Last week Australians completed the Census, and it got me thinking about how COVID and lockdowns will continue to impact the very data sources we use to; strategize, plan and buy our media campaigns. As an industry, audience data is our ultimate currency. It equips us to make informed media strategy, creative, targeting, and buying decisions. This year’s census was conducted during a global pandemic with half the country in lockdown. Consequently, the 2021 census data will uncover an enormous amount of information about the impact of COVID on the Australian population. 

The census data isn’t the only place where we’ll start to see a change in audience and data dynamics. Last year, we saw the largest shift in consumer behavior and spending since the great depression. COVID has profoundly impacted our lives;- from socio-economic circumstances to our psychographic attitudes and behaviors towards brands, products, consumer confidence, and even our Government. Consequently, the conventional demographic framework for media target audiences will no longer cut it. We need a far better understanding of the up-to-date data that reflects today’s consumers.

Personally, I’ve never been fond of sticking to traditional audience demographics such as age and sex, even if that’s what the brief contained.  As media strategists and planners, it is our job to do our due diligence and start from the beginning, review the data and let it uncover the real story. Data sources such as Roy Morgan’s single source provides robust market research that helps us analyze and understand Australians, their wants and needs as well as their relationship with brands and products. Data lead audience planning is in fact how we unlock opportunities for growth, test new and old media channels, and inform both the creative and campaign messaging. Insight and understanding of audiences formulate the backbone of our media decisions, ultimately driving the success of marketing campaigns.

Nine’s recent study by Kantar, ‘Blindspot’ helps highlight my point. They outline that by focusing on archaic demographics such as 25-54-year-olds, marketers and media buyers exclude Australia’s most valuable super consumers – the 55-64-year-olds. Marketers’ obsession with age costs them millions; evidently up to $2.3 billion in weekly household spending. So to my point, if the right level of attention has not been taken to understand the latest audience data, the entire brand and campaign strategy will miss the mark and ultimately lose share of consumers’ wallets. 

COVID has forced a rapid transformation of today’s society and consumer dynamics. The once reliable audience assumptions and data stories have fundamentally changed. It’s now time to go back to basics, explore the latest data and properly understand the changing needs of your modern-day consumer. Targeting should be reconsidered in line with the shifting consumer landscape and address the key questions; who is my real target market, and am I focusing my media dollars on the right target audience to generate the highest possible return?

Of course, ADMATIC is diligant in deep diving into consumer data, pinpointing key audiences addressable within your next campaign. Reach out to [email protected] for more information on ADMATIC’s planning process.