Accumulated Covid-19 Impact on Media Spend Reported while Secondary News Crisis Explodes on the Scene

While discussions accelerate around re-opening the economy and we speculate on how the next few months will look, IAB Canada continues to track the impact Covid-19 is having on our industry. Wave-4 is our fourth quick snapshot, based on the newest, just-completed 3-minute survey of IAB Canada agency and marketer members.

Once again the sample predominantly consists of agencies, which are reporting an accumulation of negative spending impacts as the COVID-19 crisis wears on as well as a prognosis of a longer road to full recovery. Following are some additional highlights noted during this week’s Community Uninterrupted presentation this week:

  • Cash flow and consumer trends lead the list of factors impacting digital spends in Canada.
  • Almost 8 in 10 of respondents again advise that client digital spends are negatively affected.
  • Outright cancelations are infrequent but reports of reduced spend have risen since our last wave.
  • Programmatic Display is the most negatively impacted ad format, Audio and Paid Search the least.
  • Travel tops the ad categories seeing more spend reductions, while some spending growth is cited for Pharma.
  • eCommerce enabled brands are less affected by Covid-19.
  • CPMs and CPCs are down in this lower spending environment, translating into lower campaign costs.
  • Digital spending levels are still reviewed frequently, primarily weekly as daily reviews are less common now.
  • A large majority of respondents cite the use of modified creative that is more sensitive to the consumer as a result of Covid-19
  • Over seven in ten still anticipate more reduced spends and expectations for a full recovery are now pushed out to 2021.

We had an important discussion this week about a new line item in our reporting which suggest that one-in-five report blacklisting ads in ‘hard news’ content due to Covid-19. As conflicts escalate in the US, and to a lesser degree in Canada, we will inevitably continue to see news impression levels soar. Additionally, we are heading full steam into a US election cycle which will only intensify this consumption. Last week’s comScore media consumption report revealed a leveling off of news media but noted that it was leveling at the highest levels we have seen in a long time.

Advertisers will now need to navigate a secondary current crisis that is affecting North America. With an unprecedented volume of eyes on the news, it will become critical to make the right decisions on whether to back away from what is being reported or to double down on presence in the right ways for this moment in history.

Click on this link to download the whole report.