How to Uncover Media Opportunities Hidden in Plain Sight

Insights from the Latest Nielsen Total Audience Report

Unsurprisingly, consumer behavior has shifted during the pandemic. There have been massive changes in how we work, play, and consume media.

In the August 2020 edition of its Total Audience Report, Nielsen shared information gathered from surveying a group of remote workers. The results reveal a number of trends important for brands to understand in order to adapt their media planning and buying approach.

One of the most striking statistics is the fact that 61% of remote workers make purchases online at least once per week during work hours. However, the definition of “working hours” has changed as well, with many working from home respondents reported shifts in their work schedule. The respondents cited increased flexibility in getting projects completed outside of the typical 9-to-5.

Shifts in Media Consumption

The most unsuccessful ad is one that is never seen, heard, or read. Therefore, the goal of any media plan is to reach your best potential customer where their attention is to maximize opportunities for engagement.

In light of the changes in media consumption and behavior accelerated by the pandemic, one of the most obvious changes in strategy is to heavy up on budget allocation for digital channels relative to others.

However, there have been shifts in the types of media that has remote workers’ attention, and these details are the key to breaking through the noise and getting noticed. Here are the statistics for the top three types of media that remote workers surveyed said they consume daily:

  • 40% of remote workers stream music or radio daily during work hours
  • 33% of remote workers stream TV daily during work hours
  • 31% of remote workers spend time on social media daily during work hours

Based on this information, how might we adapt our channel mix and targeting approach to reach people where they are spending their time?

Get More Leverage In Your Ad Buys

There are a number of important variables that need to be taken into account when developing a media plan like budget, timing, target audience, and available creative assets.

What if we simplified everything and isolated a single variable: attention?

We can then use the 80/20 principle to filter channels. What 20% of media channels is your audience likely to spend 80% of their time on?

Let’s use the above statistic about streaming TV being an 80/20 channel.

Now go a layer deeper using fractal 80/20: what types of content are users consuming within that channel?

It turns out that for the 33% of remote workers surveyed who stream television during work hours, a majority of that content is news, and in particular local news.

Now you could begin exploring placements among the local news outlets and looking for adjacent opportunities to increase your exposure to local news as a category.

For instance, you could run display or video ads through the local news apps or on their websites. These could be accessed self-serve through Google Display Network.

From there, look for other force multipliers: How might we apply local news to social media advertising or radio?

Radio: explore placements on local talk radio stations, especially during segments with content relevant to your brand.

Social media: build audience targeting based on interests in local news networks (Facebook Ads), or based on keyword and conversations about local news (Twitter Ads).

Normalize Testing in Your Organization

With this principle-based analysis applied to the latest shifts in consumer behavior, you can uncover more strategic media bets to accelerate testing and scaling of results.

For those just beginning to build a culture of testing in their organization, take the advice of Jim Collins. As he says in his book Great by Choice “Fire bullets then cannonballs.”

To apply this wisdom to your situation, establish a testing budget and results-based goals and metrics that you will use to evaluate tests.

The most successful ad you’ve ever run might be one you haven’t tried yet.