Most Advertisers Have Held Back Media Spending: Survey

As the Coronavirus crisis deepened more advertisers have canceled campaigns or held back media spending, according to a new report by Advertiser Perceptions.

Advertisers Perceptions, which is doing surveys every two weeks to gauge how brands are reacting to the situation, said that in its latest survey, 44% of respondents aid they canceled a campaign before it launched, up 31% from the earlier survey.

It also found that 64% have held back media spending, up 31%.

At the same time, 24% of advertisers said they have launched a new campaign to respond to the crisis.

Advertisers said the COVID-19 situation would have a longer, deeper, impact than in the earlier survey, with its effects reaching into the first quarter of 2021. Nearly three-quarter (72%) said they expected to spend less on advertising in 2021.

A big issue for advertisers is the availability of content to advertise in and their ability to produce appropriate messages because of social distancing.

In the past two weeks, 68% of advertisers said they have increased the amount of ad dollars they’re allocating to lifestyle content, while just 26% increased allocation to sports, down 20%.

Despite live sports being canceled 72% of advertisers said they are keeping media budgets with the same media brands. They said that was because media companies have been tremendously flexible in rescheduling campaigns and helping to come up with ways to make up for lost viewership. In the survey, 82% of advertisers praised media for being good, flexible partners.

“The crisis creates a fundamental opportunity for media brands,” said Justin Fromm, executive VP business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions. “Advertisers need to make changes that aren’t seen as self-serving, so the attention and expertise of reps is paramount. That reopens the door to consultative selling – from what matters to media audiences to more relevant content and activation.”

Advertisers are prioritizing media they use to build brands and the ones that perform the best. brand building. For new campaigns they’re using social media, digital video, cable, and OTT/CTV. Brands that reallocating existing budgets are favoring broadcast TV, ecommerce and search.

“It’s hard to tell a brand story in many performance channels, and advertisers often lack pre-made assets appropriate for different channels, so we’re seeing a bifurcation in media,” said Fromm. “On one hand, finance demands performance, so advertisers are moving money into social and search. On the other hand, advertisers need to resonate, so they’re also focusing on brand and purpose messaging appropriate for the moment and allocating to digital video, linear cable and OTT.”

Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 152 advertisers from April 1 to April 4 for the second wave of its Coronavirus report, with 36% of the respondents working for marketers and 64% agency executives.

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.