The State of the market

New Data To Save You From Ad Failure During Coronavirus

Times are changing rapidly, and the ad trends we were seeing even 60 days ago have shifted. To help get your ads dialed-in with this new market, we’ve compiled the data you need to inform not only what ads you should run, but where they should be placed. 


Ad Messaging

You may have noticed, we’re not really the “beat around the bush” type. We recommend addressing this pandemic head-on with positive, honest messaging that acknowledges what our society is collectively facing. We’re not alone in that idea, and research suggests it will be well received. A study published in mid-March from
Ace Metrix showed that 86% of US ad viewers were open to brands mentioning COVID-19 in their ads. 44% of ad viewers in the study said that how COVID-19 was mentioned should change based on the ad message or the brand.

We’re at the point in the pandemic where even if your business practices aren’t directly affected by COVID-19, it’s time to start talking about it. To make that a little less intimidating, we put together The Golden Rules of Copywriting During Coronavirus to help you navigate what to say and how to say it.

You need to be mindful about how you approach COVID-19 as a brand. As with other emotional or mission-based advertising tactics, companies can still get COVID-19 messaging wrong. Brands perceived as trying to capitalize on the situation or not taking it seriously may face backlash. In one Kantar study, 75% of respondents said that brands “should not exploit [the] coronavirus situation to promote the brand,” and 40% said they “should avoid humorous tones.”


Ad Placement

For companies advertising during the pandemic, many have concerns about their ads appearing in conjunction with coronavirus-related content. No one wants to be associated with the damage inflicted by this pandemic. While those fears are relatable, they may be unwarranted. In a March 2020 survey by Integral Ad Science (IAS), 78% of US internet users said their view of a brand whose ad was adjacent to coronavirus coverage would be unchanged as opposed to just 16% who said they would have a less favorable opinion of that brand.

A bulk of both personal and professional interactions have moved online as many find themselves facing extended social distancing in their homes. During a March 2020 survey of social media users in the United States by Statista, 43.1% of respondents stated that if confined to their homes during the coronavirus, they would use Instagram more during that period. YouTube and Facebook were also popular social platforms that users were estimating to engage with more frequently during physical distancing at home.

While digital users were correct in assuming their increased usage of social media, the New York Times reports that mobile usage has started to decline for the first time since the inception of the iPhone. With more Americans stuck at home near their computers, many are opting for engaging with these platforms on a larger screen. Optimizing your ads for desktop viewing is one way to stay ahead of ad trends during COVID-19.  

New Communities

The New York Times also reports that
TikTok, the mobile app filled with short clips of pranks, challenges, and lip-syncing, has held steady in its meteoric rise to popularity that started before the coronavirus outbreak. The depth and involvement of the videos that are going viral on the app right now are telling of how much time people seem to have on their hands. This is a fantastic venue to wade into for the unprecedented possibility of organic reach.

There has also been a shift towards local commerce and community as we face being relegated to our immediate physical context. Google reports a serious shift towards the prioritization of local keyword searches and we’re also seeing a renewed interest in Nextdoor, the social media site focused on connecting local neighborhoods. Nextdoor has reported an 80% increase in usage over the last few weeks. If your business doesn’t have a presence on this platform, now is the time to jump in. 

We’ll continue to keep you up to date on market trends and ad avenues that open up as we navigate this season. If you’re moving your business into a digital space and need help with ads, get in touch with us. We’re digital natives, social media marketing experts, and most importantly – always happy to help.