The value of digital marketing is no longer up for debate. The pandemic has pushed people to do more online than ever before, forcing businesses to catch up in the meantime. Research suggests that the health crisis has accelerated the digitization of customer interactions by several years.
Paid media is one vital cog in the process of attracting and retaining customers online in 2021. It’s a broad category that spans search engine advertising, video campaigns, social media channels such as Instagram, TikTok, and more.
So, what makes paid media important, and what trends are expected to shape the sector in the near future?
The value of paid media for brands in 2021
With so much content published online every day, an effective paid media strategy is increasingly essential for businesses looking to cut through the noise. It allows brands to promote their message and reach new audiences – but paid media isn’t just about increasing brand awareness.
People are now buying more products and services from more places online, a trend seen by Tom Walkden, the Head of Biddable Media at an agency specialising in pay-per-click advertising, YouTube, paid social and more.
“Last year alone, eCommerce sales accounted for over a quarter of all retail sales and that is only set to increase with the impact of the pandemic likely to be felt long into the future.
“Suddenly a lot of these channels whereby traditionally people use them for branding and awareness strategies, they’re now converting really well and it’s becoming cost-effective to put media spend behind these channels to gain direct acquisition from them.”
If our digital habits stick as they’re expected to, brands can use paid media advertising to drive valuable customer interactions through the channels they’re using every day.
What does the future of paid media look like?
Be it shifting consumer trends or emerging platforms, the world of paid media is always evolving.
It’s expected that online retail will continue to thrive as more businesses and industries get in on the action. Google’s Shopping channel could grow to rival Amazon, while marketplaces such as Etsy and eBay could also come further into the picture.
The use of data and automation in paid media is likely to increase as machine learning technology takes on more day-to-day tasks, giving marketers more time to focus on strategy and budget management.
Cross-channel paid media strategies are also predicted to be key, with social media platforms in particular showing that they’re worthy of increased spend.
Paid media has shifted from being a nice-to-have tactic to a necessity. It will be fascinating to observe how brands deploy it as we enter a new and more digitally connected era.