Why aren't brands tapping into audience growth

15 Apr 2020

We are seeing newspaper publishers gaining record numbers of online readers looking for news and information about the Covid-19 outbreak – which begs the question: why aren’t more brands tapping into this golden opportunity to align their ad spend and placement strategies with this very real and opportune shift in audience preferences?

 

It’s rare to find mainstream media consistently headlining in the media. But Covid-19 has been making the news for various reasons. Across the world, media platforms have seen sharp increases in readers, viewers and audiences. Given the need for people to remain appraised of the spread of the pandemic, this is hardly surprising.

 

What is notable though is the lack of real action by brands as a response to this insight.

 

Data and consulting company Kantar recently released their Covid-19 Barometer, a comprehensive syndicated study on the pandemic’s impact on consumerism, based on a survey of more than 25,000 people across 30 markets between the 14 and 23 March. It indicated that, under lockdown, web browsing grew 70%, linear TV viewing increased 63%, and social media 61%.

 

Kantar’s Covid-19 Barometer found that national media channels are the most trusted information source above even government agency sites or digital healthcare platforms – and results from Ads24’s Digital Dashboard reflects this. While the Dashboard was created to highlight the exponential spike in digital media in the first two weeks of lockdown, it also revealed a sharp increase in reliance on their most trusted news brands: 65%, against only 23% trust in social media channels.

 

According to the Publisher Research Council, news site audience has almost doubled during March due to COVID- 19. Even paywalls aren’t keeping people out: Netwerk24, South Africa’s largest paywall subscription site with over 55,000 subscribers, has seen a marked increase in both unique browsers (75% from 1 March) and daily visits (up 87% from 1 March). Sports, too, remain an eternal favourite despite a dearth of events: Kick Off picked up 860 000 Unique Browsers in March, an increase in average daily unique browsers of 92% from 1 March 2020.

 

Pitch perfect platforms


The bottom line: globally and locally, we are seeing newspaper publishers gaining record numbers of online readers looking for news and information about the outbreak – which begs the question: why aren’t more brands, ad agencies and marketers tapping into this golden opportunity to align their ad spend and placement strategies with this very real and opportune shift in audience preferences? The Covid-19 Barometer clearly outlined consumers’ expectations of brands, with a mere 8% globally supporting reduced advertising (only 2% in SA), and most supporting appropriate, brand safe messaging.

 

History suggests that brands who fail to make use of this communication opportunity will be forgotten once normal business practices resume: a Kantar/BrandZ analysis of brands following the 2008 economic crisis showed that strong brands recovered nine times faster than the S&P 500 standard.
As renowned US marketing consultant Peter Field succinctly states: “The only sensible course for any advertiser who wants to maintain a presence through this ‘recession’ is to be putting money into long-term brand building because the role of that investment is for the recovery, not for now.”

 

Strengthen your brand by maintaining a presence aligned with your messages – on platforms that guarantee equally strong reach.

 Source: Narrative, as pulled 1-23 March 2020, FB, TW, IG, YT from 25 March

 
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About Ads24

Ads24 reaches six in ten South Africans, including print and digital readers. Ads24 touches the lives of over a half of all South Africans adults. While it is important to identify the size and segment the audience, looking at how Ads24 engages with its readers, is equally as important.

A news reader is an engaged reader. Ads24 news brands play an important and unique role in the daily lives of their readers. Ads24 sees beyond the numbers, beyond the market segments, to connect with the people on a personal level. Ads24 has the stats, the numbers, but also the insights.

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