Over the past decade, Triangles has helped hundreds of brands grow their digital campaign ROI with actionable insights.
Trusted, relevant data always underpins these insights, providing guidance to marketers and executives navigating an often volatile advertising ecosystem. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there should be no exception.
We’re at a critical juncture where consumers have increased media consumption and attention, yet are potentially paralyzed with limited mobility, uncertain markets and seemingly daily shifts to what recovery might look like.
How do brands stay top of mind for consumers? What are the relative costs of traffic, engagement, and conversion? Do marketers need to reconsider their advertising spend? What is brand-safe, in this sensitive time?
To inform these decisions, we’ve outlined key data and digital insights with recommendations on how best to tailor your campaigns.
ADJUSTED CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
With mandatory isolation now the norm, it should come as no surprise the percentage of consumers around the world who are spending more time on in-home media (95%), specifically streaming devices (50%) and social media (45%).*
Of the following in-home & media consumption changes, some notable North American insights:
• Watching more news coverage (43%)
• Watching more shows/films on streaming services (42%)
• Spending longer on Social Media (32%)
• Spending more time cooking (31%)
• Spending more time on computer / video games (29%)
Of consumers surveyed globally, over 80% of Gen Z is spending more time on their smartphones. Overall, increased smartphone usage is stronger in urban areas (75% of consumers) with iPhone owners displaying a 10% margin advantage over Samsung owners.
Almost 3 out of 4 consumers expressed interest in live streams of postponed events. Millennials are leading the charge for live-streamed music concerts (50%). In addition, 66% of sports fans are interested in live-streamed sports.
- Consumer behaviour changes brought about by COVID-19 highlight both challenges and opportunities. Certain sectors are severely impeded by the loss of in-person transactions, whilst others can benefit by increased digital attention spans. Natural and obvious factors to consider when considering an ad pull back or scale.
- If in a “slam on the brakes” sector, determine where there are channels and placements which offer positive brand association for top funnel population and mission or cause based messaging. If in an opportune sector, lean into performance channels where direct revenue contribution can be measured.
TRADITIONAL VS. DIGITAL SPENDING
When it comes to advertising spend, Traditional channels have seen more of a decline (43%) than digital channels (38%) during March & April.**
Drilling down, Traditional Out Of Home has taken the biggest hit for March & April (down 45%) with Radio (45%), Print (43%) and Linear TV (41%) close behind. On the other side of the spectrum, downshifts have been realized for Digital Out Of Home (45%), Display (41%) and Audio (40%).
Spend is forecasted to increase through May and June, with a larger bump expected to digital (+25%) versus traditional (+19%). Traditional and digital placements from March and April are expected to scale downwards. However, Digital Display is expected to have a 32% increase in spend during these months.
So far, the most common Q1 & Q2 advertiser responses have been Adjustment (46%) versus an all-out Pause (24%). The majority of buyers (67%) are still making decisions on their spend plans for the second half of this year – it’s worth noting most are optimistic about aligning, albeit not fully, to their original plans.
- The explanation of the marginal differences is likely straightforward. The agility to pivot messaging on digital channels is faster and more flexible than on their Traditional counterparts. Evaluate channels accordingly.
- Programmatic channels also require less lead time; combined with less or no pre-committed spend allows for a more agile planned media mix. A must-have in uncertain times.
When it comes to Targeting adjustments, 20% of brands, media buyers & planners have decreased national geo-targeting with efforts skewing towards mobile & tablet device targeting (34% increase) and OTT & ConnectedTV device targeting via streaming boxes (35%).**
- While adjusting strategy to reach a more captive at-home audience on smartphones is logical for top-funnel growth, we caution against overlooking the mid-funnel as a result.
- Nurturing Desktop targets for re-visits, can ensure a depth of engagement at a time when standing out from the competition might be paramount. With the majority of people Working From Home, an opportunity arises here.
