• There is no shortage of speculation about how the coronavirus crisis is affecting marketing and advertising.

    But some new data points are painting a more defined picture, which could help advertisers decide how to adapt their strategies. 

    Amobee is out with data from its brand intelligence platform, based on such sources as social media platforms, its bidstream data, TV viewing data from Inscape and Nielsen household panels, and a non-PII global panel of 50 million users. 

    The company found a 41% boost in online content consumption relating to COVID-19 beginning March 12, leading to a 40% boost in digital content consumption in the U.S. relating to the disease. Amobee said that 55.4% of all online content engagement currently relates to COVID-19 stories.

    Adjust campaigns to ‘breaking news’

    With the obvious decline in online ad inventory for live sports or live entertainment, Amobee VP of Analytics Services Max Knight told RampUp via email, his firm is seeing “an overall increase of ad inventory for all [other] forms of video,” whether through linear TV, connected TV, or online video.

    This “should more than compensate for any ratings losses,” he added, “given the volume of people staying home for social distancing.”

    As more and more people stay home, he said, “advertisers should take advantage of these swelling [connected TV] and premium video audiences to drive reach and online action.”

    Additionally, he advised, “marketers should look to work with partners that can help them adjust their campaigns in real-time to breaking news and [content that helps] consumers adjust to changes in their lives.”

    He added that, on web sites in such verticals as business and travel, there is a 10 percent increase in ad opportunities related to increased user engagement for COVID-19 content.

    ‘Biggest podcast listening weekend’

    Consumer insights platform DISQO released a study this week that showed coronavirus-related browsing activity ramped up in January, fell slightly and plateaued for much of February, and then spiked in late February when global cases hit 10,000. Visits to sites with COVID-19 content jumped up 23.5% at that point.

    Page view activity boomed 240% on February 27, when the White House held a press conference and the Dow dropped more than 1,200 points. Additionally, there have been huge boosts in searches for common, stockpile-able grocery items, like soup, water, and pasta.

    Podcast network Acast, which handles 10,000 shows globally, reported that the weekend of March 21-22 was the “biggest podcast listening weekend” it has seen.

    Listens were up 7% globally, representing an increase of more than 750,000 over the previous weekend. In the U.S., the increase was 10% weekend over weekend.

    Over 1,400 podcast episodes on the Acast network now have “corona” or “COVID” in the episode title, and they were downloaded more than 27.5 million times globally. Listens to podcasts in the sport and recreation category were down 2% globally over the past weekend, while those in the business genre rose 7%—an indication of economic uncertainty. There were also massive increases in other categories that could distract from the somber news: a 21% bump in arts, 69% in music, and 28% in food and drink.

    ‘Dramatic lifestyle changes’

    Amobee also saw a similar bump in anti-COVID content. Newsletters with themes of “arts & entertainment,” “style & fashion,” and “shopping” are now performing better than previously.

    In a weekly tracking study of 200 Americans, brand consultancy and creative agency Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) found what it described as “dramatic lifestyle changes” happening. Consumers stocking up on food increased by 26%, with half now saying they are purchasing more shelf-stable or frozen foods. The latter is a 28% change from the previous week.

    There’s also a 21% increase in consumers who say they are paying less attention to price, and those ordering online or for meal delivery rose 13% over the previous week. 67% of respondents in the last week said they had made changes to travel plans, compared to 65% who said the previous week that they had not made changes.

     And the percentage who say they are staying home more often is now at 77% of respondents, up an astonishing 51% over the previous week. Nearly 90% say they are experiencing disruptions or cancellations at school, work, or other organizations.

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