5 Facts Media Executives Need to Know to Reach—and Retain—Audiences in 2022

April 29, 2022 • Written by Allison Ferenci

5 Facts Media Executives Need to Know to Reach—and Retain—Audiences in 2022

The media landscape is undergoing a period of significant transformation, as our digital lives increasingly shape how we access information and entertainment. While video streaming services radically changed how consumers watched shows and movies, the abundance of user-generated content on social channels now offers individuals a constant stream of amusing and educational experiences. Meanwhile, the growing importance of audio on short-form video platforms is forcing record labels to reimagine music promotion. With so many available avenues for reaching audiences, and consumers’ attention a scarce commodity, how can media companies effectively connect with–and keep–fans? 

This task shouldn’t be left up to junior marketers in a silo. Executives need to define the paths their businesses will take to build and maintain loyal fanbases. For key decision-makers in the media and entertainment industry, the current moment presents a unique opportunity to differentiate your brand from your competitors. The rules of the game are evolving, and brands that learn to harness the power of UGC can position themselves as innovators. 

Here are five facts to keep in mind as you execute your 2022 strategy: 

UGC data graphic

1. Gen Z and Millennial consumers spend more time watching user-generated content (UGC) than streaming shows and movies.

A majority (60%) of Gen Z-ers and Millennials devote more time to viewing UGC than TV shows or movies on streaming services, and 40% of all U.S. consumers spend more time watching UGC than content on streaming services (Deloitte). The growing popularity of UGC relative to more traditional entertainment media speaks to audiences’ preference for connecting with content over passive viewing. 

Action Item:

Evaluate what activities and IP have inspired UGC over the past 90 days (and why), and work with your marketing team to build an owned content strategy that caters to your audience’s preferences. 

2. The average person uses five different social media services, and 90% of consumers use at least one social platform (Deloitte). 

Social channels are a staple of consumers’ media diets today, offering users a central hub for news, entertainment, and interpersonal connection. Rather than viewing social platforms as competitors for consumers’ attention, media and entertainment companies can leverage these services’ ubiquitous influence to build fan communities and promote their own offerings. 

Action Item:

Identify upcoming events and brand moments that your marketing team can leverage for hashtag challenges and other community-building initiatives. 

UGC data graphic

3. Entertaining content is brands’ ticket to success on social media.

While most major social platforms, like TikTok and Instagram, thrive off UGC from individuals, consumers are also interested in hearing from brands—but companies need to account for their audiences’ preferences. A Camera IQ survey found that entertainment is one of the top reasons consumers’ engage with social content from brands, with 57% of respondents favoring entertaining posts. Among Gen Z, this figure ticked up to 59%. 

Action Item:

Audit your top-performing owned content to understand what topics and formats resonate most with your audience. Help your marketing team plan new content iterating on those themes—and encourage them not to take themselves too seriously!

4. Social media and gaming are key drivers of music discovery.

Thanks largely to the rise of audio-driven short-form video content, social platforms now play a key role in how consumers find new music, with 67% of users discovering artists on social media (MusicWatch). Video games have also emerged as hubs for music discovery: 50% of US gamers often find new songs or artists while playing games (Deloitte). 

Action Item:

If you work in the music industry, the takeaway here is fairly straightforward: be sure to incorporate social media and other non-traditional channels, such as gaming platforms, in your plans to promote new artists and records. However, other media and entertainment companies should also get creative with content distribution. Using the insight you have into your target audience’s demographic, think about the digital spaces where they spend the most time. Empower your team to reach prospects on platforms they already frequent, but you haven’t tapped into yet.  

AR data graphic

5. Consumers are eager to co-create with brands using AR.

Social AR effects enable brands to tap into the creator economy and engage consumers through collaborative storytelling opportunities. The vast majority (82%) of consumers surveyed by Camera IQ say they would likely engage with an AR experience, and 78% would share a brand’s AR effect with their social networks. Given AR’s profound resonance with social media users, the technology has significant potential to help media brands expand viewership, build fandom, and boost audience retention in the age of UGC. 

Action Item:

Incorporate social AR campaigns into your existing marketing strategy to amplify audience engagement and inspire UGC at scale.

There’s no question that the creator economy has turned the media world upside down. Rather than resisting the rise of UGC, media and entertainment brands should cater to their audiences’ preferences by leveraging co-creation opportunities like social AR. Bolstered by a passionate, active online fan community, brands are sure to meet their 2022 objectives. 

If you’re looking for more data on how social media and the metaverse are impacting consumer preferences, I recommend reading our report The Gateway to the Metaverse: AR Marketing and Consumer Behavior in 2022

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