Media Buys: When and How to Advertise During COVID-19

Amid COVID-19, advertising strategists have had to rethink their approach to consider the current situation and in turn, their consumers’ general mindset. Here is your guide on how to advertise during the COVID-19 crisis.

The media is listened to more than ever

Not surprisingly, the news media are currently reaching record audiences. According to their data, Radio-Canada’s website recorded 200% more visits than usual, while TVA Nouvelles reached 4 times as many viewers between the ages of 25 and 54. The goal of advertising campaigns has always been to reach the public where they are – and the public is currently at home, entertained or informed, particularly through credible sources of information.

Advertisers are one step ahead of the competition

In the face of the crisis, we note that organizations fall into two categories: those that communicate and those that abstain from communicating. Most of the companies that continue to communicate have judiciously adapted their campaigns to reflect the public’s new concerns. Hotels.com, for example, is now recommending that people stay home. Taking advantage of the vacant space left by competitors can indeed help strengthen a company’s reputation: when asked about this, 86% of respondents in a Harris Interactive/Yankelovich (2001) study said they remember companies that were visible and active during a recession and support them more afterwards.

Advertisers must adapt their campaign objective

Even as the days pass and a sense of normalcy begins to develop, advertisers must remain in sync with the changing needs of their audiences. Lysol has learned this the hard way by continuing to promote its products on TV and social media regardless of the otherwise highly advertised out-of-stock status of its products. Instead, organizations today need to showcase their values and what they do for others in order to demonstrate that they are there for their consumers. Facebook, for example, understood the importance of this when it launched an ad to highlight the human connection that helps us get through a crisis like this.

The success of a campaign is measured differently

The change in measuring campaign success is already noticeable. While economic recovery is inevitable, public expectations may have changed irreversibly. Advertisers will have to adapt to this new reality and possibly change the way they calculate the success of their campaigns.

The new performance indicators will possibly focus on the level of share of voices obtained by competitors compared to the number of clicks generated.

It seems clear that in the coming months, media buying, like all industries, will undergo a paradigm shift that will be difficult to ignore. The companies that will come out of it are the ones that will rely on their humanity, a value that the world absolutely needs during and after COVID-19.


Claudia Ladouceur About the author
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