Advertising performance across industries has been affected by COVID-19, as often happens in the wake of significant global events. Ad conversion rates have dropped by 21% on average since the public health crisis was declared a pandemic.
While some advertisers have been relatively unscathed, and a few have even attracted new audiences, many others are seeking ways to regain their financial footing. For example, Digiday recently reported that TV advertisers are requesting new rights to pull out of ad commitments.
Numerous media organizations have launched initiatives to show their support for advertisers over the past several weeks. Gannett’s Providence Journal and Telegram & Gazette are just two examples of publishers that have provided free print and digital advertising to businesses.
It’s important for publishers to learn to recognize industry trends as they’re emerging. This will help you anticipate what your advertisers’ challenges and needs might be, and protect your own business against the effects of market disruptions. Here are a few ways that you can stay ahead of trends in a volatile environment:
Talk to your advertisers regularly.
Make a point to connect with your customers to learn what new challenges they may be facing as a result of changes in their industry. By making an effort to deeply understand your advertisers’ needs, you’ll be better positioned to help them achieve their short and long term goals.
Watch for patterns that may surface after you’ve talked to a few customers, and always focus on how your media organization can deliver value.
Read and listen to thought leadership content.
Consuming thought leadership content is an excellent way to gain insight into the unique perspectives of media industry leaders. Their specialized skills and experience give them a strong understanding of the challenges that publishers and advertisers face, as well as what priorities and goals are most pressing for the industry to work toward collectively.
In addition, it’s helpful to read content and stay up to date on news from your customers’ sectors so that you’re well versed in what matters to them most.
Talk to your peers regularly.
Join industry associations and participate in networking events. Encourage your staff to do the same. Professional associations are an excellent way to hear about new ideas, initiatives, and challenges, as well as to rub shoulders with leaders who you can learn from and join forces with to maximize your impact.
“Associations are the hub where individuals organize their resources, plan their strategy, and assign action items to make lasting change happen,” says this article by Naylor.
Attend conferences and webinars, and share key takeaways across your entire team.
Committing to your professional development is an integral part of building the skills you need to identify and respond to market trends. Create a culture of learning within your team and dedicate time to share and discuss ideas.
Elium.com reports that knowledge sharing is one of the greatest enablers of success for companies. This approach to collective learning has had a powerful impact at organizations such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, who are known for being agile. Companies that share knowledge are better able to predict and respond to customers’ needs quickly by launching new products and services.
Keep an eye on Big Tech and on new developments in AdTech.
Media organizations must both collaborate and compete with Big Tech (Amazon, Google, and Facebook) if they want to be successful. While many smaller publishers use the Big Tech platforms, they also compete for advertising dollars.
Publishers should stay abreast of developments in both Big Tech and other forms of AdTech so that they can design customized solutions to market their customers’ products and services effectively.
The AdTech industry changes rapidly. “Keep a finger on the pulse, make decisions immediately, and rethink your business strategy over and over again. You should be ready for ups and downs,” says this article by MarTech.
Watch for emerging market opportunities.
When you consider how your media organization can deliver value for your customers, be on the lookout for opportunities that could help them reach a larger audience.
For example, increasing numbers of marketers and advertisers are turning to video games to gain exposure for their brands. The video game industry has experienced massive growth since its beginnings in the 1980s. Publishers would be wise to explore partnerships with video game companies that could benefit their bottom lines as well as their advertisers’.
If these publications aren’t on your reading list, we recommend checking them out to gain insight into important media industry news and perspectives:
Set your media organization apart from the crowd
Times are tough for advertisers in many industries, which has resulted in decreased spending. As a publisher, it’s crucial to simplify the process for advertisers to do business with you. You must also make a point to listen to and understand their concerns.
By communicating with your advertisers regularly, keeping up on thought leadership content, staying in touch with your peers, committing to your professional development, and watching for changes in the market, you’ll strengthen your media organization’s ability to adapt and thrive.