The year 2020 radically changed communications in society, adjusting the rules of the game in the advertising market as well. Experts of the advertising industry – representatives of the largest media platforms, specialized associations, agencies, and the business community – discussed in detail the processes that took place in the regions of Russia, focusing not on large federal media strategies, but on examples of campaigns from ordinary advertisers from small and medium-sized businesses.


The meeting in the format of an expert session was organized by the communication agency “GlavSovetnik” with the support of the business newspaper “Vedomosti”. The full version of the discussion can be viewed on the official YouTube channel of Vedomosti. Briefly about which channels and promotion models became most effective at the height of the coronavirus, and which remained relevant and turned into trends in 2021, read in the text.


Lilia Glazova, Chairperson of the Association of Public Relations Consulting Companies, spoke about the total growth of media consumption and the study of this phenomenon in 2020.


“An important question that we asked in our study on media consumption: will the need for information consumption ever be met, or is this a new drug that everyone will deal with in their own way? And in fact, while all the results of qualitative research say that it will not come. This is a very interesting trend”.


Boris Molodov, Managing Partner of the “GlavSovetnik” communications agency, noted that the pandemic brought to the Internet those areas of business that were traditionally promoted only offline. However, the future belongs to hybrid promotion formats and multichannel campaigns combining online and offline activity.


“Lockdown showed new communication drivers, and even to a greater extent for small and medium-sized businesses: online promotion tools and interaction with target audience became an opening for many areas that had not previously used such channels. Online tools are of particular importance for regional companies, since with the right approach they are much more budgetary than the usual offline tools, but they are not inferior to them in efficiency. However, offline format does not leave relevant positions, and even vice versa, after the recession of 2020, there is every reason to believe that their popularity will seriously increase. ”
According to Boris Molodov, another trend in the promotion of companies is the growing event market.


“The speed with which the request for online events grew exceeded all our expectations – as a result, in 2020, we tested all possible formats: from creating a video lecture course and conducting seminars to remote press breakfasts, or large-scale conferences with hundreds of participants and dozens of speakers. And, what pleases, with the removal of restrictions, the request does not decrease, and mixed formats appear – online and offline. I am sure that the event industry will see a very rapid growth”.


Yakov Peysakhzon, Deputy Commercial Director for Product Development at Group, also noted that the coronavirus has brought a huge number of new advertisers from offline to the Internet.
“2020 set the trend for flexibility and adaptability. It taught us that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. You have to constantly try new methods. In 2021, people will consume content the same way they did last year. Regional business will be especially developed”, he noted.


Valentin Smolyakov, Executive Director of the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia, noted that during the pandemic, the advertising market continued to decline, which began back in 2019. In the first half of 2020, radio, press and outdoor advertising “sagged” most of all, while in the digital segment the demand for banners fell, but video advertising increased. However, the market is recovering rapidly.


“We will have the figures for the entire 2020 in March of this year. But in general, we see that the fourth quarter was quite positive and the market decline should not exceed double-digit indicators. Most likely it will be something up to 10%”, – says Valentin Smolyakov.


Victor Issers, Deputy General Director of the NAA (National Advertising Alliance) for work with regions, said that in a difficult situation, companies won that were able to adapt to the new reality and quickly adjust their offer. Also, according to the speaker, those who worked with the consumer efficiently and proactively managed to keep the business as well. Using the case studies of several regional advertisers, Victor Issers identified the key trends that helped small and medium-sized businesses grow during the pandemic. According to the expert, the winners were those entrepreneurs who demonstrated availability and efficiency, safety, and the ability to adapt to changes.


Vadim Tereshchuk, CEO of the “Choose Radio” Company Group, also noted the trend for advertising mixes. So, according to him, a regular radio campaign with support in social networks guarantees high-quality growth and the level of audience engagement.


“The use of an audience from social networks allows radio advertisers at the moment to gain significantly more communication than it did in offline. So, I think 2021 will go a lot better for radio. It is good that such moments of synergy are happening together with other media in order to achieve communication efficiency for advertisers”. Another point of growth is the manufacturability and affordability of placement. So, at the end of 2020, a marketplace of airtime on “GetRadio Get” radio was launched, allowing the advertiser to conduct a campaign from a personal account.


According to Boris Peshnyak, Commercial Director of Russ Outdoor, the fall in the outdoor advertising market in the regions of Russia was much lower than in Moscow. Among the trends that have strengthened in 2020, the expert noted the digitalization of outdoor advertising, the development of technological products and products related to the assessment of the effectiveness of sales on static inventory, the use of technologies that support the sale of small and medium-sized businesses.


Gallery Commercial Director Pavel Belyanin also predicts a rapid growth in advertising on digital billboards, including in the regions.


“One of the most interesting questions is how digital advertising will penetrate the regions. Now we are witnessing a drop in prices for installing digital inventory. If 5 years ago, when we were just starting to install digital inventory, the cost of installing one screen started from 5 million rubles, now these figures are several times less: from 1 million rubles, depending on the region. This significantly lowered the threshold for entering the digital outdoor advertising of the regions. If this trend continues, then I think the installation of digital inventory will be of interest to small towns as well”, noted Pavel Belyanin.


Aleksey Voitov, owner of the “Capybara” sushi bar network, shared his personal experience in business promotion. According to him, the mix of online and offline promotion formats allowed his company not only to retain, but also to increase the number of customers.


“In the regions, everyone rushed to the Internet space, and they rushed clumsily, without understanding the target audience, cost per click and everything else. Naturally, we participated in this market, but at one point we realized that that supposedly “dying” outdoor advertising was an element of detachment from competitors. Therefore, in the fall, we directed the budget for outdoor advertising. And it had a great effect. ”
The founder and director of the Brand experience agency “19/84” and the head of AKAR Ural Ekaterina Markova called 2021 “the time of post-media communications”.


“The advertiser understands that to communicate with his audiences, he now often does not need a media intermediary. The point is that brands make their own media and go into direct communication with them: from the telegram channel to social media accounts. To inform about a promotion or a new product release, he solves his media tasks bypassing the media – he uses e-mail newsletters, mobile applications and friendly push notifications to the phone. In this case, advertising agencies need to transform: that is, in addition to the media service, develop creativity, in-house support and communications”.