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3 min read

Risks in the Me-conomy

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People want to be seen, heard, understood, reflected, and entertained, or else brands risk losing them altogether. Technology has given people the power to skip/block/ignore most marketing. Cord cutting and ad blocking continue to increase risk for marketers, but new challenges are around the corner. As privacy protections are strengthened, brands need to find new ways to navigate a world without third-party cookies. We’ve gathered some stats on the challenges that marketers face in the me-conomy:

Me-Conomy Pt 8 - Risks In The Me-Conomy - cords

Cord Cutting:

People are “cutting the cord” with pay TV. With so many ad-free options and services that allow ad skipping, the captive TV audiences that brands once enjoyed are a thing of the past. 

  • US audiences spend nearly twice as much time watching ad-free VOD as they do ad-supported VOD (62% versus 32%
  • The number of streaming subscribers doubled between 2019 Q1 and 2020 Q4
  • Nearly all Americans between the age of 25 and 34 access TV content via the internet
  • 50.4M Americans are “cord nevers” who have never had a paid TV subscription
  • More than 5 million subscribers cut the cord with paid TV companies in 2020
  • 27% of people plan to unsubscribe from pay TV in 2021
  • In 2016, the number of households without pay TV service was 28.1 million. That number increased to 54.4 million in 2021
  • 80% of Americans have at least one TV streaming service
  • 52% of cord cutters say that they don’t miss anything about their old TV services
  • 39% of sports lovers use social media and the internet to watch live sporting events
  • Pre-covid, people with streaming services had an average of 12 paid entertainment subscriptions (including music, TV, gaming, etc.)
  • Pre-Covid, streaming service subscribers had an average of 3 streaming video subscriptions; post Covid, that went up to 4
  • Disney+ gained 54.5M subscribers within the first six months of launching the service and saw an increase of 24M users in 2020
  • Netflix has nearly 210M subscribers, compared with Comcast’s (the biggest pay-TV provider) 22.1M
  • 70% of pay-TV subscribers say that TV ads are why they are switching to streaming services; 82% dislike seeing the same ad over and over

Me-Conomy Pt 8 - Risks In The Me-Conomy - ad blockAd Blocking:

While the use of desktop ad blockers has declined, it’s not because ads are getting better: it’s because people are spending more time on mobile and less time on desktop. The use of mobile ad blockers, on the other hand, is rising. Many mobile browsers include ad blockers by default and changing privacy laws will continue to restrict advertisers.

  • 74% of people are frustrated by irrelevant ad content
  • The number of people using mobile ad blockers has risen from 282 million to 586 (as of the end of 2020) over the past 5 years
  • The number of people using desktop blockers rose to 257M users by the end of 2020 (an 8% increase from 2019)
  • The estimated loss of revenue due to ad blocking increased from roughly $3.89B to an estimated $12.12B in 2020
  • 48% of users employing an ad blocker do so because they are getting served too many or irrelevant ads
  • 81% of people using an ad blocker do so to avoid annoying interruptions in their content
  • Estimates vary, but somewhere between 27 and 41% of US internet users have an ad blocker on at least one device
  • The users who are rejecting the “ads in exchange for content” business model are younger and more affluent than the average TV viewers
  • More US respondents had a negative view of online ads in 2020 (47%) compared with 2018 (42%)
  • 58% of ad blocker users cited privacy concerns as a reason for using ad blockers
  • 67% of internet users think that internet ad quality has declined or stayed the same over the past few years
  • 63% of ad blocker users say that they would consent to “light, non-intrusive” ad content

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Me-Conomy Pt 8 - Risks In The Me-Conomy - cookiesThird Party Cookies

Privacy is a growing concern as people demand more transparency about the way their data is used. Third-party cookies are being phased out of use and many of the targeting methods that brands have relied on in the past will become obsolete. 

  • 80% of marketers rely on third-party cookies
  • Marketers in the US spend $19.7B annually on third-party data
  • Programmatic advertising (which largely relies on third-party data) accounts for 78.4% of display/video advertising spend in the US  
  • Since Apple’s updates to iOS 14.5, opt-in rates dropped from 70% to 11-15%
  • Google Chrome is slated to phase out third-party cookies by 2023
  • Safari and Firefox (the second and third most used browsers) have been blocking or limiting third-party cookies since 2013
  • 64% of cookies are blocked or deleted by browsers already anyway (75% of mobile and 41% of desktop)
  • Google Chrome’s market share is nearly 70% of all browser users
  • Only 37% of brands say that they are “very ready” for a cookieless world
  • 41% of marketers believe that inability to to track the right data will be their biggest challenge

So, what do you do when someone takes away your cookies?

It may seem like we’re preaching a lot of gloom and doom, but we promise we’re really not! The world is changing, but that just means that new opportunities are opening up and marketers can find innovative strategies to connect with people in ways that cookies could never facilitate anyway. In the next installment of this series, we will show you exactly what brands can do to mitigate these risks and turn challenges into opportunities.

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