Cross-Channel Integrated Planning

Ovative Trends and Performance Update: October 2021 

Workforce challenges and wavering consumer confidence mixed with shifts in the digital landscape continue to pressure businesses as the holiday countdown has officially begun. Read on for Ovative’s take on how to stay prepared. 

October Macro Trends  

Evolving Pandemic Implications

  • Despite small improvement in consumer confidence, COVID-19 impacts and a fluctuating labor market are still causing consumers to express low confidence in economic recovery, creating unpredictable demand.¹
  • In addition to dealing with supply chain issues, the restaurant industry is experiencing staffing shortages, forcing dining room closures. This shortage is fueled by 1 in 7 restaurant workers changing industries within the past year in search of higher pay and more stable hours, both of which exist in other sectors.² 
  • With the initial vaccination deadline for millions of federal contractors fast approaching, The White House is allowing flexibility and has extended this deadline to January 4th, likely in the hopes of not exacerbating an already tight workforce.³

Digital Landscape Shifts

  • Facebook has started a new chapter in the digital space. In an effort to rebrand, Facebook has renamed itself Meta and will move forward as two different business segments: one for their family of apps and one for their work on future platforms.4
  • The recently released ‘Facebook Papers’ brought to Congress has started a worldwide conversation about the platform’s enormous impact on society. 
  • On October 4th Facebook and its family of apps experienced an outage, impacting more than 3.5B people around the world.9 Since the outage, there is heightened awareness of the need for contingency plans that utilize diverse media.
  • Apple’s rollout of updated iOS privacy features has negatively impacted the ad business of major players including Google, Snapchat, and Facebook.5 Snapchat and Facebook are placing partial blame for their revenue shortfalls on changes made by Apple, and many brands have shifted ad spend to Google and other partners after seeing weakened ad performance.6   

What Trends Did We Observe Across Ovative Clients Last Month? 

  • Our clients saw demand shift forward as the holiday countdown officially began with early holiday promotions and as low inventory caused concern among consumers.
  • Supply chain issues continued to impact retail clients as well as those in the restaurant industry. Coupled with employment strains brought on by the pandemic, businesses need to find creative solutions to secure inventory and employees not just for the holiday season but for the foreseeable future. Across our client base, clothing retailers are the most impacted by current supply chain position with many citing that factory closures and transit times could cause up to 40% of inventory to be missing for holiday.8

What Trends Did We Observe on Google and Facebook Last Month? 

  • Retailers began pulling back on spend to focus on maximizing return over key November and December periods.
  • Competition began heating up as companies shifted into holiday mode – early gifting messaging began flooding the market, which drove costs up.
  • Conversion rates were down and costs were up across the board YoY. These comps are also impacted by Prime Day, which occurred in October 2020​ where advertisers significantly increased spending.
  • After the October 4th Facebook outage, there is heightened awareness of the need for contingency plans that utilize a mix of media partners.

Ovative Cross Client Insights Data, October 20217

How Can You Turn These Insights Into Action?  

Navigating Evolving Pandemic Implications: While dealing with supply chain challenges, businesses are being forced to make operational decisions to balance labor supply and customer demand. Resilience and flexibility throughout holiday will be important as customer demand continues to outpace the supply of goods and labor. As customers are continually disappointed by low inventory or shipping delays, there is an opportunity for brands to differentiate by providing customers with a positive connection through things like buy online or pick-up in store. For more information on overcoming holiday supply chain challenges, read our Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2021: Edition 6.8

Navigating Shifts in the Digital Landscape: Following iOS privacy updates, popular apps are retaining less customer data as users opt out of tracking, making consumer insights and ad targeting more difficult. Recent decisions made by Facebook could also begin to impact performance and perception of businesses who market via their platforms. Be sure to monitor changes across operating systems and platforms to assess reliance on the affected data and media and take steps to reduce impacts on performance. Utilize these shifts as opportunities to be intentional about leveraging holiday to collect additional first-party data on your customers, as privacy restrictions change and tighten.

Marketers should stay up to date on workforce and digital landscape trends throughout the remainder of 2021 and into the new year, creating contingency plans as changes happen and continuing to watch for updates to the Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 20218 for tips to win this holiday season.

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!


1 | Gallup, Job Market Ratings Set Record, but Economic Confidence Slides, October 2021

2 | CBS News, Here are the jobs Americans want — and don’t want — as the pandemic lingers, October 2021

3 | CNBC, Federal contractors get broad flexibility to enforce Covid vaccine rules for millions of workers, November 2021

4 | BBC, Facebook changes its name to Meta in major rebrand, October 2021

5 | Wall Street Journal, Apple’s Privacy Change Is Hitting Tech and E-Commerce Companies. Here’s Why, October 2021

6 | Wall Street Journal, Google Nearly Doubles Profit Behind Red-Hot Ad Market, October 2021

7 | Ovative Group, Cross Client Insights Data, October 2021

8 | Ovative Group, Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2021 | Edition 6: Overcoming Holiday Supply Chain Challenges

9 | New York Times, Gone in Minutes, Out for Hours, 2021

Audrey Hapka

Sr. Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Audrey is a Senior Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative, where she partners with clients across industries to unlock enterprise growth.

More Cross-Channel Integrated Planning

November Trends & Performance

Ovative Trends and Performance Update: November 2021 

Read on for key learnings from our clients last month, macro trends, and our recommendations for turning these insights... Read More »

Lindsay Karner

Senior Analyst, Consulting

September Trends & Performance

Ovative Trends and Performance Update: September 2021 

Read on for key learnings from our clients last month, macro trends, and our recommendations for turning these insights... Read More »

Lindsay Karner

Senior Analyst, Consulting

Marketer's Guide to Holiday 2021

Marketer's Guide to Holiday 2021 | Edition 1: Playbook

Marked by a global pandemic, an election, and the longest shopping season in history, 2020 was an unprecedented holiday... Read More »

Steve Baxter

Steve Baxter

Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

accent bar