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MTM Blog: PR and Media Update November 2020

Given the UK Government announcement of a second national month-long lockdown, the country is understandably more uneasy than it would usually be at this time of year. But, unlike the first lockdown, it’s not all doom and gloom: the construction sector, as well as manufacturing, has been permitted to continue as it has been doing for the past few months. So with that in mind, what happens next?

The impact of COVID-19 has really underlined the difficulty of trying to understand the future. However, this uncertainty means that it’s more important than ever to be aware of the latest stats and figures, as this is some of the little hard evidence that we can all collectively count on. As part of a major new series, the Financial Times has compiled chronological chapters of the crisis using information drawn from around the world.

Media landscape

In the world of media, the COVID-19 crisis revealed an incredible paradox: whilst for the first time in history digital information reached record audiences on all continents, at the same time advertising investments have been hard hit as marketing budgets face increased pressure and scrutiny.

Yet, from the first days of the crisis, governments have relied heavily on earned media to get their messages to the people. Despite a drop in advertising investment, earned media has been operating at full capacity. Even long before the COVID-19 crisis, the media industry was facing major structural challenges and new perspectives. The consequences of the pandemic have somewhat accelerated the emerging trends observed over the past several years.

Throughout the global pandemic one trend has been clear when it comes to consumer media consumption - there's been an increase across all channels. See Kantar's COVID-19 barometer which charts the evolution of consumer behaviour throughout this time.

In other news...

Long live print? i editor Oliver Duff reflects on launching a new national daily newspaper into the UK’s already crowded market on 26 October 2010. Duff dismissed the print “doom mongers”, saying the medium will “prosper for much longer than anyone thinks, especially at the national level” and citing the “exceptional resilience and innovation” shown by publishers over the past decade.

GB News, which promises US-style TV news programming built around strong presenters, is set to launch early next year – but in the age of digital is a TV news channel still an interesting proposition to advertisers?

Social Media News

LinkedIn Stories finally launched in late October. Following in the footsteps of Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, LinkedIn Stories is a new way to share 24-hour updates on the platform, enabling users to share images and short videos of their everyday professional moments. LinkedIn shares Stories that you post for 24 hours. Notes: You can only post a Story from the LinkedIn mobile app. To access Stories, make sure you're using the most recent version of the app.

The new features are the next step in the platform encouraging more conversations in the professional environment. LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Product Management, Pete Davies believes that having a “lightweight” and “fun” way to share an update has as much of a place on LinkedIn as it does anywhere else. “Sometimes we want a way to just make a connection, have a laugh with our colleagues and move on.” It’ll be interesting to watch and wait to see how well adopted this new feature is, and no doubt there will be some examples in a few weeks of how to use it well...and how not to.

Facebook adds new advertising options in time for the festive season. With Christmas just around the corner, Facebook has released a number of new ad functions to help businesses make the most of the last few weeks of 2020. The most prominent update is The main update is the ability to create Instagram ads with product tags within Ads Manager,allowing businesses to add Instagram's product tags directly to paid promotions. To help marketers sell more during this time, Facebook is also adding some new Custom Audience options to help businesses retarget people who've shown a direct interest in purchasing from them in the past.

With Tik Tok growing in popularity, latest figures predict that it will surpass one billion users in 2021. According to app analytics provider App Annie, “TikTok has seen sharp growth in active users by amassing a sizable global footprint in 2020 — nearly tripling in size since 2018. In 2021, we expect TikTok to not only achieve a coveted spot in the 1 Billion monthly active users club, but to sail straight past to 1.2 billion." App Annie also confirms the app saw the second-highest consumer spend among non-gaming apps in Q3 2020, which further confirms its long-term earnings potential.

There’s still a lot to come before we bow out of 2020, including the Bank of England’s policy setting meeting, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit and more local lockdowns, but keep checking back on the MTM blog, as we’ll be doing our best to make sense of it all and highlight the things that you most need to know as we go along.

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