- Observing engagement rates and cost of each device-part, can advise on intelligent allocation, and help maximize your ad spend effectiveness.
38% of survey respondents are leaning towards audience targeting, refining their goals towards the specific versus the broad.
- If reluctant about prospecting new audiences, stick to your core audiences and rely on your first party data for accuracy. Once success metrics are defined, pay attention to your new Engagement and Conversion baselines, gradually iterating and expanding new audience targets.
- Keep in mind, whilst your competition is likely not pausing advertising entirely (depending on your sector), there exist more value opportunities than usual.
Unsurprisingly, brand safe messaging regarding isolation, safety and cause are front and center, with irreverent or direct selling messages being scaled back.
With 49% of marketers holding back campaigns from launching until later in the year, and 34% cancelling them completely*, a brand equity opportunity arises for those who can still play ball during these times.
- Copy, imagery, tone, messaging context all have to be revisited prior to keeping campaigns active or switched back on.
- Personalization does not have to take a backseat during the pandemic. While you might choose to scale back from performance based marketing, mirroring a 45% scale back from advertisers**, retargeting offers an opportunity for deeper engaged digital visitors beyond the first click.
- Measuring digital micro-conversions can inform which interested visitors should be added to remarketing pools to advertise products and services, even if they entered your top funnel via a Covid awareness, mission or cause-related ad click.
Revised revenue forecasts trend downward for all major exchanges – Google and Facebook (both 19% down), Twitter (down 18%) and Snap (down 30%).****
A 30%** decrease in direct buys has been observed already, and programmatic pricing is down by as much as 20% globally.***** This can be markedly higher in sectors where revenue isn’t possible currently, like Travel, Tourism, Entertainment, CPG and Retail.
- For now, scale back on pre-committed placements if avoidable, while adjusting your spending plans.
- Seek opportunities. If spending makes sense in your sector, that is. News publishers are getting higher (Covid info-seeking) traffic but demand from advertisers has waned. This might represent negotiating opportunities.
- Daily spend caps will help test the waters while de-risking unnecessary budget leakage. Monitoring traffic cost changes weekly (daily if possible), is recommended to proactively scale or downshift once trends have been identified.
- Calculate your average Cost per Visitor pre-pandemic to compare your current weekly performance increases or decreases. As always, there’s no better benchmark than your own numbers.
During these unprecedented times, more than ever the Triangles.ai system provides reliable week over week baselines, with the Team working especially hard to synthesize data to provide necessary insights which are actionable.
We understand the importance of timeliness – speed to insight is key in steering through uncharted territory. We have doubled our efforts to optimize active campaigns, to be hyper vigilant on re-allocations that are necessary.
We’re also extra cautious and aware of the sensitivity involved with all Brand messaging, especially on a personalized level. Misinterpreted campaign messaging can be costly to your awareness with target customers, in an especially delicate time as economic, health and political challenges envelop us all.
For a seamless stress-free experience, for both prospective & existing clients, Triangles guarantees the following:
• 1 Business Day Proposal Turnaround Time
• Continued Creative Personalization services to pivot messaging
• 7-10 Day Campaign Launch Dates Upon Sign On (forecasted)
• Awareness Campaign Add Ons
• Responsive Media Spend Shifts & Vigilant Optimization
Lastly, we understand that most marketers are working from home, facing unsure hours and budgets and so, require a heightened focus on service, while they deal with a new paradigm thrust upon them. Our Campaign Teams are agile, understanding and are on hand to accommodate these realities, to adapt and ultimately help lighten the load.
* Global Web Index multi-market study from (March 2020)
** Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Coronavirus Ad Spend Impact buy-side
*** Advertiser Perceptions – Coronavirus Effect on Advertising Report
**** eMarketer – How Will the Coronavirus Change the Facebook and Google Duopoly?
***** Digiday – ‘Everyone wants control’: Traffic soars, but programmatic ad prices drop