How COVID-19 has impacted media plans

If you’ve kept tabs on advertising statistics over the last month, you already know that media buyers have decreased ad spend across the board. What you might not know is how many are responding strategically rather than stopping campaigns, and how media buyers are aligning to client goals.

We ran a survey of media buyers that use BriefBid platform. It answers the above questions, plus reveals some big potential opportunities around at least two under-used ad formats.

Let’s take a look.

COVID-19’s Impact on 2020 Media Plans

It should come as no surprise: about every 3 out of 4 media buyers have either paused campaigns until further notice, decreased ad spend or both:

How is COVID-19 impacting your 2020 media planning? (%)

What might be more interesting to note is that a lot of marketers pivot and continue to advertise on reduced budgets. Half of the media buyers surveyed are implementing new in-market tactics, and/or are adjusting to different media channels.

How Advertisers Are Interpreting Client Expectations

Our survey asked media buyers how clients hold them accountable, as well as how they evaluate new media partners.

Unsurprisingly, clients are almost unanimously looking for performance — 97% of media buyers say that’s how they’re being measured. Only 31% are held accountable for brand safety.

What is the biggest thing your clients hold you accountable for when executing media campaigns? (%)

If almost all media buyers are being held accountable for performance, then it should factor heavily into their consideration of media partners

But when asked “what are the top 3 things you look for when evaluating a media partner?”, the responses varied widely:

What are the top 3 things you look for when evaluating a new media partner? (%)

We can group these responses into three broad cohorts to help us think about how media buyers evaluate new media partners: performance factors, communication, and reliability.

  1. Performance Factors
    These are the make-or-break considerations that more than half of media buyers will be evaluating when assessing a media partner: targeting tactics (69%), competitive pricing (62%), and audience data (55%). In other words, buyers are looking to maximize ROI by reaching the right audiences, with the right targeting, at the lowest costs.
  2. Communication
    Taking second place, close to half of media buyers include customer service (46%), reporting (45%), and inventory transparency (41%) in their top considerations. While performance factors drive results, these communication factors may actually help them show those results to the client.
  3. Reliability
    Reliability includes evaluating platform capabilities (34%), fraud protection and brand safety (28%), as well as reviews and case studies (14%). All rank less in importance than performance and communication. While brand safety is important to an equal number of media buyers as clients, the surveyed media buyers do not rely on reviews and case studies to make their decisions. This may be because the industry is more mature, and perhaps also because the vendors on BriefBid’s platform are already pre-vetted.

Where Media Buyers Need The Most Help

Finally, our survey asked media buyers where they most lacked experience in working with different ad partners and different ad formats.

Recall how about half of media buyers are adjusting to new in-market tactics? This is where opportunities may exist for vendors to better educate potential buyers and help them make informed decisions.

The partners our respondents have least experience with include Trading Desks at 52%, and Ad Exchanges/Ad Networks at 34%.

Which ad partners are you least experienced buying media from? (%)

Meanwhile when it comes to media formats, media buyers report they are least experienced buying Digital Audio, ConnectedTV and Digital Out-of-Home.

Which ad formats are you least experienced buying from? (%)

With COVID-19 pushing consumers to spend more time at home streaming video and audio, this means media buyers are likely to search for ways to make informed decisions about these two ad formats.

Where To Find More In-Market Tactics

Global lockdown means our already fast-paced industry now has to move and pivot even faster. If you’re a media buyer looking to make better decisions quickly and reduce media waste during a time when every penny counts, sign up for BriefBid platform. It’s 100% free for advertisers, and matches you with pre-vetted, in-market media vendors that fit your media plan, then helps you automate the RFP process so you can launch your campaign faster.

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