Fragmented Audiences & Shifting Budgets

Fragmented Audiences & Shifting Budgets. Marketers are questioning whether the era of mainstream reach is truly over. There is a growing recognition that the rules of engagement are changing, with media and audience fragmentation being a major concern for marketers, influencing their budget allocation for 2023. This has resulted in a shift towards investing in interest-based communities, gaming, and creator-led platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube, while legacy social hubs like Facebook and Twitter are experiencing a decrease in investment.

This trend originates from the report:

WARC - The Marketer’s Toolkit 2035

Fragmenting audiences, shifting budgets. Marketers are not convinced the age of mainstream reach is finished – or, at least, not yet. Proof comes from WARC’s 2022 Marketer’s Toolkit poll: when asked if ‘The era of mass marketing is over’, a 48% plurality of interviewees rejected this proposition.

The data, though, indicated there is a broader awareness that the rules of engagement are changing. While inflation/cost-of-living were the biggest source of concern for 2023, mentioned by 37% of the panel, media and audience fragmentation was close behind on 34%. The survey also demonstrated how this concern is now influencing budgets.

When asked about spending for next year, two-thirds of respondents expect investment in targeting interest-based communities to rise. Sixty-three percent said the same for gaming – a space where community is deeply embedded – as did 52% for their outlay on influencers and other social media content. Shifts in audience usage (67%) and audience fragmentation (47%) were cited as the main reasons for decreasing investment in certain digital properties – with creator- led platforms like TikTok, Twitch and YouTube amongst the main beneficiaries of this shift, while legacy social hubs like Facebook and Twitter saw more brands plan to cut back than raise their outlay.