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The Lowdown - June 2021

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

In this month's Lowdown, we consider the divergent implications of a "K-shaped" recovery, tune in to the value of podcasts, see which demographics are behind recent donor decline and dream wistfully of (unbooked) sunbeds! Read on!

The K-shaped recovery

Econometrician Dr Grace Kite outlines the contrasting ways in which consumers are likely to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis. In her article, 'A marketer's guide to the economy after covid' she focuses on what economists are labelling the 'k-shaped recovery':

"Categories and consumers on the top arm of the k are bouncing back, they have money to spend. Others, on the bottom arm, are struggling to make ends meet and will continue to."

As the graph below illustrates, many of those who were doing well before the crisis have benefitted financially. Conversely, those who were already disadvantaged, including young people and working mums, have fared worse:

Source: 'A marketers guide to the economy after covid', Magic Numbers

To marketers catering to consumers on the upper leg of the K, Dr Kite suggests that premium products / brands are likely to see a pent up splurge of cash, something which appears to have already started:

Source: 'A marketers guide to the economy after covid', Magic Numbers

However, we should also be mindful of those on the lower leg of the 'K' whose circumstances need to be carefully considered in both messaging nuance and targeting. As Kite suggests, brands need to tread carefully to ensure that they don't deliver a:

"'treat yourself' message to someone who can't make ends meet"

Now more than ever, brands need considered media planning based upon proper consumer insight to understand and reflect their target audience's post pandemic circumstances.


Tune in to the value of Podcasts

As reported in Performance Marketing World, a recent US study (Digital Audio Expansiveness: Growing Landscape & Opportunities) conducted by Spotify and MAGMA has unearthed interesting insights into podcast listening behaviour. Screen fatigue has drawn consumers away from TV and they have tuned into podcasts instead. Listening behaviour also shifted from commuter periods to spread across the day as working shifted to home and people sought light relief in the form of news, entertainment and companionship. Encouragingly for marketers, engagement levels are good with 67% of respondents saying that they're attentive to podcast ads (compared to 46% for TV).

Another US based study from YouGov reported that 'Heavy podcast listeners aren't just tuning in to content - they're receptive to ads, too' finding that 66% of heavy podcast listeners love recommending things for people to try:

Source: YouGov, 'Heavy podcast listeners aren't just tuning in to content - they're receptive to ads, too'

Suggesting that enthusiastic podcast listeners are not only receptive to ads but can help spread the word about products too!


Greater insight into streamed viewing on its way

Barb has announced that it will soon be providing audience figures for streaming and video-sharing platforms and content ratings for Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. As reported on Mediatel, 'Barb nears launch of Netflix and Amazon Prime ratings after sampling boost', Kantar will be installing new metering tech into its UK homes panel with an enlarged sample size of 7,000 homes (up from 5,150).

With the UK broadcasters also providing an update this week on their "C Flight" initiative to better assess BVoD's incremental reach, we're delighted that the industry is slowly getting closer to a more holistic and accountable view of AV viewing.


Charity donations propped up by younger demos

In its latest report, 'The Donation Deficit: How the pandemic has shaped charity donations', nfpSynergy have unearthed several interesting insights.

The headline is that the % of people who have donated in the last 3 months has dropped from 69% in Jan 2020 to 55% in 2021. As the chart below shows, all demographics have witnessed a drop off but it's by age that has seen the biggest differences:

Source: nfpSynergy: 'The Donation Deficit: How the pandemic has shaped charity donations'

This data implies that it is younger groups that are more likely to have continued their donations and the biggest reductions in % donating have come from the older generations (with whom the greatest donation value for charities normally lie).

Since this latest survey was carried out (March 2021), some previously reliable charity income streams such as charity shops have reopened and with real life events looking to restart, hopefully the apparent decline in donors will begin to reverse.


Google reacts to Apple by boosting privacy protections of its own

As reported on Search Engine Land (Google announces its own version of App tracking transparency), 6 weeks after Apple rolled out its iOS14.5 privacy change update, Google has announced that later this year it will enable users to opt out of sharing their Advertiser ID. On Google's support pages it says more specifically:

"...the advertising ID will be removed when a user opts out of personalisation using advertising ID in Android settings. Any attempts to access the identifier will receive a string of zeros instead of the identifier.

As opposed to Apple's 'opt-in' policy, Google have opted for an 'opt-out' policy. The change is unlikely to be as dramatic for mobile advertisers as Apple's, but it could still cause issues for tracking and therefore needs planning consideration when the proposed changes come into effect.


Personalisation a basic requirement

Customer experience is worth it. As reported in Marketing Week's article, 'Consumers seek personalised shopping experiences' 43% of consumers believe personalisation is now a basic requirement of online shopping and personalisation will make 60% become repeat buyers (up 44% since 2017).

Source: Twilio Segment as reported in Marketing Week 'Personalisation, customer experience, IT friction: 5 interesting stats to start your week'

Indeed, 37% believe that good customer experience will bring them back to the brand even if it is cheaper or easier to purchase elsewhere. 73% of consumers also expect:

"...a personal and consistent customer experience across multiple channels, both physical and digital. "

The regular lockdowns have clearly made consumers more online savvy but now that restrictions have eased they want a similar experience IRL.


Holiday bookings still on hold

Although we can't seem to find a UK holiday to book for love nor money, YouGov reports that 68% of us have not yet booked a summer holiday. 23% claim to have booked a holiday in the UK, 5% have booked a holiday abroad while 3% have greedily booked one abroad AND one in the UK:

Source: YouGov Daily question: 'Have you or have you not booked a summer holiday this year?

46% find the current rules around travelling abroad unclear and as evidenced by the latest guidance on Portugal, booking a holiday abroad remains a gamble. Let's hope for the sake of the travel industry that restrictions can be eased soon so that consumers can finally book with confidence. When that finally happens, expect a surge in traffic / booking volumes (and race you to the sunbeds!)


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