these mediums, enabling the creation of laser-focused ads and marketing campaigns, advancing marketers’ ability to personalise consumer content.
On the whole, advertising will continue to be more technological and data-driven, with the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning into traditional advertising platforms.
The decline in Influencer Marketing, while often predicted, is still yet to occur. It is a niche that has undoubtedly become cemented into the advertising industry. With the rise of social media apps (the likes of TikTok, Instagram and Facebook) becoming entertainment and pop culture-shaping hotspots, more people have risen to the status of influencers.
Influencer Marketing was valued globally at about $9.7 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $15 billion at the end of 2022. This is realistic because a lot of general distrust and skepticism exists in the public about new or even existing products and services. Influencer Marketing is one-way consumers can overcome distrust organically and feel more comfortable with trying out a company’s offerings. Influencers have a great deal of online social capital built over time that, when employed, can lend credibility to a company’s goods and services. Therefore, consumers are more likely to engage with a service or product when their favourite influencer backs it up.
A significant shift in the influencer marketing scene would be the adoption of artificial intelligence which can monitor influencer marketing efforts and provide data-driven feedback and reviews in ways humans cannot.
As with every other industry, the advertising industry blossoms on the wings of technological advancements. Pioneering new technology can have a major impact on the success of advertising campaigns because digital innovation has become a key factor in defining customer experience and protecting the voice of consumers – both of which are of utmost importance to ethical advertising practices.
Consequently, brands that will keep up with the times and record advertising success are those whose current advertising strategies are aligned with the realities of the future.