The COVID-19 has had huge implications on the way consumers behave. Entire industries, such as tourism, came to a grinding halt as lockdowns shut people in their homes across the globe. Other industries such as food delivery services (think UberEats and Deliveroo), and streaming services boomed.
Now, as lockdowns loosen and people across the world are ready once again to leave their homes, what effect will this have on marketing and advertising? The answer might surprise you. In this article, we talk about how marketers will now need to compete harder than ever for users' attention as the amount of screen time people consume drops.
We all went through the pandemic together. While there were a few motivated people who got abs or started a new business, most of us simply spent the time locked up in our homes and spent more time glued to our devices.
From Q2 to Q4 in 2020 the amount of screen time for full-time workers skyrocketed across all forms of media.
As of July 9th 2021, over 34 million people in the UK are fully vaccinated. The government has also announced plans to end the nationwide lockdown from July 19th. The UK population is itching to get out of their homes and in turn, this will mean away from their screens. In the coming months, we will see the full effects of how much the lifted lockdowns change the reach for marketers and advertisers but we can expect it to be dramatic.
As spare time dries up, people go back to work, and would rather spend their weekends at BBQs in the park over in bed on Netflix, marketers need to ramp up their efforts to compete for attention.
This ‘attention recession’ has many companies wondering if they are going to be able to maintain stability or see their numbers drop off a cliff. For example, streaming services will be looking at their huge uptick in subscriptions over the last year and be wondering how many of these users they may lose as lockdown lifts.
According to MADiA research, the average full-time worker gained almost 15% extra free time during the pandemic. In addition, time spent on recreational activities such as sports and holidays dropped by 30%.
As this spare time gets filled up again, many businesses will be questioning whether or not the newly acquired habits of their audiences will stick. We are already seeing that some of them may not.
At the peak of lockdown, in Q1 of 2020, over 15 million users signed up to Netflix worldwide. In Q1 of 2021, that number dropped to only 5 million.
One of the big impacts that this ‘attention recession’ is likely to have on SMEs is the cost of advertising. As users spend less time on their screens, they will view fewer ads. This in turn will lead to greater competition to have your ads placed.
SMEs need to think about ways they can keep their audiences attention without breaking their marketing budgets. This way when the end of lockdown comes it will have the lowest impact on their bottom line possible.
Organic social media is a great tactic that SMEs can use post-lockdown to connect and build meaningful relationships with customers. Enhancing your online visibility and focusing on building customer loyalty will combat some of the drop off that you may see post lockdown, when the attention of your audience gets eaten up.
In these unprecedented times, all businesses need to remain agile and flexible to unpredictable changes in audience behaviour. As lockdown ends we will wait to see what quarantine habits from audiences stick and which ones they drop. However, ultimately we can expect to see a drop in attention that users have for media, especially video.
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To combat these changes brands should start using social media as a customer loyalty tool. Streams is a platform that helps SMEs manage their social media by finding top quality trending content in your brand's niche, that your audience will love. Sign up for a 14 day free trial today.