Talon’s market leading OOH Data Management Platform – Ada – reveals key audience shifts across city centre behaviours pre and post-pandemic

Audience behaviour and lifestyle changes over the past couple of years have been unpredictable. As new routines and behaviours have been established, independent Out-of-Home (OOH) agency, Talon, has created valuable insights to identify how city centre audiences have adapted and returned to a new way of living and working.

Urban Audience Dynamics Post-Pandemic: Talon’s Insights Unveiled

To understand how much these behaviours have shifted between different consumer groups, research was conducted using Ada, Talon’s expert audience DMP which delivers behavioural audience intelligence. Insights from this research offer advertisers the ability to conduct smart audience-first planning, which is vital in a fast-moving, uncertain climate.

The research, in collaboration with Maximus, reviewed audience behaviours in the centre of both London and Manchester pre pandemic (Jan-Feb 2020), during the pandemic (Jan-March 2021) and post-pandemic (Jan-March 2022). The results identified the differences in behaviours and how these have shifted across five desirable audiences, offering key insights for advertisers:

Trendsetters: Overall, lively neighbourhoods in London such as Hackney, Dalston, Shoreditch and Peckham have seen a 28% increase in audience visits pre to post pandemic. However, in Manchester, this audience are continuing to spend more time in residential areas suggesting London Trendsetters have returned more quickly to city centre shopping hotspots and entertainment venues.

Convenience Seekers: Now spending substantially more of their time in residential areas so brands should consider more localised messaging. Analysis shows a marked decline in city centre visits between 2020-22 of -78% in Manchester and -42% in London, indicating a sustained shift in this audience’s behaviour.

Health & Fitness Fanatics: This group are consistently avoiding city centre journeys as visits have declined by over 1/3 in both Manchester and London. Post-pandemic decisions and movements are based more locally, and they are opting for nearby gyms or local markets rather than travelling to city centres or larger public parks.

Luxury Lifestyle: Despite this audience visiting city centres more frequently during the pandemic, they have now declined by just over 60% vs 2020. This data indicates the evolving lifestyles amongst this affluent audience making the most of the emergence of hybrid working cultures.

Work Hard Play Hard: The data shows that this group remains active in city centres, with a marginal decrease in city centre visits compared to other audiences. In 2022, Manchester city-centre impressions are still +150% stronger than residential impressions reflecting a desire to get back to the office and reignite socialising.

Key Takeaways

This research has underlined several key learnings for advertisers and the industry:

Firstly, there has been a vast shift in behaviour and movements between different key audiences pre, during and post pandemic. The pandemic introduced a period of volatility in audience movements and behaviour, and we have seen how its legacy has continued to influence consumer behaviour and lifestyles.

The data has demonstrated that shifts have occurred not only at an audience level but also regionally, with London seeing a quicker return in city centre impressions to pre pandemic levels, while in Manchester residential areas have remained stronger post pandemic.

These insights have substantial implications on advertisers and the ways we approach planning. Crucially, it has demonstrated that there is not one off-the-shelf strategy when taking an audience first approach. Post-pandemic, audiences are more divergent than ever, and each group of consumers and their behaviours must be approached individually in order to effectively target, reach and influence them.

Luke Willbourn, Chief Client Officer, Talon, says of the research: “Moving from the pandemic into further economic uncertainty has had a seismic impact on consumer behaviour. This research is a great example of the shift in local neighbourhoods and indicates that these crises have manifested in different ways across different consumer groups. What is clear from our research is that advertisers’ need to consider these emerging and varied behaviours when planning in order to run effective campaigns which truly capture the attention of the desired audience.

“Talon’s Ada technology delivers this critical insight. Through the data which the platform provides, campaigns can be tailored in accordance to audience insights, keeping our industry at the forefront of the new normal.”