How Much Will Buyers Cut Back on Media Spending?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Estimating how much your clients plan to cut back on media spending is a continuing challenge as the COVID-​19 crisis drags on. The IAB has just released new data in its Coronoavirus Ad Spend Impact report that sheds some light on what you can expect. The survey was based on responses from 294 buy-​side media professionals.

In a mid-​March survey, advertisers expected to either adjust or pause digital spending by 33% for the March to June time frame. A survey conducted between April 15 and April 21 now shows that digital media may only take a 29% hit between March and June. For traditional media, the situation is far more serious. Advertisers originally estimated adjusting or pausing spending by 39% for the period between March and June. Now, that figure is estimated to be more like 44% based on the April 15 to 21 survey data.

Advertisers recognize that the messaging they previously had lined up for 2020 won’t work in many cases. Between the first and second survey periods, IAB analysts found that the percentage of businesses planning to change their messaging to mission or cause-​related increased from 41% to 53%. For 60% of marketers, the new creative messages will refer specifically to the crisis. Media sellers can expect that buyers will continue this behavior at least until June.

Impact on News Buyers

Some of your clients typically buy media space that’s adjacent to news reports. After all, they reason, they’ll get consumer attention that way. However, the mindset seems a little different about news related to COVID-​19. Between now and June, we can expect 49% of regular news-​buying marketers to cancel or pause their ads. Only 33% of non-​news buyers said the same.

About half (54%) of news buyers who opt for display ads don’t plan to make changes. And 24% plan to increase buying in this format, at least through June. About 18% are engaging in blacklisting to make sure their ads don’t pop up on these sites. The data is nearly identical for news buyers and search ad spending. However, at least 20% are currently blacklisting. 

Impact on Sports Buyers

In this survey, about 45% of respondents reported having budget for sport-​related media buys this year. On average, these folks had allocated about 25% of funds for this sector. The fate of live sports programming through the end of the calendar year is very much up in the air. At least 43% of sports ad budgets will be diverted. Here’s where these buyers will be spending their ad money from now until December.

  • Other genres 49%
  • Budget will be unused 43%
  • 2021 sports 24%
  • e‑Sports 11%

A significant portion of the sports-​related budgets will shift to Q3 (23%) and Q4 (33%).

Will Your Clients Cut Back on Media Spending?

We already know the ad industry struggled in Q1 and will face challenges in Q2. While you're clients have trimmed their budgets, many will buy advertising, especially the cause-​related kind. They also expect flexibility and believe they’ll find it in digital formats like social media and search. Help them plan for the future by staying up-​to-​date on the latest developments and talk with them about the latest Media Sales Opportunities you’ve found in AdMall from SalesFuel.