Hoffmann Murtaugh brings you the media download on the global shifts impacting our lives.

If you'd like more customized and specific media guidance for your business and situation, we're ready to help.
  Volume 6 Issue 1
January 8, 2021
In 2020, QR Codes Finally Became Cool
The quick response (QR) code has become one of the biggest symbols of the pandemic.

The DL: QR, or Quick Response, codes became a dominant marketing tool in 2020. The trend is projected to continue to rise throughout 2021 – 2022 with an estimated 5.3 billion coupons to be redeemed through the ever-growing smartphone market. QR codes have been around since the mid 1990’s but started to gain traction in 2018.

As with all technology, QR codes have evolved. They now offer ways for businesses to conduct payments, offer special behind-the-scenes content, and offer coupons for example. If you used a QR code to order from a menu during the past year, you are one of the millions that did.

There are ways to leverage QR codes the right way, and if you think that you can take advantage of them, let us know.
Google Adds Short-Form Video Carousel in Selected Search Results
Google has begun testing a new carousel of short-form video results for selected queries, providing direct links to relevant TikTok and Instagram Reels video clips.

The DL: With the rising popularity of video content, Google is tapping into the trend and has begun testing a new carousel of short- form video results for selected queries, providing direct links to relevant TikTok and Instagram Reels video clips. Essentially, Google is looking to become a broader search engine for these short-form clips, showing relevant results from TikTok, Reels, and one would assume YouTube Shorts as well.

It is not quite clear where Google will go with this, or if the listings within Google will be dictated by content engagement versus direct links to apps. The main question is whether it is of more benefit for the platforms to boost exposure for their content via relevant Google search results, or if it is more important to get people to download their app.

Either way, for content creators, TikTok, Reels, and Shorts could become an important consideration for future media planning. Even though the information is limited right now, keep an eye out for short video carousels in your Google searches! If you start to see them, it might be time to investigate how to take advantage of the video carousels. 
Divides Deepen Across Retail Amid The Pandemic
Some trends that have deepened the divide—such as the shift to ecommerce—are hardly new. But others will be short-lived trends that none of us could have predicted at the beginning of 2020.

The DL: Once the vaccine is readily available and people start to venture out more, it will be interesting to see how the shift to ecommerce will impact business.

For instance, what will be deemed essential? Before COVID, clothing was essential because people ventured outside the home. After a year of sheltering in place, apparel and accessory sales dropped 16.4%. Auto parts took a hit as well (-5.6%) because driving wasn't as essential.

Food and beverages, computers, consumer electronics, and toys and hobby sales all increased as outside activities decreased and home life rose to the top.

It is expected that goods and services will resemble a pre-COVID picture, but with some changes. Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and other big-box stores have seen sales increases while department stores, like Macy's, have dropped. The difference is that the big-box stores were able to adapt to curbside pickup and ecommerce whereas department stores were doubly impacted with no pickup service and reduced sales (lower apparel purchases).

It is a monumental shift, and while it is not clear how everything will align, it will be very interesting to watch.
Roku Hits 51.2M Active Monthly Users In December, Streaming Hours Rise 55%
Streaming media platform Roku has grown its active accounts by 38% at the end of 2020 to 51.2 million - slightly higher than the number of active accounts for competitor Amazon Fire TV.

The DL: As the amount of time people spend in front of the TV screen viewing streaming content continues to grow, Roku now says it reaches 61.8 million people in U.S. TV households (double its reach number of a year ago.) Last month, Roku's competitor, Amazon Fire TV, said it also reached the 50 million monthly active users' level – up from 40 million monthly active users in January of 2020. While the pandemic may have aided in this shift, we predict this trend will continue to hold and which is why we always consider CTV to be an important component of the media puzzle when building out a video campaign. 

HM has direct access to Roku inventory to augment your traditional and digital media buys. Let us know if we can help.
Direct Mail And Digital Buddy Up: How Email Supports 'Tactile Marketing'
Here’s an idea for B2B brands that have been seeing diminishing returns online.

The DL: What is tactile marketing? Imagine you downloaded a piece of content like a video. Once downloaded, the advertiser collects your contact info and then sends you a gift. The gift is the tactile portion, hence tactile marketing. You are surprised at work or home with a package and the advertiser is notified when you sign for the package and follows up by calling you.

Digital and Direct Mail can work together to strengthen communication, engagement, and strengthen relationships. Check out this article for some inventive ways to implement this. Here is to trying new things in 2021!
Around The Town...
Congratulations to Mel Wilson on her promotion to Director of Media Activation! Mel has been with HM for eight years, helping our clients bring their stories to life with her data savvy approach to merging digital and traditional buying. She has a real passion for making good things great, whether at work or at home. We can't wait to see where she takes HM in the next eight years.
Stay safe and healthy everyone!
If you would like to pick our brains on how to navigate the evolving integrated media landscape during this time,
we'd be happy to help.

Hoffmann Murtaugh
 Pittsburgh, PA 15212 (412)741-8618
Hoffmann Murtaugh is an integrated media planning and buying agency based in Pittsburgh, PA with offices in Cleveland, OH and Rochester, NY. Our approach combines media strategy and intelligence with formidable negotiations to deliver smart, efficient, and customized media solutions to our clients.