As I’m sure you already know, the world is in the midst of a pandemic. The uncertainty is overwhelming and with news changing daily, nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. Not only is most of the country on pause, the marketing economy is as well.
Based on IAB research, 98% of sellers are predicting a significant decrease in US ad sales revenue. Live events are being cancelled; professional sports are being suspended indefinitely, which eventually trickles down into the advertising ecosystem. Covid-19 has driven a significant increase in news consumption and online searches, but digital publications haven’t quite figured out how to capitalize on it. IAB still anticipates that digital advertising will see a decline but not as much compared to TV, print, OOH, and other non-digital ad media.
A survey conducted by Advertiser Perceptions showed that nearly nine out of ten advertisers were asked to adjust their media plans or temporarily suspend spending. The most common action has been to delay a campaign that was due to launch later in the year. Other strategies included shifting budgets, or completely stopping altogether. Media buyers expect the greatest impact will be felt in Q2.
The impacts will be felt across multiple categories. IAB predicts the hardest hit will be travel and tourism, retail (brick and mortar), restaurants, and automotive. The categories that will remain relatively unaffected are news, hobbies and interests, technology and computing, education, and careers.
Although the natural reaction would be to reduce spending on advertising during a time like this, it is important to remember that brands that are proactive and flexible have the best chance to retain their customers. Maintaining a strong presence during challenging times can result in a long-lasting growth in sales, and market share. While most advertisers are willing to wait it out and see what happens in the market before making a decision, the ones that capitalize on the open space and put themselves in front of consumers and offer other options will be rewarded with a distinct advantage compared to their competitors. This could also be an opportunity for advertisers who choose to continue their momentum to seek out added value or special offers from publishers.
It is easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom that is surrounding us and become reactive as opposed to proactive at a time like this. Throughout our storied history, we know that is this an opportune time to adjust your messaging instead of stopping your campaign. Setting the right tone for your message during a crisis will yield a positive impact for both your business and brand. In the end, it’s important to remember that eventually things will return to normal, and whatever that landscape looks like, how you represented yourselves during a time of crisis is what consumers will remember.