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BizReport : Advertising : April 17, 2020

Brands: How to adapt strategy in midst of COVID-19

According to new data out from Amobee there has been a 40% increase in the consumption of content related to COVID-19 during the wake of the pandemic. In addition, researchers are seeing a 10% increase in advertising opportunities, and an increase in video ad impressions. The key, of course, is to have the right strategy in place to engage. Here's how to do it.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: We're seeing a lot of frustration from the consumer side, in response to brands' emails/marketing regarding the outbreak, with many voicing frustration that they want to know how businesses will treat their employees and not how clean their stores/restaurants are. What should brands be doing in regards to the social media outcry for more information?
Ryanne Laredo, Chief Customer Officer, Amobee: It's important for businesses to keep their customers informed and educated during these unprecedented times. Brands should be open and transparent about what they're doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they're supporting their employees and clients. 
Brands should utilize their resources to educate on the facts, share relevant information from the CDC and WHO -- and even get involved in consortiums or groups coming together and using their abilities for good. Additionally, we've seen some brands using their dollars to positively support journalism, as data-driven news is increasingly important for consumers right now.  Partners of ours, consumer facing and B2B brands, are refocusing their messaging on information sharing both about their response and in coordination with the CDC, WHO. Additionally, we are seeing fundraising being done for first responders & essential workers by companies who do not have operations that are open during this time. 
For all advertisers and their partners it is top of mind that the internet, and media in general, is a necessary tool for sharing information in times like these. Advertising powers much of this media and it is important to continue to support the ecosystem that provides essential access to news and information. Overall, it's time for brands to put aside their business goals and prioritize their corporate social responsibility. 
Kristina: There has been a spike in searches and content consumption surrounding COVID-19/Coronavirus. What do brands and marketers need to know about this quick change in consumer habits?
Ryanne: Amobee data centers are seeing approximately 10 percent more ad opportunities week-over-week globally. COVID-19-related news has driven content creation, and we have seen the corresponding digital content consumption increase by 40 percent in the U.S. Other sources report, for example, that in Italy two weeks ago, the pandemic and resulting social distancing has resulted in a 70 percent increase in web traffic overall.
While travel, automotive, brick-and-mortar will face many challenges driving revenue and foot traffic during this time, it's important for marketers to remember that these audiences aren't going away -- they're simply going somewhere else and changing their priorities and considerations during this time. So instead of giving into the knee-jerk reaction of pulling budgets, consider updating your messaging and targeting strategy instead to incorporate corporate values and drive brand awareness. 
Kristina: How can marketers adapt or adjust their strategy in response to these changes?
Ryanne: This is a new and unprecedented situation for all of us, so it's important to reevaluate your strategy continuously as things are changing each and every day. At first, we were seeing many brands pull budgets away from any COVID-19 content as the initial reaction was that any coronavirus-related pages would be met with negative sentiment. Now, we're seeing brands adapt and change their strategies. Instead of thinking about changing their budgets -- they're thinking about changing their messaging. 
For example, automotive brands are adjusting their creative away from sales to social responsibility and brand purpose. While many dealerships are closed and more people stay at home, advertising that drives foot traffic or purchases is unlikely to be successful at a time like this. Instead, we're seeing auto brands across the board implement a significant messaging shift toward community and social values. 
As restaurants close down and only offer takeout or delivery, we're seeing a massive increase in people utilizing food delivery services. As such, these services are indexing very high within the subset of COVID-19 content. However, they're not just leveraging the spike in customers to advertise their services and options; instead; we're seeing these brands put out messaging surrounding food safety and other coronavirus-sensitive content. There's a way to tastefully and respectfully advertise during a global pandemic -- and these brands are getting it right.

Tags: advertising, advertising strategy, Amobee, content marketing, COVID-19, ecommerce, email marketing, mobile marketing, social marketing

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