Coronavirus impact on advertising worldwide - statistics & facts

Affecting nearly all industries, the coronavirus pandemic has also had a major impact on the marketing industry as well as on global advertising. The COVID-19 disease, which reportedly emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan rapidly spread all over the world in early 2020 and continues to impact nearly all aspects of life. In attempts to contain the spread of the virus, countries started to implement measures such as social distancing, work from home, or total lockdowns. This led to a significant change in how or when consumers are exposed to advertising and therefore to reduced media spending. All regions worldwide saw a decrease in media budgets in 2020, for example by 46 percent in the LATAM region. However, the pandemic especially showed its effect in the first half of 2020, with the average allocated money being cut drastically.

Due to these changes, marketers had to adjust their plans, targets, and strategies to be able to tackle budget cuts and altered media consumption. While many marketers decided to delay or review campaigns other marketing professionals reacted quickly to the pandemic and published campaigns in direct response to the coronavirus outbreak. A study found that as early as April 2020, 68 percent of surveyed marketers said that they already had a campaign live in direct response to the pandemic, while a further eight percent had campaigns about to go live. Additionally, faced with stark declines in media expenditures, marketers had to open up to new avenues and started taking different actions to counter the effects of the coronavirus. According to survey data, in the first six months of 2020, 29 percent said they explored new channels for new businesses and another 29 percent offered new services to clients, while 17 percent even ventured into new industries.

This change in marketing strategies is also a reaction to indications of what consumers wish for in advertising during the crisis. A study from March 2020, revealed that consumers are willing to see updates from brands on COVID-19. A large share of survey participants from various countries, for example, 89 percent in China or 78 percent in Brazil, stated that hearing from a company about what they were doing in response to the pandemic was reassuring them rather than contributing to their anxiety. Another study from the first half of 2020 also saw an increased openness to engage with ads on social media during the pandemic. This suggests that consumers want to see brand engagement in times of crisis, but it is also important to pick the right medium for such communication.

As of yet, it is hard to predict what long-term effects the pandemic will have on the marketing and advertising industry, or indeed nearly every industry. So far estimates for global ad spending in 2020 had to be revised from originally 712 billion U.S. dollars to approximately 691 billion U.S. dollars. However, preliminary predictions claim that the advertising spending will start bouncing back in 2021, once the coronavirus has lost its effect and the industry adapts to the new normal.

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Coronavirus: impact on the advertising and marketing industry worldwide

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