VAB Has Tips for Marketers on Advertising During Crisis

With the coronavirus crisis cutting into TV ad revenues, the Video Advertising Bureau has released a new report telling marketers how to take advantage of the medium as home-bound viewers boost ratings.

The report urges marketers to rethink their daypart strategy with more people watching daytime TV, re-evaluate what programming they are buying with viewers craving news and altering messaging to highlight the steps brands are taking to keep consumers safe and the contributions companies are making to relief efforts.

“While COVID-19 is a horrible reason for our population to stay at home, we’ve seen scores of marketers rightly rush to connect emotionally with ‘here to help’ messaging, to the scale-atop-of-scale surge of 24/7 viewership, to all forms of premium multiscreen TV content,” said VAB CEO Sean Cunningham. “These marketers see both a mass of information-hungry viewers, as well as the spikes in viewing for comfort-of-favorites distraction. TV and TV-Social is where the populations are all converging in March and April.”

The report notes that time spent watching television is up 17% for all people, and even more for kids (39%) and teens (46%), largely because of school closings.

The increased viewing is happening across all dayparts and has particularly changed the audience for daytime.

“This finding underscores the point that marketers should not deem any daypart ‘off-limits,’” said Danielle DeLauro, executive VP at the VAB. “With every daypart showing increases, now more than ever marketers should be targeting by audience, not daypart. The audience for daytime TV has particularly changed dramatically, now filled with school age kids and younger, working adults”.

The report notes that many marketers are now looking for alternatives to sports. The growth in ratings for news programming has been well documented. The VAB report adds that viewers are also watching more ad supported programming, including movies and instructions and advice programming.

When they do advertise on TV, what should marketers be saying to consumers? The VAB report says that consumers are reacting to authentic, purpose driving campaigns that address issues caused by COVID-19. Messages about no-touch food delivery and car payment relief programs resonate and build long-term brand health.

The VAB said 56% of consumers are pleased to hear brands taking action like making donations of goods and services and 43% say they want messages that are “reassuring from brands I know and trust.”

Industries that have increased TV advertising audiences are storage and freight, auto, beer, wine and liquor, computers and office supply and soaps and cleaners, said the report, citing data from Tatari.

With viewers social-distancing and not getting together with friends, this might also be a good time to take advantage of second-screen engagement as viewers use social media to react to shows they’re watching.

An analysis of Twitter by the VAB found that 66% of trending topics at night were about premium video content, with more than half about ad-supported TV. From March 15 to March 25, 33 TV entertainment shows trended in the top 10 on Twitter.

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.