How to Navigate Advertising in a COVID-19 World

It’s a concerning time for all of us right now and we are first and foremost focused on our clients’ health as we navigate this quarantine-centered world. We know that a large contributor to staying healthy is tied to job security as a result of success for businesses around the globe. While the current environment may seem discouraging, our team has been working diligently to monitor industry trends in order to be a resource throughout these trying times.  

In just a few short months, we’ve seen businesses around the world struggle to navigate what COVID-19 means for their financial well-being. This has resulted in rapid adjustment in business strategies, which often impacts advertising efforts. Here are a few advertising strategies and tactics that have emerged in response to the current crisis that might work for your business:

Tip 1: Shift Advertising Dollars to Digital Channels

With so many of us staying at home, digital advertising has seen a large uptick. A recent report from Xandr even notes they’ve seen a 25% increase in Connected TV (CTV) ad requests and a 22% increase in outstream video requests. Meanwhile, when comparing website traffic to a similar week in 2019, news publishers have seen the following increases in their website traffic according to an AdExchanger piece

  • The Atlantic = 170%
  • NBC News = 78% 
  • The Wall Street Journal = 71%
  • The New York Times = 66%
  • Los Angeles Times = 61%

It’s also likely these numbers have increased since these statistics were released. 

What these examples highlight, are a strong push towards digital services, so adjusting your advertising strategy to areas like CTV, OTT, and display in the midst of that demand could put your advertising dollars to better use. Just take it from Chrissy Teigen and Quibi’s billboard dilemma.

Tip 2: High Demand Industries Should Increase Ad Budgets

With this crisis comes a high-demand for medical staff, first responders, and many other service-oriented jobs. If your brand in any way shape or form supports these groups, now is a time that your business could strengthen its platform for them. For example, with such a high demand for medical staff, medical programs should be investing in advertising strategies to attract more talent.

Another example of this could be the armed forces – an area of work that is always looking to recruit more. With these personnel in high demand and members in the reserves being called to help manage COVID-19, there is opportunity to advance recruiting efforts through advertising. 

Tip 3: Adjust Your Message 

We know this is easier said than done. Creative that may have taken months to strategize around and create is now being flipped on its head completely. But changing your message could be even more crucial than ever and can mean a variety of things based on your business.

For example, we’ve seen brands like Guinness and MTV shift to the “Stay At Home” messaging. Not only is this more relevant than ever to try and curb the number of infections, but consumers also notice brands that are trying to make a difference in their wellbeing. 

In the same vein, brands like McDonalds, Audi, and Volkswagen have created socially distant-themed logos: 

Photo courtesy of CNN Business

Listening to your customers is more important than ever right now. Adjusting your advertising message to what they want and, more importantly, need is what will make your brand stand out among the rest. Our advertising approach allows you to capture the voice of the customer in real-time through engaging experiences, like surveys, so that you get direct feedback from your audience and use it to make better informed advertising decisions.

We know these are unprecedented times, but we’re here to help you through it, with the utmost understanding. Something we’ve been working closely with our clients on is sharing how brands have adjusted their advertising strategy, and brainstorming what could work best for their particular industry in these times. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be sharing similarly themed blogs, so keep an eye out for the continuation of this series. 

We want to help ease the strain this may be causing you, so if you have any questions around the subject, feel free to reach out to us at

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