Reports Media & Marketing

Advertising Marketing in the era of lean through

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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20,000 foot view:  Audiences have shifted, first towards the on-demand content delivery model, and now increasingly towards lean-in and lean-through engagement behaviours as a native part of consumption. Advertising strategy and marketing tactics have also had to adapt accordingly. With the lean-through consumption dynamic growing at the leading edge of audience behaviour, it is increasingly important for advertising partners and marketing departments to accommodate the ad preferences of these consumers in strategic planning now, rather than chasing them farther down the line once these behaviours move into the mainstream. 

Key insights 

  • Consumption habits will increasingly swing from lean back to lean through as consumer-facing platforms provide lean-through tools as part of the consumer experience. The leading example of this is TikTok, which is largely user-generated-content (UGC) driven and has        weekly active use (WAU) among all consumers, rising to        of high content creators (those who spend more than five hours per week creating content)
  • While the ‘creator’ segment is still niche, it skews towards younger consumers        of        do so weekly), and emerging markets, like Brazil, are skipping lean-back, passive consumption altogether        do not engage with social media at all, and only        view without engaging) – meaning lean through is set to define the next wave of consumption behaviour
  • While passive ad viewing has already suffered        of creative consumers skip video ads online), broader marketing has been able to use this to its advantage, developing interactive campaigns on social platforms to encourage engagement with brands. However, as we shift into the lean-through dynamic, brands must again adapt 
  • High content producers are seven percentage points more likely than those who do not engage in creative behaviour to skip video ads online, eight percentage points more likely to use ad blockers, and five percentage points more likely to skip audio ads on podcasts 
  • While creative consumers are more ad resistant in served formats on on-demand services for both audio and video, being prone to skip, there are some early indicators that they are more receptive to other formats 
  • High creative consumers prefer relevant ads, at five points higher than lower-volume creators, and, also, prefer short polls and quizzes to viewing a larger number of regular ads on a service, at        compared to the        average for low content creators 
  • This creative segment is high-spending when it comes to relevant content – specifically, in terms of other creators: this segment over-indexes for spending on other creators’ content, with        spending more than        per month compared to the        consumer average
  • To meet the needs of creative consumers, brands must carefully consider relevance, engagement potential, and avoid re-saturating or over-burdening their attention spans and wallet shares – particularly on the verge of a financial recession and cost-of-living crisis, which will reduce their tolerance for inconvenience ever further

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Google Stadia, OnlyFans, Patreon, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Xbox, Xbox Game Pass

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