Since the first adverts were published in 17th-century gazettes, advertising and promotions have been a game-changer for businesses. As advertising has evolved, it has shifted from an approach of shoving products on people’s faces, hoping they bite to a tool that engages consumers.

Even though there were already visible challenges in advertising and promotions, Covid heaped on more difficulties. But even before we dive into how the pandemic impacted advertising and marketing, let’s first define the two.

Promotions Vs. Advertising

We can define promotions as a short-term strategy that aims to produce product sales in a company using incentives. These incentives can either be coupons, free trials or samples, or discounts, or a combination of them.

On the other hand, advertising is a long-term strategy that marketers like you use for persuasive messaging to inform potential customers about a product or service and how they can access them. Advertising is a form of promotion and can also include an incentive as a way to persuade customers.

Furthermore, advertising, just like promotions, uses different media to reach consumers, such as out-of-home media, social media, television, and other digital advertising platforms. With promotions, marketers can expect to gain results over a short period, thanks to heavy incentivization. On the other hand, advertising ROI comes in slowly over time.

Now let’s analyze how Covid has impacted advertising and promotions and what you as a marketer can do to adapt.

Life in Advertising Industry During the Pandemic

A report from Aprais revealed that client contact with marketing and advertising agencies rose from 21% to 35% in 2020. However, this did not necessarily mean that the relationship between agencies and their clients improved.

Overall, agencies reported that working hours during the pandemic were less respected since most clients asked for last-minute changes to cater to the changing needs of consumers. This caused increased day-to-day task intensities, with most marketers reporting burnout and lack of focus.

That said, as the effects of Covid wear out, the contact levels between clients and agencies are returning to normal. As a result, agency teams, especially marketers, are starting to enjoy more structure and focus.

1. Consumers Dictate How and Where They Want to See Promotional Advertisements

Consumers had a lot of say in how and where marketers presented advertising before Covid. Advertising and promotions have always followed the principle of going where the consumers are, and this hasn’t changed. 

In fact, more power is shifting towards consumers when it comes to advertisements or the promotion of products. For instance, a report by Kantar revealed that senior global marketers view TikTok as the least trustworthy digital platform. However, consumers continue to show preference towards the app, citing it as a top platform that allows ad equity. 

Despite the uncertainty of TikTok marketing, marketers are still responding to their customers’ preferences by advertising on such platforms.

2. Increased In-Game Advertising

During the Covid period, hobbies such as mobile games skyrocketed, with an estimate of 2.5 million mobile gamers globally. This trend seems to be working for the good of advertising and promotion. 

In game advertising trends

An October 2021 report showed that 81% of marketers in the US and UK plan to increase in-game advertising budgets. We can attribute this to the interest of advertisers in in-game advertising and the uptake of gaming as a hobby. And why not? Mobile gamers comprise a diverse group offering an excellent platform for marketers to utilize.

Interestingly, 55% of mobile gamers in the US are women aged 18-35 years, the most coveted age group for B2C products. In-game advertising also enjoys a 3.4X average CTR, making it a profitable avenue for advertisements.

Even now that lockdowns are lifted, people continue to immerse in the world of mobile gaming, meaning more advertisement opportunities. In fact, the mobile game industry is predicted to reach 90.7 billion dollars by the end of 2021.

3. Consumers Want in on Creation Too

One positive that came out of the Covid period was increased online communities and promotional advertising taking the approach of empathy. Consumers reacted better to brands that took time to understand their new needs and interact with them directly. 

What’s more, user-generated content spiked as consumers sought to build a community of their favorite brands. They created personalized images, audio messages, and videos leading to a diverse ecosystem community linked by a single brand.

Consumers feel more connected and loyal to the brand when they participate in the creation, whether through videos or images. Consumers don’t want to just buy your products; they want to join it. Innovative markers are jumping on board by co-creating promotional assets with their customers.

Even if businesses are starting to find footing again, marketing budgets are not what they were pre-covid. According to an annual Gartner report in July 2021, global marketing budgets have reduced from 11% of company revenue in 2020 to 6.4%.

This means that businesses need to make do with what they have and focus more on customer retention rather than acquisition until the effects of Covid relegate. However, as we inch towards 2022, ad spending is expected to increase by 6.9% to reach $619 billion by next year.

Strategic Advertising and Promotions: How is it Different Post-Pandemic?

Even if businesses are starting to find footing again, marketing budgets are not what they were pre-covid. According to an annual Gartner report in July 2021, global marketing budgets have reduced from 11% of company revenue in 2020 to 6.4%.

This means that businesses need to make do with what they have and focus more on customer retention rather than acquisition until the effects of Covid relegate. However, as we inch towards 2022, ad spending is expected to increase by 6.9% to reach $619 billion by next year.

More Focus is Now on Customer Retention

With marketing experiencing budget cuts, then more focus will have to shift towards customer retention and loyalty. Now innovative businesses will concentrate on keeping their customers happy, optimizing customer support, and offering incentives to extend the relationship.

Overhaul Your Brand to Match Changing Customer Needs

It’s no secret that consumer preferences have changed a lot since Covid happened, and your brand needs to ensure that it’s adapting to these changes as well. Your business should reassess customer pain points and craft advertising and promotions strategies that address these pain points.

Right now, customers are looking for businesses that are empathetic, authentic, and not all over their timeline with full-blown advertising.

Start planning now for AR and VR experiences

video advertising and promotions

According to a Hubspot survey, 91% of marketers felt video became more critical after the pandemic onset. This can be attributed to the fact that consumers watched more videos than any other time during lockdowns.

However, consumers are not looking for standard videos; and they are searching for video content that creates enticing experiences. With the rise of VR and AR, marketers have an opportunity to make this experience for their target audiences. How so?

For instance, IKEA has an iPhone app that lets customers test different furniture for their homes. Such advertising content is interesting, but it is sure to set your brand apart.

VR revenue hit 7 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow 10X by the end of 2021. What this means is that marketers have an opportunity to present advertising in ways that customers are seeking.

In essence, advertising and promotion in the post-Covid world are all about meeting customers where they are and paying attention to their feedback. It’s also about focusing on being agile and adaptable as the global advertising industry continues to shift in form and trend.

market decision making surveys

Summary

A period of adjustment is coming for organizations and marketers who are accustomed to past practices. As advertisers, we are tasked with maintaining a balance of art and science.

To unleash a future of superior analytics and large-scale advertising deployment, we must strike the optimal mix of people and automation. To build authentic human connections, we must leverage data as fuel while still respecting the discipline of storytelling. These new marketing facts exemplify these recent marketing statistics exemplify the combination of strategies, procedures, and technology required to drive growth post the pandemic.

The only way to recover from the pandemic and create long-term prosperity is to embrace the midst of chaos. We may find comfort and security in the most basic and crucial fact of all: above all, we must prioritize the customer’s perspective now, next, and above all else.