As states begin to ease social distancing restrictions and businesses start to return to more normal operations, many advertisers that initially scaled back their advertising plans will also be looking to return to marketing and advertising as usual. This return to “normal” marketing is anticipated to happen in three different phases. The third of which should occur at some point this summer and will be marked by a big increase in the use of radio and out of home advertising.
When the federal government told the country to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, it was inevitable that out-of-home and radio advertising would decrease significantly as they lost their daily audiences to quarantine. Most statistics mark a loss of over 50%.
The pandemic created a major shift in the way businesses needed to advertise. The move to delivering messages through digital media like social media advertising, OTT, CTV and display ads made perfect sense. Those channels all saw a huge spike over the past four months. My agency made a number of changes to our own clients’ media campaigns to ensure that their messages weren’t missed while people were in quarantine mode. It made perfect sense to invest media dollars in the places where their consumers were. But times are changing, restrictions are being lifted and the amount of screen time will be decreasing. Now is the time for businesses to start looking at swinging the advertising pendulum back and start including other forms of media back in the mix.
Businesses are now preparing to re-open and marketers know that they need to communicate and engage with their consumers. Advertisers will want to let their customers know that they’re open for business and, that they are COVID-19 compliant. Brands will need to be agile more than ever in order to get the message out at the right time. There is pent up demand for people to want to go places and I expect to see people leaving their homes in droves once they feel safe.
As the U.S. begins to slowly open back up and consumers begin to emerge from their self-quarantines, advertisers should respond. Local travel never really stopped completely, especially in suburbs and areas that don’t have public transportation available. Many have been making trips to the grocery store, gas station and other essential businesses, as well as enjoying a quick drive around town just to get out of the house. This summer, increased populations of people will begin driving to work again and traveling by car to go on vacation. As they do, billboard and radio advertising may become more valuable than ever. More miles on the road means more opportunities for advertisers to catch travelers’ eyes and ears.