Pandemics and new trends have something in common. For pandemics: we have data and research to keep us informed on potential systemic risk and to help us sense a big swing, however, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint timing or how large of an impact it will have on society. Trends fall under the same unforeseeable grouping as pandemics, it’s hard to predict when a trend will start to be adopted, how long the trend will last or what exactly the bell curve looks like that most trends follow. What we can do though, again analogous to pandemics: use past and current data and behaviors of what we are already seeing today in the digital landscape to prime us for what may be the next big thing. Here are the top 3 digital trends PredictWise will be keeping an eye on over the next few months:

  1. Connected TV & Digital Video Content
  2. The Rise of TikTok
  3. Mobile Ad Spend

Connected TV & Digital Video Content

What is connected TV? Simply put connected TV is digital TV content that is connected to the internet rather than a cable box, satellite, or cable chord. Content for connected TV is being streamed into an internet-connected app on a smart TV or another similar device. CTV (connected TV) includes Smart TV's, Apple TV's, devices like Tivo and Roku, gaming consoles like X-Boxes and PlayStations to name a few. In the past, ad-buying for CTV mostly involved private marketplace deals with providers, publishers, and advertisers. Now more and more we are seeing connected TV inventory becoming available on DSPs programmatically to buy, which makes buying CTV spots more accessible & cheaper for most buyers.

CTV can also arguably make the ad watching process more enjoyable compared to traditional TV, as spots are targeted based on individual-level audience data as opposed to being broadcast. That level of detailed targeting plus the added precision of measurement of being able to count who has seen the ad, on what device, and how many times is something you can never get on traditional TV. An example of this trend ticking up can be seen with The Trade Desk, as consumer reports document that COVID is responsible for the worst period in advertising history, programmatic platform The Trade Desk is trading at an all-time high, especially when it comes to CTV spending.

The Rise of TikTok

TikTok is a video sharing social media platform that allows users to create short videos & sound bites. The video-sharing platform is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese based company. Last month, the app reported two billion downloads globally, 130 million of those downloads being in the United States. TikTok is the first app that isn’t part of the Facebook social network (Facebook, WhatsApp & Instagram) to surpass 2 billion downloads since 2014. Here are some quick facts about the demographics & usage of TikTok:

  • 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24
  • 56% of TikTok users are male and 44% are female
  • Roughly 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34 with 26% between 18 and 24
  • TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app
  • 90% of TikTok users visit the app more than once per day
  • It’s currently the third most downloaded non-gaming app of the year
  • 52% of TikTok users are iPhone users.
  • TikTok’s average engagement rate is 29%

While TikTok does not allow political ads, 70% of TikTok users in the US are of voting age, so campaigns should still be reaching out to the influencers in the TikTok community for organic content/earned media. TikTok videos have the ability to carry hashtags & political hashtags are definitely being used. The Wall Street Journal discovered that over the last three weeks of 2019, videos that carried a Trump2020 hashtag were viewed over 200 million times. As of now only 4% of marketers use TikTok, but with the rate that TikTok is growing in popularity among the Gen Z population & younger millennials I think it’s safe to assume that more and more brands will start to use TikTok to reach audiences.

Mobile Ad Spend
Due to COVID-19, ad spend is down across the board, however, mobile advertising is still evolving. Before coronavirus, marketers expected US mobile ad spend to grow 20.7% in 2020, accounting for more than two-thirds of digital ad spend. About 60% of mobile ad spend is expected to go to Google & Facebook ad networks, with Facebook accounting for 1 in 3 of mobile ad spend. Mobile ad spend is reported to account for 50% of digital ad spending by 2021 and finally surpass desktop in 2022. Since COVID, apps have seen an increase in ad spend to news apps, parenting apps & lifestyle food and drink apps. Marketers have needed to change advertising tactics quickly with the impacts of COVID-19 on advertising, more than a third of advertisers are adjusting their in-market tactics, and are increasing their use of custom audience targeting, OTT/CTV device targeting, mobile/tablet device targeting and programmatic buying. Brands and marketers are shifting their plan to mission-based marketing & cause-related marketing to the right audience, to ensure their ad dollars aren’t going to waste especially right now when every dollar is so closely being looked at.