Is Coronavirus Is Impacting The Advertising Industry?  

COVID-19 spells bad news for most businesses that sell discretionary goods. With a decrease in consumer spending for discretionary goods like clothing and furnishings, companies are forced to cut down advertising budgets as well.

This is a global phenomenon and not only happening in the US. When it comes to non-discretionary items like food, the case is totally different. Brands that are selling non-discretionary goods are advertising more on e-commerce stores like Amazon while those selling discretionary goods have decreased advertisement spending due to drop in sales resulting from a decrease in demand.

Another factor contributing to the decrease in advertisement spending is the postponement or cancellation of major sports events all across the globe. This is a nightmare for TV channels as they are heavily dependent on revenues from advertisements during sports events and live telecasts. As viewership on these channels has gone down, so have their plans to make a big amount from advertisements.

Additionally, live events are at halt due to Coronavirus outbreak as public gatherings are banned all over the world to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. This has compelled elated businesses to advertise elsewhere.

It can’t be said that advertisement has stopped but marketers are struggling to make their campaigns relevant and aligned with the current conditions in order to avoid backlash and to win customers trust and new businesses.

Agencies are figuring out ways to get new businesses with remote pitching. Drastic drop in consumer spending has also affected famous Silicon Valley startups that are known for their exponential growth models. A lot of such companies are struggling to remain alive in consumers’ minds.

This is how Marketers are responding

According to a research, 61% of marketers are modifying their short-term advertisements strategy while only 9% of them are thinking to change it in the long run.

It is difficult to say when the pandemic will be over and life will go back to normal, which is a major reason why many industries have cut down on advertisements, including travel and tourism, apparel, footwear, electronic appliances and furnishings.

On the contrary, many in-demand businesses are increasing advertisement spending online, including food delivery services, video content providers, online news agencies, and some medical stores. They would want to take advantage of and increase their market share.

Most of them have shifted to online advertisement strategies, making it clear that online advertisements are the future. This has also led to an increase in budget allocation for digital marketing as major lifestyle changes are predicted even after the situation gets normalized once this pandemic is over.

Display ads, social media marketing and online video marketing is likely to increase in the short run since  billboards now have less viewership due to the lockdown.

Some business to business (B2Bs) that mostly used to spend budgets on networking events and other offline strategies are also considering increasing spending on online ads to generate leads.

Industries that are increasing online marketing

Healthcare and Online doctors

There is a huge demand for telehealth services post coronavirus outbreak as hospitals and public health workers are suggesting suspected COVID-19 patients to consult doctors online or over the phone. This has created an opportunity for advertisers to digitally market their health services.

Online Streaming 

Due to this stay at home trend people have a lot of time in hand. There has been a record increase in online viewership and subscription of video content providers namely Netflix, HBO, PLEX, YouTube, Hulu, Twitch, and Disney Plus. HBO viewership has increased by  65 to 70 percent, while Amazon’s online “twitch” has grown by 31%.

Hence, the streaming industry is spending a lot of money online due to an increase in demand. Competition among all broadband companies has also increased and hence they are advertising their triple-play packages for TV cable and phone. For example, Spectrum gold package is ideal in such a situation as it offers 200+ channels access including HBO, Cinemax, SHOWTIME, and more.

Spectrum internet users also have access to Spectrum TV stream Service that comes with access to popular channels and also On Demand content.

Video conferencing software

Work from home has been a blessing in disguise for Video conferencing software as companies are shifting toward online meetings to maintain their productivity, which has caused a surge in demand for such apps. Apps like Hangout Meets have experienced a considerable increase in weekly downloads compared to last year. This has also led to increased advertising and digital marketing for these software apps.

Online Delivery Services

Grocery retailers are adapting to selling online amidst this coronavirus outbreak. The change in shopping patterns is forcing retailers to opt for E-commerce and increase their online presence. For this, the role of digital marketers is really important. In the US, the sales have increased by 56% for consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) and are likely to increase in the coming weeks.

Industries that have decreased their online marketing


Travel activities are at halt and tourism is one of the most affected industries post COVID-19. It poses a tough time for advertisers affiliated with the tourism and hospitality sector as the situation is expected to remain the same for the next couple of months.

Offline Entertainment 

Offline entertainment includes cinemas, fun lands, parks, and other social meetup events. It is obvious that such businesses have come to a standstill. The management of these businesses is very well aware of the situation and has hence reduced advertising budgets until the situation gets normal.

Important things you need to be aware of in this Pandemic

It goes without saying that the future is unpredictable. Even if the conditions are back to normal in the near future, it is important to focus on long-term goals and don’t let these growth opportunities fly away. Branding is a long-term deal and if budgets are reduced too much, businesses will be negatively affected once the coronavirus issue is over. Therefore, marketers should consider this as an opportunity to win customers and secure businesses for the future. They can take advantage of the reduction in CPM and CPM, which in some cases have gone down by as much as 47 percent due to a decrease in competition.

Take Away!

Sun is meant to shine after a rainy day. Even at times like these we need to make opportunities for ourselves and our businesses.  Consumers are visiting information websites and news more than ever and the right kind of marketing on these online channels at a lower cost will create long term advantages for marketers.  The economic effect caused by COVID 19 will leave a long-term impact and will change the dynamics of the world in many ways and we have to be ready to adapt accordingly.

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