Advertising Strategies During the COVID-19 Crisis

You may not have to cancel everything.

By Alissa Ricci, executive director, media and research

Alissa Ricci Headshot - 200 x 200The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm over the last month, and advertisers are feeling the pressure. An impending economic recession and uncertainty about the future leave many wondering if advertising right now even makes sense.

If planned and executed strategically and conscientiously, I believe that brands that continue to market themselves will come out the other side of this crisis stronger and better positioned than their counterparts that are pulling back. If you want to remain top of mind with your target audience, consider these strategies for adjusting your media spend.

Adjust the Media Mix

We are witnessing radical changes in the way consumers are spending time with media. Out-of-home advertising such as billboards or cinema don’t make a lot of sense at present. Streaming video, on the other hand, has seen large increases in consumption (eMarketer). Broadcast and Cable TV may also see a resurgence as consumers desire to stay informed (Kantar). Consider adjusting your media mix for the next two to three months to correspond with new media consumption habits.

Adjust Content Adjacency

Depending on your messaging (which should also be strategically adjusted during this time), consider what programming or content your ads are adjacent to. Is your message more lighthearted and uplifting? Perhaps try running in more entertainment-focused outlets. Are you sharing informative and important information? News media might be a better place for you.

Track Trends

Keep an eye on your media results to see what impact the current climate has on your campaign. Monitor website traffic, conversions and clicks closely and A/B test messaging, where you can, to find what is driving results. Consider adjusting benchmarks you may have previously set that no longer make sense. For example, some of my clients in non-essential industries began the year focused on lead generation. But perhaps we should consider measuring general awareness and engagement during this time when typical consumerism is so drastically changing, and renew focus on lead generation in the second half of the year when things get back to normal.

Negotiate and Communicate

As other brands pull back on their media spend, ad inventory may be more readily available on media vehicles. Media partners may have opportunities to provide you more added value, reduced rates or “fire sale” packages to clients that add placements during this time. Additionally, it may come to bear that media outlets cannot maintain business as usual operations. They may move more content online, pause or reduce print issues, change programming or content mixes. Be sure to communicate through any changes to ensure that your buy stays intact and running efficiently.