The Lowdown: 08.10.2020

Updated: Oct 20



In this week's Lowdown we report on ecommerce insights from Google, how TV can 'Signal Success' and a look at how publishers are faring. Read on!

Convenience as key to online retail as it is offline

Google's latest Retail insights draws on their data from the past few months and suggest what advertisers can do to improve their customer experience. They've identified 8 key insights (listed below) and 8 corresponding action points can be found in the full article here:


1. Some retail categories show higher shifts to online shopping than others

2. Shoppers increasingly prefer channel-agnostic purchases

3. Convenience is valued above all else

4. In store pain points increased, but shoppers had a better experience shopping online

5. Online product research increased, driven mainly by shoppers aged 45+

6. Availability, price, and convenience are reasons to switch retailers

7. Brands are expected to care about sustainability and social issues

8. Shopping apps are on the rise


Two charts stood out for us...


Convenience is still king - it's imperative that marketers continue to place value on making all aspects of the customer experience straightforward:


The biggest growth in Online Research has come from consumers aged 45+ - ensuring content and digital navigation is both relevant and intuitive is key:

Source: Google: '8 ways consumers in the U.K. adapted their shopping behaviour this year'

Which channel tops the pops in global adspend?

WARC have released a fascinating video to accompany their latest Global Advertising Trends report:

Source: WARC: Brands to spend $59bn on e-commerce ads this year


Only breaking into the chart in 1999, e-commerce rapidly becomes a bigger player in global advertising investment and sits at no.4 by 2020. Indeed, it's been quite a year for the channel with investment on e-commerce platforms and social commerce platforms predicted to grow 18.3% worldwide. This has been driven by the dramatic increase in online purchasing and implies that brands are focusing on targeted advertising across e-commerce to get closer to the consumer at the point of purchase.

Does advertising on TV signal a brand's superiority?

Last week Thinkbox shared a research study ‘Signalling Success’, conducted by research agency house51. It is apparently the first-known UK research 'dedicated to the behavioural science principle of ‘signalling’... which suggests that the perceived cost and scale of an advertising campaign translates to improved brand attributes'.

Source: Signalling Success, 2020, house51/Thinkbox. Base: all adults (3,654)


The research looks at the signals across different demographics and sectors and its key findings are:

  • Media channels differ widely in their ability to communicate vital brand signals

  • TV consistently delivered the strongest signals across all categories and audiences

  • Social media and video sharing sites struggle to signal brand quality, fame or success

  • Advertising on TV scores higher on every signal than advertising on social media especially on perceptions of quality and trust

The full report available to download report here.

Branded Content -a chink of light for publishers?

In the Drum's article, 'How publishers are getting around the branded content slump', Andrew Canter, global chief executive of the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) admits that there was a ”significant downturn in marketing investment” with job cuts the unfortunate by-product of reduced investment in the sector.


However, the article notes that there are still reasons to be positive. Publishers still have reams of data to help inform advertisers to provide content that is not only engaging and entertaining but useful and purposeful. The pandemic has encouraged publishers to become nimble in getting content live (restructures, production hubs etc.) so they can react more readily to short term bookings.


Here at M.i. Media we have been impressed by the quality of publisher response on a recent content partnership brief for one of our charity clients and keenly await its launch!


ABC and PAMCo release latest newsbrand and magazine data

Mediatel reports that based on the latest ABC data*, newspaper print circulations continue to "plummet". Unsurprisingly commuter freesheets Evening Standard and Metro posted significant falls while the Daily Mail and The Guardian fared slightly better than the rest with falls of "only" 14.6% vs March. In general, Sunday titles have held up better than their daily equivalents - only down 15.3% versus pre-lockdown figures


Also in Mediatel, PAMCo, fusing print estimates with the latest Comscore data, released their cross-platform audience figures for UK magazine brands.

  1. Most magazine brands saw their combined print and digital brand reach come back from a damaging Q2.

  2. Consumers are accessing magazine content much more via mobile (e.g. Country Life mobiles numbers increased 132.5%!) and tablets.

  3. Magazines focused on hobbies e.g. Gardeners World and TV content performing well.


Gardener's World magazine saw a 95.2% increase in it's monthly reach YoY


*Circulation figures for the Sun, Sun on Sunday, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Times and Sunday Times have not been publicly reported by ABC, following the implementation of new reporting options which allow publishers to opt out of making their figures publicly available.






YouTube as a replacement for TV?

As reported in MarketingTech, 'Beyond the traditional: How YouTube is looking to turn lockdown viewing habits into a marketing win', Ofcom's latest Media Nation report showed that 42% of online adults had used YouTube in the last 7 days and it is now the most-used online video service, ahead of Netflix and BBC iPlayer.


Much of YouTube's recent growth has been driven by consumption via the TV set. With even low end TVs now boasting smart features, lockdown has proved a catalyst for people to try more online video content alongside traditional TV programming.


Though not necessarily with as high production values or brand safe as broadcast TV, YouTube is bringing its breadth of searchable content ranging from entertainment to Joe Wicks to 'how to' videos, increasingly streamed via the flat screen in your lounge.



Other research commissioned by Google highlights its attractions:

'People watch and search interchangeably: 80% say they typically switch between online search and video when researching products to buy. Video ad campaigns running on YouTube can use custom intent audiences to reach viewers based on broad-match search terms in order to engage them while they’re in the purchase consideration stage.'


So can YouTube can now be considered a viable alternative to TV advertising and do the old rules no longer apply? Yes and No. YouTube can be cost effective vs the right audience / objectives and is now better able to offer more full (and large) screen and "sound on" coverage which is proven to command greater attention. But as the 'Signalling Success' research reminds us, the old mantra that the "media is the message" does still apply.

M.i. Media is the media agency for clients seeking greater performance, impact and return from their advertising spend. Click here to get in touch.



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