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Leveraging the Power of Digital During an Economic Downturn

With the steady decline in the stock market and general uncertainty of what’s to come, many marketers are slowing down their advertising spend. But is this the best option when people are staying home with digital connections taking the place of face-to-face interactions? And as consumer behavior is changing, what effect is this having on performance and programmatic marketing? 48% of advertisers have adjusted media type usage or shifted budget among media types instead of halting advertising spend. Rather than completely cutting advertising budgets, marketers should consider different avenues for reaching their target customers. Just look at the data from 2008: brands that kept their advertising steady and remained strong in 2008 recovered 9x faster during the global financial crisis. 

The pandemic has expedited long-running trends in the industry: CTV viewership is growing, there is an increase in advertising supply, ecommerce purchases are becoming the norm, and consumer habits are changing. How can marketers capitalize on these trends in market dynamics to make their advertising more effective during this downturn? We’ve broken it down for you into a few key areas that we believe can help shift this period from uncertainty to opportunity. 

Supply is growing

According to several of our DSP partners, supply is growing. Inventory availability has increased, which is understandable as some advertisers are slowing their spending given the economic downturn. But for advertisers who still have budgets to spend, this is a golden opportunity to reach your target audience and win bids for more competitive audiences you weren’t able to reach previously. It might also be a good opportunity to test out some new channels that may have been too expensive previously, such as video or CTV.  We expect to see continued growth in supply across the same channels industry experts have predicted will see the most growth, including CTV, mobile web and in-app SOV.  We see growth across all of these channels with video SOV increasing faster than the rest. Also, an increasing portion of mobile in-app is CTV, up by 20% from last month.

Bidding Becomes More Economical

There isn’t as clear a trend as being able to say “platform CPMs are down X%”, which is due to the nature of programmatic auctions in general, with huge variance in what a winning price can be. Unquestionably these metrics are down, but it may be marginal when viewed in aggregate. Rather than focusing on a specific CPM, it’s better to view the increased opportunity and inventory at your disposal as a chance for advertisers to be more economical, more efficient and ultimately drive better performance. If you want to maintain a razor thin win rate of, say 0.7%, you’ll now have the ability to spend more at that criteria than ever before. 

CTV Takes Center Stage

An already fast growing channel, CTV advertising has increased 20% over the past month since the stay-at-home order was first introduced, with consumers now watching more TV on connected devices during all hours of the day. Advertisers are putting a hold on location-based campaigns in favor of “home-based” ones to capture targeted audiences.  

Connected TV ads are an effective way for marketers to reach their target audience during this time. With an increase in reach, growing avails, and a decrease in CPM’s, these highly targeted, unskippable, trackable, brand-safe ads are guaranteed to make an impact. Reach consumers who are already spending an increased amount of time with connected TV devices. 

  • 95% of consumers say they’re spending more time on in-home media
  • Consumers are 2x more likely to increase streaming vs watching live TV
  • +15% viewership on Pluto TV
  • +12% streaming demand reported by Verizon

Shifting Consumer Behaviors

Shifts in behavior patterns, including how consumers shop and consume media, were underway before the onset of COVID-19 and have potential for permanent behavior changes to emerge. Daily consumer behavior is starting to resemble that of the weekend as more individuals are staying at home. Consumers are buying more goods and services online and streaming more content at home. 

  • +210% increase in online grocery ordering according to Forbes
  • +47% of consumers expect to continue buying more online post-crisis
  • Provide up-to-date information about inventory shortages, delivery or service delays.
  • Waive service fees and penalties.
  • Share company guidelines that ensure customer safety and health.
  • Implement additional measures for disinfecting in-store or physical locations owned by a company.

B2B Advertising Goes Digital

To fill the gaps in acquisition and pipeline acceleration that trade show cancellations have left, B2B brands can try some of the following strategies to connect with their audience digitally:

  • Identify the target accounts among your prospects and even clients for upsell opportunities
  • Personalize your messaging so that it speaks specifically to your target account audiences. Target accounts can be grouped by industry, company size, department and region.
  • Invest in multichannel digital campaigns that are delivered to your target accounts with laser-focused orchestration and execution across paid, owned and earned channels.

Strategies for Success

While no one knows with certainty how this is going to play out, here are a few powerful strategies to help your brand maintain visibility. 

  • Maintain or increase performance budgets to capture demand in this period of growth and time of uncertainty
  • Consider setting-up testing frameworks for new empathy-driven messaging and creative for appropriate branding
  • Invest more to capture the online shoppers and drive new customer acquisition for DTC brands 
  • Consumers are watching more TV during the day. Expand OTT/CTV budgets to capture those audiences, and/or increase video ad budgets to ensure you take advantage of this channel’s SOV growth.
  • Retarget linear ad-exposed audiences in mobile and display to drive online conversion.

In lieu of reducing advertising, experts are recommending that marketers shift to a digital-first model. In  the current unstable market, brands need to reposition their campaigns— from out-of-home and in-person activations to channels like CTV, Display, and Mobile (high impact and in app) advertising—to reach home-bound consumers, who are now spending most of their time watching TV, and surfing the internet on their computers, tablets, and phones.

Looking for a proactive partner that can work with you to offer strategic help with your marketing during this period of uncertainty? We’re offering up to 25% matched impressions for new Q2 campaigns and a free creative set to help marketers navigate these uncertain times through the aX Growth Fund. Our team of campaign experts are available to help our partners strategize about how they can reach their audiences to successfully retain, and even grow their customer bases. Contact us to schedule a free media consultation with someone from our team!