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The Lowdown 'Special' - December 2021

How to Thrive in 2022


As the year draws to a close, we wanted to provide a Lowdown Special on what we thought lies ahead in 2022. However, based on the current climate, any sort of prediction for 2022 is quite frankly unrealistic and a tad ambitious!


It feels like 2022 is set to be another tough year and so what we thought we’d proffer, is a view on what could help us all thrive in the next 12 months. We have asked some of the brightest minds at M.i. Media to provide their thoughts.



Limber up!

Richard Slater, Managing Director


Wouldn’t it be lovely to be in a position of greater certainty after the turbulence we’ve all been through since March 2020? Sadly, although we are seeing normality return in some areas, agility is still likely to be the key to success next year.


Large scale macroeconomic shifts relating to supply side issues are not only hitting businesses in unexpected ways, but also creating big fluctuations in consumer confidence. In addition to some brands trying to catch up on losses from lockdown, this is making it hard to predict where things will land month to month. In the last two months of 2021, we have already seen unparalleled levels of ad spend moving through AV channels creating big price rises. This seems unsustainable if the downward trend in viewing figures continues, but there’s no way of knowing how long it could last. Equally, although we can guess at potential big decisions from the Alphabets, Apples and Metas of the world, how and when they make changes are harder to predict and could have wide-ranging implications.


For us, the key to offering effective client solutions next year will be monitoring the market closely and responding quickly. How do we offer this agility? Firstly, by committing to giving clients access to the people with the experience to give informed guidance and teams who are skilled and resourced to be able to implement quick changes. Secondly, by trying to get ahead of the curve and investing quickly in areas like connected TV where we see new opportunities emerge that could be game changers for 2022.


 

“It’s the economy, stupid”

Andy Brander, Planning Director


This was the mantra that helped propel Bill Clinton to the Whitehouse and it remains as true as ever, here, and now.


Just a few months ago, forecasters were cheering the UK’s prospects, expecting a strong bounce back in consumer expenditure fuelled by the pent-up demand of households feeling flush with lockdown-induced savings. How quickly the economic headwinds change. In stark contrast, now is our winter of discontent. Consumers and businesses are reeling from supply shocks, rising inflation and imminent threats to disposable income stemming from higher tax and interest rates. Consumer confidence, a barometer for discretionary expenditure, has slumped all the way back to levels last seen in the deep lockdown of Spring 20 (according to YouGov’s tracker):


Source: YouGov 8th November 2021, ‘Personal finance pessimism drags down consumer confidence for the third consecutive month


The rollercoaster in demand (and supply) volatility over the last 18 months seems set to continue into 2022, but there are glimmers of light. The UK job market remains strong, with high vacancies bolstering job security and wages. And business confidence appears robust with 80% expecting growth of at least 10% in the next 12 months according to HSBC business leader research. I’m no economist but I know that what goes down generally comes back up. Hopefully, supply-side challenges will unravel quickly so that inflationary pressures and interest rate rises subside, so we’ll see consumer sentiment bounce back up once more in the light of better economic news. Until that happens, marketers and their agencies will need to work as hard as ever, keeping their targeting sharp and messaging motivating, to drive the desired consumer demand.

 

Anything is possible

Jo Blake, Investment Director


Probably since about 2017, the industry has talked about programmatic OOH. I always felt that it was being talked about but in a slightly unobtainable way. Then the pandemic happened, and pretty much halted OOH spend, let alone a whole new way of thinking! But this year, coming out of lockdown, growth in OOH revenue is expected to be at 14.9% with a global market of $36.6 billion - this makes OOH the 2nd fastest growing ad medium, fuelled by Digital. During the pandemic period, OOH media owners have made moves to make their digital inventory available to OOH DSP’s and to be traded programmatically. For clients, this is a good thing and will mean flexible pricing models and genuine agility - enabling clients to increase or decrease spend, pause campaigns, and generally respond faster to external changes, reaching targeted audiences with contextual advertising in real time.


Alongside Programmatic advances, creative boundaries will continue to be pushed in OOH. Only recently we have seen plant-topped bus stops in Leicester (Bee Stops), the Costa campaign featuring a pop-out Chocolate Orange and an After Eight, and my favourite, the 3D billboard in Piccadilly for Amazon. A truly jaw dropping experience, blurring the lines between experiential, content, and OOH. Anything is possible in OOH, absolutely anything, but clients need to be brave and have the appetite to drive innovation alongside real time, contextual, programmatic buying.

 

Keeping pace with hyper-automation

Marie Comarmond, Digital Planning Director


We are hearing different industries talking about hyper-automation and how it would change their productivity and improve their performance. When it comes to digital advertising, we can see it as a continuation of what we have been working towards for the last few months and years.


With Google and Microsoft prioritising their Responsive ads, Facebook working on the metaverse and the end of cookies, we are clearly entering a period of hyper-automation. But while automation is most of the time associated with making things easy, it is more about reaching the right users at the right time, using the right media.


But how can we leverage it for our clients, when digital technology and rules are always evolving? Here are 5 key actions that could help clients into 2022:


1. Understand your audience keep building first party data and behavioural data outside of cookies

2. One size does not fit all. Tailor advertising to mirror the user’s journey from awareness to conversion

3. Take a step back - analyse the impact of targeting and prioritise what is working, but also understand what is not working.

4. Identify new users and platforms and keep up with the changes!

5. Test, test, test!


 

Our conclusion?

If you stay agile, keep in tune with your audience and continue to test and innovate through media, you’ll have 2022 nailed (we hope).


 



We are an independent media planning and buying agency dedicated to doing the right thing - by our clients and by our people. We forge relationships with substance – director level service, day in day out, with the experience and autonomy to always add value. Doing the right thing pays back – we accelerate growth.


 

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