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  • Quynh Nguyen

COVID-19: Changing Consumer Streaming Habits Pave Way for New Advertising Platforms

Unsurprisingly, social media and streaming habits have changed as a result of the lockdowns. Twitter now sees 23% more daily users than last year and subscriptions for paid streaming services increased 32% during quarantine despite a net drop of 12% from the previous year. On top of that, 2019's breakout app, TikTok, set a record for global quarter downloads at 315 million, reaching the 2 billion mark in total global downloads.


This larger streaming audience has, unsurprisingly, happened in parallel with the release of new ways to advertise on streaming channels. Here’s some to consider:


Roku Oneview | OTT Advertising

With COVID-19, advertisers can’t afford to sit out on OTT any longer. With Oneview, Roku promises to reach 4 out of 5 homes that have been cord-cutting for streamable content with streaming mobile and desktop ads. With an impressive roster of advertisers already lined up, which includes Drizly, Experian, Intuit TurboTax and Lexus, the platform offers household user data targeting.


After purchasing Dataxu in October 2019, a first-party user DSP data collector, streaming service Roku has access to over 36 million users' viewing data, from 10 million automatic content-recognition devices.


NBC Universal Checkout | Shoppable Content

Shoppable content was on the rise before COVID-19, particularly through Instagram. In fact, eMarketer predicted shoppable content would see a big rise in 2020 last year. Implemented on the broadcast's text and video based content, NBC has launched a new way to integrate the advertising and selling of branded products into its content. NBC is the first national broadcaster to implement shoppable content. The platform has yet to release their advertising partners, but are launching the program in June.


YouTube | Publisher Subscriptions

Implementing a more direct way of providing news publishers paid subscribers, Netflix is planning on launching a subscription sales tool by the end of the year. As the second most preferred platform for news, YouTube is creating alternate tools for revenue generation. As of February, YouTube’s paid ad-free subscription service had over 20 million subscribers- showing that people have no problem paying for premium content with no advertising on the platform.


TikTok | Influencer Marketing

Though brands cannot directly deliver shoppable ads on the platform, TikTok is making it easier for its influencers to deliver call-to-action posts. Previously, content creator and influencer-branded content would only show up in-feed, but the new program will implement “shop now” buttons on their own profile’s posts.


Snapchat | First Commercial

The image messaging app is piloting its first non-skippable ads. Allowing advertisers to purchase the “first commercial” that users see, targets the Gen Z demographic where 72% of their users aren’t reachable by television ads. This comes after seeing a 20% jump in active users quantitatively 2 million new users in the United States, in Q1 of 2020.


But is OTT here to stay?

Undoubtedly the reason that streaming has increased so dramatically is because consumers are stuck at home, so the big question is: are these habits here to stay? Social distancing has led to adoption rates of technology that may be hard to give up even after restrictions loosen. Most notably, online shopping is expected to be a staple of the new normal, meaning shoppable content on OTT will likely only get more ubiquitous after the crisis.


A recent survey found 72 percent of consumers “plan to do more shopping online to ship directly to their homes” in the future. 51 percent plan to limit shopping in-store to essentials, and only 31 percent plan to increase grocery delivery. But, for produce, data showed that Americans still prefer shopping in-store for groceries, with just 27 percent saying they prefer ordering through delivery services.


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