“In crisis, there is opportunity”

– Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo (Narcos Mexico)




Spending so much time in isolation these days has translated into a lot of Netflix… hence the Narcos Mexico quote.

In the wake of COVID-19’s dire effects, there is a silver lining for brands who have something to say; high supply and low demand have created a buyer’s market.

Staying at home can lead to a 60%+ increase in the amount of content watched, and 75% of consumers are broadening their media options with streaming subscriptions like Netflix. (Source: Nielsen).  The cord-cutting movement towards OTT video viewing is accelerating.

Comparing data across several programmatic platforms we have seen a spike in available ad impressions: 20-33% for desktop, 20-31% for mobile, and 33-40% for Connected TV.  (Sources: The Trade Desk, StackAdapt).

On the flip side, demand is low with many advertisers pausing or scaling back their advertising efforts.  In a real-time bidding environment this translates to lower competition and thus lower CPMs.  As a result, CPMs and CPCs are down 28% from January to February (Source: DV360, Google Ads, Dandelion).

These atypical market conditions have created an opportunity for advertisers to gain share of voice, reach, and ROI with greater efficiency.

Sharing three considerations for advertisers during this crisis:

Shift your efforts to digital – traditional mediums, particularly those impacted by travel restrictions like Out of Home, Print, and Radio are losing audience share.  Digital media consumption is at an all time high.  Now is a great time to test out publishers’ online properties, and to shift to programmatic.

Be efficient – adjust your bidding strategies for programmatic advertising, search, and social.  Take this as an opportunity to do more with less.

Adapt your message – fortune favours the brave.  Connecting with audiences during these times calls for consideration and empathy, and of course a respect for social distancing.  It can mean a softer call to action, informing customers of a shift in services, or joining the conversation head on with a campaign.  With the appropriate tone and a responsible message, addressing and engaging customers during difficult times can elevate a brand and build loyalty.

As marketers we should be prepared to pivot and think of new ways to stay relevant.  There are many predictions and unknowns surrounding COVID-19 and how its effects might shape consumer behavior in the short and long term. Brands that adapt the quickest will emerge the strongest.

In tough times it’s important to find a silver lining.

Stay safe!


Doug St. John