Coronavirus and the marketing industry: what happens next? Opinion from Ben Jeffries

digital marketing

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Coronavirus is at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment. We’re officially living in the midst of a pandemic, and almost everyone has been affected. Whether you’re self-isolating, working from home, or are anxious about what the future might hold, the chances are that coronavirus has already affected you in some way, shape or form.

We don’t really want to contribute to the negative literature on the topic – of which there is a lot. The facts are pretty bleak, however, in the wake of the crisis it seems that people have been turning to social media for a sense of community.

The million dollar question is how long will all of this go on for and how will it affect the marketing sector? Here, we are taking a deep dive into how coronavirus might affect marketing in the next few weeks and months.

Traditional marketing forms take a hit

While the UK government is yet to call for a nationwide lockdown, as we’ve seen in other countries, the advice to stay inside and limit all unnecessary outings is likely to lead to a notable decrease in out of home ad spend, with brands opting to focus on online, digital ads instead.

TV has also been affected, with many businesses cutting TV ad spend as a precautionary measure. This is so much so that ITV, which acts as a kind of benchmark for the British TV ad market as a whole, estimates that they will see a 10% decrease in revenue due to coronavirus .

This is also on top of the fact that large sporting events and tournaments have already been cancelled, and sponsorship deals have been cut, resulting in a TV ad market that is naturally in a decline.

However, some are predicting otherwise. TV tends to see a spike during times of bad weather or other periods where people are more likely to stay indoors, and thus, some TV executives are predicting huge increases in ad spend as consumers are forced to stay at home.

Online marketing may increase

We’re predicting that there will be a huge increase in digital ad spend over the next few months as consumers will naturally be spending more time online, especially choosing to shop online versus leaving the house. These predictions are supported by research from Dentsu Aegis Network, who found that of 155 clients and client leaders surveyed, 14% said they were moving budget online, from offline media.

Additionally, as people travel less and work from home more, we also expect to see mobile and social opportunities increase. Research by Global Web Index found that we are seeing a huge increase in people checking social media across all age demographics; 27% among Gen Z, 30% among Millennials, 29% among Gen X and 15% among Boomers. This may be not least because people are free from the watchful eye of their manager and are able to check their phones more regularly, but also because 4 in 10 of us are checking the news more frequently!

Social media ad spend is set to increase

Due to increased use of social media, spend across the social platforms is likely to increase.

With more people on their phones, looking for engaging content to keep them busy as they try to tackle the emotional burden of self isolation, social media will become a daily routine that people need to keep them grounded, give them a sense of community and regular updates on the global crises.

It’s therefore thought that social media spending will rise by 22.2% as a result of coronavirus, as consumer-led brands harness the power of social media to engage their audience. We have already seen a huge jump in influencer marketing engagement, with a recent study finding a 76% increase in daily accumulated likes on Instagram #ad posts over the past two weeks.

What content do people need in the midst of coronavirus?

As content creators, providers or facilitators, we have a unique responsibility to be conscious of the content that we publish at this time. Consumers need support from the brands they love, and social media provides a great vehicle to deliver that.

People are turning to their most trusted brands to lead the way and deliver content that shows true consideration for the consumer. At a time when studios may not be accessible for producing branded content, brands should consider working with a vetted network of content creators, in order to ensure that your brand message is creatively translated to your target audience by a trusted partner.

Content centred around mental health and keeping healthy will naturally be of interest to consumers at this time. Equally as important is content that keeps us busy, optimistic and excited about the world as we collectively navigate through this topsy-turvy time.

If you have concerns about where your marketing budget is going, or want to discuss how coronavirus might affect your marketing strategy then get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

Source: Ben Jeffries is chief executive officer of Influencer


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