Mixing it Up: Media Strategy During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed everything: we work where we used to relax, socialize through screens, and experience the outside world through our masks. Advertising strategies are no exception. Yet, change is not a necessarily bad thing. Here are Triad’s tips to maximize your media strategy in a time of unpredictability.

With the disruption of daily routines, consumers are in desperate need of stability. According to a study conducted by MIT, consumers love and need routine. Before COVID-19, established routines were hard to break, and limited companies to the habitual behaviors of their consumers. However, many consumers are building their “new normal” through engaging with different media, providing opportunity for companies to make themselves known across numerous platforms.

See where you fit in your customer’s routine.

1. Know Who You Are.

76% of survey respondents said that they had shopped at a new store or website during COVID-19, mainly due to interest or items being out of stock from other stores. Although COVID-19 has called for consumers to sacrifice their previous routines and adjust relationships with brands, it has also created an opportunity for companies to build new relationships and bolster their image. Maintaining a consistent voice across media channels will create a sense of stability for the displaced consumer and increase brand loyalty among current and new consumers.

2. Be Mobile. And Nimble.

True. Although we also love the beach.

Even as physical locations reopen, consumers will not behave the same as they did prior to COVID-19. The social-distancing limitations may fade, but the habits COVID-19 has established will persist. According to a study conducted by IBM, 40% of consumers said they are likely to use contactless payment options when shopping in the future, and 54% said they would like to work from home in the future. As a result of the growing work-from-home population, online shopping and remote phone calls have become the preferred form of contacting friends, family, and businesses. But, how do you stay in touch in a contactless world? Look to digital.

54% of us would like to continue working from home.

By now, you’re a Zoom pro.

Digital advertising can help companies target their audiences more specifically–and with effect. As COVID-19 has changed the consumer behavioral patterns, consumers are becoming harder to predict as they adapt to shifting circumstances. The transition from lockdown to a new normal will vary from state to state, and previous data about consumer behavior will become less accurate with time. For instance, consumers ages 25-54 increased their television viewing by 114% in New York, while those in Phoenix only increased theirs by 35%. As conditions change, so will the viewing rates and engagement with different media. However, a cross-digital-media approach provides the flexibility to adjust to last-minute changes. You can change creative on the fly and show you’re in tune to what your customer is thinking and feeling in the moment.

If there is one consistent trend during COVID-19, it’s the reliance on the internet. Combining email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, display, and video strategies will increase the chances of reaching your target, and reiterate your brand message through repeated exposure. Pair that with traditional media, and you’ve got a winning combination.

3. Mail your Message to Your Audience.

A digital advertising campaign can effectively reach your audience while they are plugged in. And when they unplug for the day? You want to ensure the conversation continues. That’s where direct mail comes into play. Creating a consistent presence both online and at home is the key to reaching homebound consumers. Now, and as states begin to re-open.

Direct Mail now has an even more captive audience.

Direct mail adds personality to your company beyond the screen. With a highly targeted mailing, you can tailor your message to resonate with those most likely to purchase. Especially during COVID-19, consumers are craving interaction with people – and companies. In fact, website searches for “alone together” grew by 75% since January.

Unlike before COVID-19, consumers are not only waiting to hear from friends, family, and businesses, but wanting to hear from them. We recommend sending direct mail three times over the span of six to seven months. What better time to get your message out there than when people are pacing by the mailbox for incoming Amazon packages?

Triad tip: Each direct mail campaign should hit your audience 3x.

4. Social Distance, But Don’t Distance From Social.

Traditional advertising media are in decline as the result of COVID-19. According to Forbes, newspaper, outdoor, magazine, and cinema are all facing the consequences of life at home. And, while many may expect TV to be the ticket to the consumer, it is not as predictable as it used to be. The gap left by the removal of sports has yet to be filled. In fact, ViacomCBS has experienced a 30% drop in ad revenue, according to Forbes. The good news? Sports aren’t the only opportunity. There are many ways to capture your audience via video marketing.

We can’t wait for sports to come back.

The entertainment appeals used in TV and other traditional media can translate into a successful social and digital media strategy. Among TV viewers, streaming shows through internet-connected devices had the highest increase in engagement across all ages during COVID-19. Consumers over 55 increased their viewing by 100% and consumers ages 12-17 increased theirs by 232%. Consumers ages 12-17 increased their viewership of broadcast by 327%, and those over 55 increased theirs by 34%. Streaming platforms, such as YouTube and Hulu, satisfy the entertainment needs of consumers while also providing a bridge to social and digital media. Unlike broadcast or cable, an ad linked on YouTube can offer immediate clicks to your website. Consider pairing streaming media buys with select broadcast or cable placements, especially those with increases in viewership during COVID-19, such as news outlets.

Check out pre-roll advertising opportunities and streaming media.

The flexibility of social media serves as an effective means of keeping up with the consumer. Right now, we’re all living on social media. So how can you up your social media game?

Twitter conversations about television and COVID-19 have experienced “a staggering 40X increase between January and March amid the peak novelty of the coronavirus pandemic.” Social media, now more than ever, is connecting people to the outside world. Facebook usage has increased by 50% among all users, according to a study conducted by JP Morgan. The increased engagement patterns, easier accessibility, and faster analytics of social media provide companies with a unique opportunity to build relationships and impressions among consumers that will last long beyond COVID-19.

So, COVID-19 has changed everything. But, you can change with it. Adapt with the consumer, get ahead of the crowd, and amplify your voice with these media strategies.

Ready to take a fresh look at your media mix? Triad can help.

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