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The New Commercial Landscape

This month, the hotly anticipated IPA Touchpoints report saw its fifth edition released, comparing behavioural and consumption shifts over the past 3 years. Below you’ll find the best bits – both the “game-changers” and the “stay-the-samers”.​

Firstly, game-changers.

When looking at potential reach by channel, 16-34s and those 55+ appear more alike than ever. However, we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that their similarities mean that consumption is the same. The correlation between the age groups when it comes to the time spent with channels is at an all-time low – at only 7%. For example, reach across BVOD may be similar but older audiences could be Appointment TV viewing, selecting their programme of choice each time vs bingeing behaviour from younger audiences. This demonstrates the increased need for the role of planners to understand how different audiences are not only exposed to channels and platforms – but how they are engaging with them too. With the increasing divergence between age groups – guaranteeing broad reach for advertisers becomes more complex. ​

Another game changer is digital transformation by age group. For the first time ever, the top 5 reaching media properties for 16-34s were entirely made up of social or online video platforms. Whilst this undoubtedly demonstrates the proliferation of digital consumption across the age group, there’s also a feeling that digital consumption levels for younger audiences may have reached a peak and is unable to grow much beyond current levels. With the IAB publishing this week that digital ad spend smashes growth targets with a 56% increase since the pandemic, it will be interesting to see where further growth will come from in future years. Will ad spend across digital start to slow, or will the convenience and tech advancements help deliver growth against the 55+?

Secondly, the stay-the-samers.

Whilst the above illustrates the shifts in consumption, as human beings, we remain creatures of habit. Despite tech giving us the opportunity to host TV shows, movies, and the latest reality gossip all in our pocket, consumers still sit down in the evening and watch content on the big screen. So what else has stayed the same?

OOH remains – for the 5th year running – the only single curated channel that can deliver 90% weekly reach against all ads. With the fragmentation of other traditional channels – think TV into BVOD, SVOD, AVOD, CTV and all the other acronyms, or radio into music streaming, podcasts and digital audio – singular reach with one channel becomes a lot harder. OOH remains consistent; the digitisation of the platform isn’t fragmenting audiences, it’s just making the formats more advanced for both audience and messaging targeting. ​

Finally, despite the lockdown driving an increase in subscription viewing – shifting consumers into more ad-free platforms – the ability to target consumers across commercial media remains mainly unchanged (from 61% to 62% against all ads, and from 63% to 66% for 16-34s). Great news for agencies and advertisers alike! With Disney+ and Netflix both announcing ad-supported opportunities and the growth of platforms such as FAST in the US, we can anticipate the opportunity to see growth across commercial media. This will, however, come with its own challenges as the pressure to capture attention and stand out across an even heavily fragmented market puts more emphasis on planners to truly understand their audiences. ​

Whether we concentrate on the “game-changers” or the “stay-the-samers”, the one thing the latest report shows is that planners need to be evermore considerate of how different audiences grow and evolve with the tech and opportunities presented to them within channels. At the7stars, we put people first and use qualitative and quantitative insight to understand our audiences, translating them into audiences that we can actually buy against with data and allowing advertisers to see the wood for the trees in an increasingly fragmented media landscape. ​