33% of Local Ad Buyers See Pandemic Impacting 2021

Local and regional media planners and buyers said not only has the COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on their 2020 plans, but 33% are already certain it will affect their 2021 plans as well, according to a new survey by Comcast Advertising.

Asked what changes they might look to make next year, 30% said they will look for new opportunities for advertising efficiencies, 25% said they would explore new channels, 20% said they would explore new ways to use data and 15 said they would change their approach to targeting.

The Coronavirus is already having a big impact this year. In the survey 65% of the buyers said the pandemic would have a large impact on their 2020 advertising plans, with another 29% saying there would be some impact.

That said, 93% of the buyers said they felt it was important to keep advertising during this time, though they noted it was only possible if dollars are available. To stay relevant, 67% said their clients are already incorporating COVID-19 messaging into their advertising and 14% said they might in the future.

Buyers said they were looking at advanced media solutions, including using programmatic buying and putting some of their video budget towards video on demand, over-the-top, addressable or targeted linear. The share of buyers who have allocated budget toward advanced advertising has grown to 91% from 79% in a similar study last October.

“The events of the past few months have posed a challenge to many agency buyers, especially those who buy on behalf of local and regional businesses,” said Maria Weaver, chief marketing officer, Comcast Advertising. “Our study revealed that these buyers are impacted, but they’re not sitting still. In many cases, they are finding ways to be more efficient with their dollars through the use of data, targeting, and automation.”

Comcast Advertising’s study was based on an April survey of 194 users of its Strata platform.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.