June 7, 2021 / Thought Leadership

CP Insights: IAB 2021 NewFronts

Michelle Capasso, Director of Media Services, Mallory Bram, Media Director, Allie Umlah, Associate Media Director, Chris Corrado, Associate Media Director

CP attended this year’s IAB NewFronts – a week of programming and presentations from major partners in media and entertainment. Companies such as Amazon, TikTok, Twitter, Snap Inc., CondeNast took to the (virtual) stage to present their latest and greatest content line ups and what advertisers can expect in the coming year in terms of new programming, advanced targeting, and innovation. Below we share some of the insights from the week. 

1. Storytelling and the rise of content creators

Just as streaming services are leaning on exclusive content for differentiation, social short-form video platforms are leaning on creators.

Propelled by consumer behavior during the pandemic, platforms from TikTok to Snap to YouTube took a moment during their respective sessions to highlight the significant increases in time spent across their platforms last year and what those trends mean for the future of content creation and social platforms. 

Both Snap and Twitter touted over 30 percent year-over-year increases in time spent with their respective content lineups. As a result, both companies will be investing even more in developing partnerships that deliver high-quality, premium content on their platforms.

Meanwhile, TikTok continues to dominate the influencer landscape, signing high-profile creator partnerships with established and emerging talent. This year, TikTok focused on merging discovery and e-commerce by ramping up advertiser awareness of how to leverage its wide base of creators, highlighting user-driven trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, a hashtag where people show off new purchases that were influenced by other users on the platform. 

Coming out of this year’s NewFronts, social platforms are betting big on high-profile creators and influencers to continue fine-tuning their storytelling capabilities and sharing entertaining content that attracts advertisers and drives user engagement and audience growth.

2. Video continue to take the lead

Video has been at the forefront of digital advertising over the last few years, but now more brands and partners are looking at video through the lens of scale + exclusivity. 

In addition to their Prime Video offering, Amazon has made giant strides into the content ownership space with their exclusive NFL Thursday Night Football agreement, original programming on IMDb TV, and more recently their acquisition of MGM. 

Other publishers, those you wouldn’t typically connect with video content creation, are entering the custom content space full-on. 

CondeNast, Tegna, Verizon/Yahoo, Snap, Inc., and Twitter are all shifting their offerings and partnerships to align with the growing video consumption trend, by offering live streaming, custom content, or video on demand options. 

Even further, as seen with a collaboration between KitchenAid and Hello Sunshine, with the help of Digitas – content partnerships and storytelling via digital video, create opportunities to showcase media-fueled creativity. 

“…audiences don’t watch platforms, they watch content” – Agnes Chu + Pamela Drucker Mann, CondeNast 

3. E-commerse everywhere

While retail and ecommerce habit shifts have been one of the biggest consumer stories over the past year or so, this year’s NewFronts mirrored an increasingly blurred line between “shopper” vs. “consumer.”   

The closed loop attribution value proposition that has long been the mainstay of the shopper marketing space has become even more compelling and desirable as 3rd party cookie-based attribution models have shifted, and as consumers lean into ecommmerce for convenience.

With this accountability, it’s no wonder that many NewFront presentations introduced shoppable integrations, from Verizon’s cooler screens in Kroger’s to Conde Nast’s shoppable video.

It’s incumbent upon media buyers to see beyond the walls of our shopper vs. consumer space, and embrace the opportunity to merge these two disciplines (and budgets!)