There are a lot of good headlines coming out of the trades. Advertising is expected to recover and grow in 2021. Programmatic, in particular, is fighting its way back to pre-COVID levels. We are settled into our new routines. In some respects, it feels harder to imagine what it was like just 100 days ago. That’s right: by the time you read this, most of us will have a full 100 days under our belt. For some, particularly those of you in Europe and Asia – potentially far longer.
100 days is a substantial milestone. It’s the length of time we use to judge a new presidential administration. In 100 days we have changed how we work, how we live, and how we communicate. It’s not quite a full third of the calendar year, but it’s enough to stretch from one season to the next. It’s significant and longer than I thought this would last when it started. Now, it oddly feels like we are barely through the beginning. There is a lot to do and a lot more to come, but there is optimism in the air.
Like most folks, I am experiencing time differently since we shut everything down. I am equal parts grateful and anxious. Grateful for the time to reflect and slow down from travel and the general intensity of life before COVID, but anxious to get back out there and see everyone and everything again. 100 days. Take a minute to reflect on it. What will the next 100 days look like?
Hope you are Staying Safe, Healthy, and Happy.
EVP, Global Marketplace Development
The recovery continues across the board. We have a growing number of categories above pre-COVID levels and others very close to it. I am increasingly optimistic about ending this quarter on a high note despite its tough start.
Indexing from the April Bottom
I wanted to zoom into Travel again. We touched on this last week, but this is a different view. As you can see, Travel is coming alive. While the total number of Brands is still flat, Ad Spend is way up. Those in the game are upping their spend trying to entice the ‘willing’ to travel with them. No other category will need to advertise to come back more so than travel, and it’s happening in droves. Q3 will be a really important quarter for this category as more restrictions ease just in time for Summer. Destinations might not have the same mileage they once did, but people want to change the scenery and there will be a fight for their dollars. Speed is going to be the most important facet for Marketers in this category. They need channels they can jump back into within a week, or days if possible. Programmatic is crucially important in this regard. If you’re in Sales – think of what you can offer to Marketers in this category (airlines, hotels, cruises). Marketers want to hear from you, if you can meet them where they stand: lighter commits, faster turnarounds, and agility.
I am always fascinated by the many innovations that happen in terms of great constraints. So this doesn’t surprise me either. I can’t travel far, so why not get a timeshare to my neighbour’s pool?
However, this is stupid. This isn’t a thing. People won’t do this.
The Year of Not Being Mobile (Auto)
Listen – am I proud of this topic headline? No. Did I feel like I had a choice? Sure. Did I do it anyway? I did. There are few more reliable tropes in the Ads game than making a “Year of Mobile” joke, and I am not above it. But how many people could do that as a segway into a conversation about the Auto industry? I stand alone.
Now, using the same dimensions as we did with Travel, Auto tells a similarly positive story. The total number of Advertisers is up but not by much. Ad Spend, however, is spiking. Auto Advertisers didn’t leave the game so much as they slowed down and played defence. The changes over the last few weeks indicated a large change in strategy. Spend it, and it will continue to rise. This category will continue to transform and streamline. And surprise, surprise – the retooling is complete.
These seismic behavioural changes – buying a car online and not in person, learning at a distance, even health check-ups from your mobile device – aren’t going away after COVID, they’re just going to accelerate the inevitable. They stand to increase the overall pie in our ecosystem long after this pandemic, as new services, buying modes, and behaviours become common and accepted. And Marketers will have more use cases than ever in the channels we represent.
Across the board, we continue to see growing strength through the portfolio. It feels like we have been in lockdown for much longer than we have. 100 days – that’s it. With a full recovery on the horizon, that number will feel very manageable in hindsight.