Winning Online Advertising Tactics in 2021


In the uncertain times of a continuing pandemic and the unfolding economic recession, sustaining customers’ trust and loyalty to a brand is quite a challenging task.

However, 2021 brings just as many opportunities to marketers to hit the right level of branding, enough to drive their customers’ engagement.

Putting connections over reach & purpose over revenue

In worrying times, more than ever, people are expecting brands to not only deliver a top-notch product and/or service, but also demonstrate sufficient levels of involvement and sympathy towards social and humanitarian causes.

In plain words, consumers are eager to invest in brands, who in turn are willing to invest in their society’s well-being.

Namely, from what we’ve already seen in 2021, taking a counterprogramming strategy for this year’s SuperBowl, i.e. investing a brand’s advertising budget into COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaigns instead of running conventional commercials has been quite a blast.

More importantly, given how decisively winning this tactic potentially is for the brand’s image, we can expect top-tier businesses to take somewhat a similar approach to their advertising campaigns, scheduled for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo this summer.

Taking advantage of first- and second-party data

The fact is, while a thorough analysis of advertisers’ first-party data (e.g. from the CRM) remains a total Must, it’s rarely sufficient for scaling customer behavior analysis and improving predictions.

In this respect, while the online advertising industry is still struggling to come up with a one-for-all alternative to soon-to-deprecate third-party cookies, 2021 is, perhaps, the best time to re-evaluate the brand’s opportunities on how to access customer data in a more direct, yet privacy-safe environment.

Namely, the most efficient way to do so could imply obtaining access to niche-specific second-party data, partnering with premium publishers of editorial content, e.g. in the news segment.

The logic is simple: since news publishers have been suffering most from the blacklisting practices during 2020, they have put greater effort into the development of sophisticated first-data platforms to provide wider contextual targeting capabilities to their Demand partners.

And now’s the time to leverage these.

Embracing video storytelling on CTV / OTT devices

Video advertising on CTV / OTT devices, quite predictably, will remain the hottest niche in digital advertising in 2021, simply because people are continuously streaming a whole lot of video content, and they want to watch even more of it, especially on AVOD platforms.

However, as hot as CTV advertising has been over the past few years, brands haven’t had access either to granular targeting, or precise analytics in the niche until now, being basically investing in the overall customer reach, rather than their target audience engagement.

Well, this will hopefully change in 2021, given the joint industry effort, recently put into practice.

Namely, one of the highly-anticipated novelties is the IAB Tech Lab’s Open Measurement SDK for CTV (currently in development), which should help streamline video ad viewability verification and measurement in the niche.

We’re not yet sure whether it will bring enough granularity to attribution in CTV advertising or not, but the expectations are definitely high.

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