All the focus on the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States has created a visible change in the media landscape. The Watauga team has evaluated clear trends across media types to help you make decisions regarding your advertising spend.

TV Viewership is Rising

A sampling of markets nationwide shows HUT (households using television) levels are already up for the week of 3/9 as compared to the six weeks prior. Atlanta and Jacksonville are up 20%, Omaha 30%, Bismarck 28%.  Orlando remains flat.  Cancellations are incoming and the reduced demand and rise in TV viewership is driving down CPMs.  Now is the time to spend against awareness and brand building campaigns.

We are seeing similar impact in the digital realm.

Inventory is up on news sites and streaming platforms (10-15% inventory increase). News CPMs are declining, likely driven by advertisers blacklisting “coronavirus” and news sites from their campaigns.  Streaming video inventory looks to be up but  CTV-type items like Hulu and Pluto seem to be averaging down as consumers look to other types of programming for updates.

We have seen a 15% reduction in CPMs on active campaigns between the first of February and today.

Impact on Audio and Social 

Audio appears to be the exception as consumers work from home or modify their daily schedules.  Streaming is flat to down slightly based on platform.  One exception, podcasts are gaining slight momentum.

Consumer are using social differently too.  In the last two weeks Pinterest has reported an 8x increase in searches for non-perishable food.  And 5.7X increase in pantry stocking ideas and other organizational terms vs. the same time last year.

What does this mean for your brand?

If your message isn’t a limited time offer, stay the course and take advantage of more people consuming media and lower CPMs.  If you do have a time limited offer, revisit your mix and ensure your spending is toward simple messaging in channels with declining CPMs.

As we navigate this together, we at Watauga Group hope you and your family stay safe. For more information on COVID-19 please refer to the CDC website below.

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