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A tale of 3 ad and marketing tools: Mobiles, audio, empathy

What is driving brands’ advertising and marketing messages today? The smartphone is playing a central role, as is audio though investors are missing out on this, and empathy, which is recognizing what moves people and cultures

89% of respondents use social in their mobile marketing strategy Only 8.8% of the average media budget is allocated to audio, and 25% of advertisers do not invest in it Empathetic experiences through digital touchpoints can have a long-term impact on brand equity

What is driving brands’ advertising and marketing messages today? The smartphone is playing a central role, as is audio though investors are missing out on this, and empathy, which is recognizing what moves people and cultures.

Social growth and m-commerce

Marketers in Asia Pacific (APAC), leaders in mobile adoption, are incorporating a mobile-first approach driven by increased opportunities to reach consumers by social and m-commerce, driving up digital advertising budgets in the region to $120 billion this year, of which the mobile is set to be worth $62 bn, as per WARC research carried out in July and August 2021.

The study outlines the following key findings: 

  1. 72% of marketing professionals expect their mobile budget to increase this year. Last year, only half said the same (48%). Mobile commerce has accelerated due to the pandemic
  2. 89% of respondents use social in their mobile marketing strategy and, on average, a third of the mobile budget goes toward social. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are the biggest platforms for display marketing, while TikTok is dominating partnership marketing. 
  3. Nearly and 9 in 10 marketers saw improved m-commerce capabilities and three-fifths of respondents have named commerce as the most significant consumer behavior in 2021
  4. Even though the end of the third-party cookie has been delayed, 3 in 5 marketers predict an impact to their business by the death of the cookie
  5. Media owners in APAC are investing in data capture and data analysis of mobile audiences which are mainly monetized through video and display advertising.
  6. The future of mobile technology seeks to connect the online and offline, particularly through AI and machine learning, mobile wallets, and smart homes

 Audio’s investment gap

WARC unveiled the results of a study on media consumption and audio investment in the US.

“The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio” highlights a divergence between consumption and investment. While 31% of the average consumer’s media consumption is now audio, only 8.8% of the average media budget is allocated to audio, and 25% of advertisers do not invest in audio at all.

According to the study, consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming, and podcasts, driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home, and at work listening. 

WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9 bn this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts.

Furthermore, the study shows that audio is not a monolith. There are different and critical channels within the audio segment, and they play different roles in the minds of the consumers that advertisers should take advantage of. 

Nielsen Share Shift data shows that adding audio to a TV campaign improves performance by 20% whilst reducing costs.

MENA strategy report

WARC recently released the 2021 MENA Strategy Report, outlining insights and successful marketing trends following an analysis of the results of this year’s WARC Prize for MENA Strategy.

Chiara Manco, Commissioning Editor, Case Studies, WARC, says: “Across objectives, strategies, and executions, this year’s winners shared the same overarching theme: empathy which was described by some judges as “emotional intelligence.”

“This ability to deeply connect with consumers allowed brands to create digital experiences targeted to the needs of their audiences.”

The four key takeaways highlighted in WARC’s 2021 MENA Strategy Report are:

1. Targeted experiences cut through in the pivot to digital

Personalization, which this year increased in popularity as a creative strategy, was a key element of such activations.

Jury member Roxane Magbanua, Business Unit Director, PHD, UAE, advised: “Delivering targeted and empathetic experiences through digital touchpoints can have a long-term impact on brand equity.”

2. Empowering communications heighten engagement

By empowering their audiences, whether by providing tools for life improvement or giving them a voice, brands showed the engagement potential of empathetic participatory strategies.

Judge Laura Chaibi, Senior Consultant, Global Media, Nielsen Media Middle East, noted: “The big winners were those which empathized with consumers by acting as a channel for them to express themselves.” 

 

3. Switched-on brands leave a mark on local culture

By having their finger on the pulse of local issues and events, winners showed that reacting to cultural happenings can build strong connections with audiences.

Rohit Arora, General Manager, Liwa Content Driven, UAE said: “It’s evident from this year’s winners that, by being plugged into local pop culture and current affairs, brands can tackle relevant moments with confidence, even when it comes to controversial topics.”

4. Real-life stories lend humanity to brands

Featuring real people instead of actors, as well as creating relatable characters, has paid off for winners who showed how infusing communications with humanity can aid brand perception.

Judge Tahaab Rais, President – SLC and Regional Head of Strategy & Truth Central at FP7 McCann MENAT, commented: “It’s imperative for brands to recognize they cannot succeed without people. There’s a return and reward in conscious empathy.”

The WARC Prize for MENA Strategy, now in its fifth year, is a free-to-enter annual case study competition in search of the best strategic thinking from MENA’s marketing industry.