Which media matter more in North America?

New Kantar research shows the importance of websites and social media.
28 July 2021
Online stores and social media matter
Jed Meyer

Senior Vice President, Media Domain, U.S.

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Post-COVID-19, we see a great opportunity in spending smarter rather than just spending more than your competitive set. Marketers have to consider much more than reach and frequency – media strategies now need to comprehensively reflect the new realities of daily life from a consumer, brand and enterprise point of view. 

Adapting your messages and methods of distribution for the moment are key – What does your customer want to hear from you right now? How long has it been since they’ve heard your brand’s voice? What are your competitors saying/doing? Where is your brand in its lifestage (new or mature?) Is your supply chain and distribution network prepared to deliver the goods?

Customer-first media strategies in today’s data privacy climate are paramount. Spend will follow consent, attention and measurability versus just scale and cost. 

For now, this dynamic will continue to favor the largest walled-gardens and private-market direct-buy and/or programmatic platforms. But at some point the power will likely shift further towards consumer-controlled (opt-in) profiling and targeted marketing. 

Online stores and social media matter

No other region is so heavily influenced by paid media as North America. Total brand impact of 27% is mainly driven by TV, Online and Social.

The top 3 touchpoints contribute more than 25% of the overall brand impact and is led by TV (11.5%) followed by product and service experience (8.7%) and recommendations from friends and family (7.3%). For the brands we've measured, websites or online shops and brand apps deliver much greater impact than we see in other markets – 10.8% in North America vs. 6.9% globally. 

TV has the biggest absolute contribution across key metrics. Generic online display and video ads are less cost effective compared to all other media in North America, and to online performance in other markets. For many brands, the key to success is unlocking the power of TV and digital in combination. 

Newer digital platforms and e-commerce will prosper

Advertising spend in North America is predicted to grow by 22% in 2021 compared to 19% globally based on GroupM’s ‘This Year Next Year’ report. The rebound rate is predicted to be higher here compared to many other markets owing to its high volumes of ecommerce activity and the growth of new companies that rely heavily on ecommerce related advertising. 

Being a more progressive market when it comes to the adoption of the latest technology, the digitalization of channels is here to stay. U.S. digital ad spend is projected to grow by a whopping 33% in 2021, following 10% growth in 2020. Although advertising on traditional TV declined in 2020, new and emerging concepts such as Connected TV will gain prevalence and may eventually see higher spend (~1.5 times) in 2021. Online ad spend continues to rise in North America with a particular focus on video. Bigger brands will continue to allocate a considerable chunk of their budget (~40% or more) to advertising associated with premium videos be it online or offline. 

Based on Kantar’s Media Reactions 2020 report, North American marketers plan to free up budget by decreasing spend on radio ads and OOH, while podcasts and all other digital formats will see heavy uplifts in investment. Amongst social media platforms, TikTok is benefiting particularly strongly.

For your copy of the full touchpoint findings for North America, please complete the download form below.  

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