Two months in, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on advertising is still being felt. While ad spends have recovered in certain verticals, adjustments are still taking shape with many advertisers hesitant to make bets on which trends will stick when the post-COVID era is upon us.
Last month, we outlined how to manage your advertising spend as the pandemic unfolded. With a month of data to analyze from trusted sources, here’s an updated set of recommendations to help your Q2 media mix adapt to the trends and scenario plan for your campaigns for Q3.
Traditional Media Challenges
Unsurprisingly, traditional advertising has taken the biggest hit during the pandemic. With commuting heavily affected, radio has seen a big drop, with print also feeling the downside.
However, two of the biggest mediums are experiencing heavy decreases with little visibility into when they will recover. Out of Home has been decimated, down 37.6% year over year correlated to foot traffic declining 65-95%. Primarily this is felt in dense areas across the country with placement viewership non-existent at public transit stops, airports and cinemas. Factored in with the stigma of social gathering, advertisers have chosen to pullback heavily.
TV is down 22.8% year over year – with professional sport seasons still in limbo and the Summer Olympics postponed, declining viewership could trend into the fall. Halted production in studios everywhere likely means fresh fall lineup content will also be severely hampered.*
Digital channels have not been exempt from pandemic, but ad spend has seen less of a decline across a spectrum of channels.
– Search advertising is seeing a 15.8% decrease year over year. This is observed to be very vertical dependent with some industries seeing massive drops (eg. Travel) in keyword bid prices, whilst others seeing no impact at all (eg. CPG) .
– Digital video is only down 8% year over year, likely attributed to brands initial pullback only. Currently a premium placement for effective brand lift to drive top of mind awareness amongst consumers.
– Display advertising is seeing the biggest decline, 21.1% year over year. The silver lining is opportunistic and cost-effective buys on desktop and mobile, linked to the spiked availability of inventory.
– Social channels are emerging as a buying opportunity when it comes to Reach goals. A 38% in decrease in cost per click (CPC) in March 2020 underscores this point. This increased 10% in North America in April 2020, with forecasts expecting Facebook & Instagram to remain below $1.00 CPC as May unfolds.**
From a brand standpoint, consumers are tuning out one-size-fits-all cliched Covid commercials, “in these uncertain times”, “together we are stronger” messages and are showing increased engagement and attention for brand focused messages.
As an overall recommendation for the back half of May and end of Q2: Keep things simple and nimble. As price shifts continue to happen, so will consumer behaviour – adapting to these will be key to getting the most from your ad spend.
Referencing our original recommendations at the start of the pandemic:
– Be where your audience is. Media Consumption is up unsurprisingly, with internet and digital video leading the way (331.9 minutes daily, up from 298 a year ago). Mobile is up from 133.8 to 153.5.
– Digital Video offers a strong brand opportunity, if it makes sense for your vertical.
– Pace your media. Avoid pre-committed spends and place daily spend caps to manage campaigns without overcommitting.
– Don’t use every placement. Keep a closer eye on ad performance metrics and reallocate to the most cost-efficient (relative to your goals).
– Messaging wise, only reference COVID if it makes sense for your brand’s offering – else focus on your brand message, while still considering tone.
Triangles continues working hard to deliver service marketers expect, especially now when agility is needed the most. In an especially sensitive period, rest assured we are committed to a heightened vigilance on both your campaign spend and the the tone of messaging needed.
For prospective, new, & existing clients, Triangles guarantees the following for a seamless & stress-free experience:
• 1 Business Day Proposal Turnaround Time
• Continued In-House Creative Services
• 7-10 Day Forecasted Campaign Launch Dates Upon Sign On
• Core Awareness Campaign Add Ons
• Extra Responsive Media Spend Shifts
• Hyper Vigilant Optimization
* eMarketer, April 2020
** Socialbakers Trend Report Q1 2020