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UK Insights

FragmentMedia? Quantifying and resolving fragmentation within the media marketplace

Marcus Gault

Managing Director of Media, Agency & Rights Holders

Digital 09.07.2018 / 13:00


As the number of different channels used by consumers to consume media continues to grow, the fragmentation of the media marketplace is also increasing. Part of our #FragmentNation series.

In our recent DIMENSION study, Kantar Media examined the key issues driving the media industry, and explored what they mean for consumers, advertisers, agencies and media owners. We identified four critical areas, each of which represents a form of fragmentation within the industry. These are summarised below, together with what they mean for connected consumers (someone who uses at least two devices – from a PC/laptop, smartphone, and tablet – to connect to the internet) in the UK.

1. Consumer engagement with advertising

57% of UK consumers believe that advertisers are doing a better job communicating with them now than in the past; this number was 59% a year ago. In addition, only one in five consumers would be interested in providing personal data in return for more relevant advertising, rising to just over one in three where the proposed return is discounts on goods and services.

Further, only around a quarter of UK consumers say they are seeing an increasing number of “relevant” ads. This figure is low compared to some of the other markets where we conducted this research, especially China and Brazil. This shows the challenge of engaging large groups of consumers through conventional advertising alone, meaning other channels need to be used to reach and engage people.

2. Ad blocking and avoidance

Ad blocking remains a key issue for the industry. 22% of UK consumers claim always to block ads, up from 19% last year. It is also not a surprise that “lack of relevance” scores highly as a reason for blocking ads. 57% say they block due to a lack of ad relevance, perhaps because the product is something we just don’t need… or have already purchased. Either way, ongoing disengagement with advertising and robust use of blockers further fragments the audiences that advertisers are seeking.

Beyond the outright blocking of ads is the more general issue of ad avoidance. A growing example of this is the use of video subscription services (such as Amazon Video or Netflix), whereby the subscription payment means that you gain access to media content without advertising. Half of connected consumers pay for such subscription services. Of these, 59% said their main reason for signing up was to access content they cannot get elsewhere, whilst almost a third (31%) explicitly cited the absence of advertising. As brands struggle to engage consumers within these TV subscription services, where they are especially likely to be engaged with content, an already very divided TV and video audience fragments further.

3. Using multiple messaging channels

Trying to engage consumers with messaging beyond explicitly showing them ads can be an uncertain endeavour. We asked consumers to indicate from a list of messaging types (e.g. editorial messages, sponsorship) which they consider to be advertising; an average of 71% considered each messaging type to be a form of advertising.

Consumers rely on a range of different approaches to find out more information about a brand. Searching online, and gaining information from friends and family and review sites, are particularly popular. With so many different types of messaging available today, the challenge is both to select the right ones to reach the target consumers, and to tailor the message effectively to the communication channel.

This is particularly important for brands battling negative publicity. Our DIMENSION findings reveal that often a range of formats can be effectively used by brands looking to resurrect their reputation. Printed content came out particularly positively, along with news coverage and articles online.

4. The impact of evolving tech

As new media technology arrives, it typically does not replace what already exists but is accommodated alongside it. For brands, this creates a headache as it adds to the fragmentation of messaging channels. Inevitably there are varying levels of engagement with the same content on different platforms. For example, 22% of adults claim to enjoy advertising seen on TV via a TV set, whilst 13% claim to enjoy ads seen on online TV player services.

Sometimes new tech can present a whole new challenge to the marketer in terms of how it can best be used to reach consumers. The rapid growth of smart speakers represents a good example of this challenge. As brands grapple with engagement on still-new platforms, more new platforms emerge, and the ground shifts again.

So what are we to make of all this change? The momentum within the media industry is towards integration. If anything, the range of formats, platforms and channels for consuming media is likely to become more and more fractured. Advertisers therefore need to use more channels to reach their targets, wherever they are. Multimedia campaigns are increasingly key, but in turn this requires a set of consistent universally accepted measures to underpin planning, and to accurately assess return on investment.

With so many different measures and walled gardens in the industry, this is simply not possible without the active collaboration of players on all sides. As things stand today the will for integration is broadly there (with some notable exceptions), but the mechanics of making this a reality are complex and challenging.

Source : Kantar Media

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