Evolution, influence, and trends in digital advertising

Brands must ensure campaigns leave a meaningful impact on consumers as digital advertising continues to evolve.
02 June 2022
State of digital advertising
Kerry Benson

VP, Creative Solutions Lead, North America

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Advertisers are faced with the challenge of driving short-terms sales while simultaneously building brand equity. In order to achieve this, advertisers are increasingly turning to digital advertising. Indeed, digital accounted for 64.4% of total advertising revenue in 2021, up from 52.1% in 2019. Even taking into account the historical anomaly that was COVID-19, global digital advertising spend will exceed $537 billion in 2022, and is expected to make up 70.8% of global spend by 2025. 

What does that mean for advertisers? Let’s look at the evolution of advertising in the digital space during recent years. How does digital advertising influence more traditional formats? And what are the advertising trends to help inform and shape your digital strategy?

The evolution of advertising in the digital space

With advertising reaching consumers at more touchpoints along the purchase cycle than ever before, digital has become a powerful tool for driving brand engagement. But with its increasing power has come increasing changes. Particularly over the last few years when COVID-19 forced much of the world online, digital has become more important than ever.  

Here are four recent evolutions that will inform future trends:

1. Power of the consumer

Consumers are gaining more power in advertising experience. In some instances, they are able to choose what they see and when they see it. The beauty of digitizing everything is it allows marketing campaigns to reach the right people at the right time, making for more effective advertising and better results.

2. Customized experiences

Customized and personalized experiences are key advertising trends we’ve seen in recent years – it’s no longer just about hitting consumers with the right message at the right time, brands need to allow consumers to customize their ad experience through interactive ads.

3. Shoppable ads

Brands are also decreasing the distance between product awareness and purchase. ‘Shoppable ads,’ like Amazon’s ‘actionable video ads’ and YouTube’s ‘video action campaigns,’ are one of the biggest trends in digital advertising. They allow brands to embed shopping features directly into the ad to make the first point of contact an opportunity to purchase and drive a frictionless buying experience.

4. New, engaging formats

Within digital, there is an ongoing evolution from traditional display/banner and video formats to new, more engaging ads that fit different environments. Platforms such as TikTok and Twitch are disrupting the market with creative hooks they can recommend to advertisers. The integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are giving advertisers more unique opportunities to create brand experiences. 

How digital advertising influences traditional advertising

As we’ve seen from the results of this year’s Creative Effectiveness Awards, advertisers in traditional media are increasingly seeking inspiration from digital. Creative styles that we previously only saw on digital are now being used elsewhere, creating a more cohesive brand experience for the consumer. We can see these digital advertising influences most prominently in TV. 

TV ads are starting to infuse direct references to these new digital environments, even adopting similar styles and features like the tight editing to music often used on social media ads. Using digital tactics creates a difference, which we know is important for success, and helps to avoid some of the category tropes. Many of the Creative Effectiveness Awards winners implemented digital strategies into their traditional advertising.

However, while TV advertising can benefit from using a more digital aesthetic, content must be customized to work with a different audience mindset.

Digital advertising trends

We’ve already seen how digital has evolved recently, and these changes are likely to continue into the coming year. Let’s take a look at two key trends in digital advertising and how they can be implemented successfully.

1. The impact of influencers on story telling

Brands have been using celebrities and influencers to advertise their products on social media for many years. This is set to be a long-lasting trend in digital advertising, helping advertisers to future-proof their brand.

But, in advertising today, it’s not good enough to include a celebrity without real thought into their purpose. Collaborations between influencers and brands are most successful when they come across as authentic. Using influencers who truly believe in the brand and/or the products they promote is key for a public figure’s message to resonate and for their community to act. This trust can lead to long-term partnerships rather than one-off projects, which can be very lucrative for brands. 

The success of brands partnering with celebrities can be seen in Capital One’s ‘Magic’ ad, which was ranked as one of the top ten Most Effective Digital Ads at this year’s Creative Effectiveness Awards. The ad features two former NBA players, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley, who use word play to deliver the brand’s message – that Capital One’s app ‘works like magic’. 

2. Short format video

For advertisers to be successful in digital, implementing best practices for creative effectiveness into their strategy is key. Advertising today faces the challenge of time: with consumers’ attention span constantly decreasing, it’s important to get your message across quickly and succinctly. Capital One, for example, achieved their great campaign messaging in ‘Magic’ in the space of just six seconds.

Apple have also utilized short-form video extremely well in one of their newest campaigns. 

Using Link AI for Digital, Kantar Marketplace tested Apple’s new 6 second digital ad, ‘iPhone 13 Now in Green.’

Link AI tests six creative KPIs and three behavioral KPIs.

Table showing digital advertising KPIs measure by Kantar Link AI for Digital

The ad tested well, ranking in the 70th percentile or above for all six creative KPIs.

Bar chart showing results of ad testing for 'iPhone 13 Now in Green' by Kantar Link AI for Digital

The success of this ad can be linked to the fact that it:

  • Focused on one key message throughout.
  • Featured text overlay so the ad works with sound off as well.
  • Contained fast-paced video with dynamic storytelling, allowing the campaign to increase engagement

Though advertisers can find success with concise creative, ads don’t need to be under 10 seconds in order to tell their story effectively – even shortening an ad from 60s to 30s can prove effective.

Takeaways for advertisers

With the current state of advertising, it has never been more important for brands to ensure campaigns leave a meaningful impact on consumers. Advertisers can deliver results by focusing on the following:

  • Customizing is key: Consumers increasingly want to see ads tailored to them.
  • Shift to shoppable: Brands are decreasing distance from product awareness to purchase through shoppable ads.
  • Fresh formats: Digital advertising influences are being seen across traditional channels. Brands are finding new, more engaging ways to interact with brands through platforms such as TikTok, and through VR and AR.
  • Impact of influencers: A celebrity spokesperson can help increase engagement – but only if they come across as authentic.
  • Quick content: Short-form video advertisements help ensure you keep consumers’ attention but still allow you to convey your brand message effectively.

But, even if you take these into account, it doesn’t guarantee that you’re hitting the right note and making the biggest impact on consumers. Making sure that you have a robust system in place where you can test your ads against consumer-led metrics is vital to focus your efforts.

With Link AI for Digital on Kantar Marketplace you can quickly predict the creative performance of your digital ads in as little as 15 minutes. Test your creative variations in bulk and make rapid, confident decisions about which ads to run with Kantar’s powerful artificial intelligence tool. Discover more about Link AI for Digital on Kantar Marketplace to see how your brand could benefit from its ability to match the pace and scale of today’s digital campaigns.

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