Niche Advertising/Audience Targeting


2021 Paid Media Predictions For Digital Advertisers

January 4, 2021 Carolyn Harding

Across nearly every industry and every media channel, 2020 has made an impact. Changing media consumption patterns, newly formed shopping habits and heightened demands for convenient and seamless experiences have challenged digital advertisers to pivot and, in many cases, accelerate their digital media strategies.

All of these newly formed consumer trends will affect the way advertisers target consumers in the new year. As we head into 2021, Jonathan Katz, chief media officer for Digital Media Solutions (DMS), anticipates a year of growth and new developments in the world of digital advertising, sharing his top three paid media predictions.

#1: In 2021, Instagram Will Become A More Marketer-Friendly Platform

Shutterstock_1545201770 CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - Oct.18,2019: Woman holding Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 with instagram app on screen at coffee shop with laptop.

Katz notes that while digital advertisers love Instagram today, it can be a challenging platform to leverage for paid media, as messages expire quickly. According to Katz, Instagram has made significant investments to become a more cost-efficient option for marketers, leading him to anticipate that more digital advertisers will flock to the platform in 2021, increasing the amount of commerce on Instagram.

“The latest advancements on Instagram are really going to extend the platform’s legs in 2021 – it has become significantly more search friendly,” said Katz. “For example, advertisers can now update captions on Instagram, without the use of hashtags, to include more relevant keywords, making the searchability and lifecycle longer and more impactful.”

Katz believes the ecommerce component on Instagram has the chance to make a significant impact in 2021. As one of the top digital platforms among consumers, Instagram is widely used as a place to discover new brands, products and services. With the continued investment in innovative shopping options on the platform, Instagram could open the door for digital advertisers to create their very own digital storefronts, potentially introducing a new era of advertising opportunities and online transactions.

#2: In 2021, TikTok Will Reign Supreme Against IG Reels 

Shutterstock_1725056902 Nakhonratchasima, Thailand, May 6, 2020 : young asian woman using TikTok application on iPhone at home

While, at a glance, Instagram Reels and TikTok appear to be very similar short-form video apps, the question of whether Instagram will be able to compete with TikTok in 2021 has been on the minds of many digital advertisers. For Katz, the answer is clear: “I’m confident the 15-second video format is where advertisers will continue to focus in 2021, but when it comes to the Instagram Reels vs. TikTok debate, TikTok will be the clear winner, significantly outperforming Reels.” Katz noted that Millennials, specifically, will dominate the TikTok ecosystem, stating, “This age group [Millennials] will be the fastest growing population group on TikTok in 2021.”

Additionally, similar to Instagram, digital advertisers can expect TikTok to invest more in ecommerce tools and offerings in 2021, according to Katz. Ecommerce investments will likely be a key strategy for TikTok to increase its revenue potential and further engage its now 1 billion users.

#3: 2021 Will Be The Year Of OTT

Shutterstock_1701333133 Online video streaming concept.Female watching music video via laptop at home

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers found themselves indoors for much of the 2020, increasingly relying on streaming services as a form of entertainment. The growth in time spent streaming created a major opportunity for digital advertisers to scale revenue through OTT. “This will be the year that OTT breaks out,” notes Katz. “Programmatic buying and direct placements will bring the highest value consumers in 2021.”

BIA Advisory Services recently predicted that “OTT local advertising will grow to $1.2 billion in 2021.” Katz agrees that OTT spending on local advertising will increase, and he anticipates the newly formed consumer habits that advertisers have seen will continue into the new year and provide advertisers with increased targeting opportunities across streaming platforms. Katz specifically highlighted the increased time consumers are spending on streaming content on mobile devices at home. He shared that he believes, while 2020 may have introduced the growth in mobile streaming, OTT opportunities are here to stay.

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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