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The Effect of COVID-19 in the Advertising Market and Possible Solutions

Due to COVID-19, TV viewing time, the number TV viewers, and OTT users has increased drastically in 2020. Nevertheless, the overall advertising market is bleak. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal based on data from Kantar Media, the size of U.S. TV commercials dropped more than 40 percent in April 2020 compared to April 2019. The results of surveys done in 27 industries including automobiles, retail, liquor, pharmaceuticals, proves that retail advertising volume dropped from 80 million USD (about 96.2 billion KRW) a year earlier to 40 million USD (about 48.1 billion KRW) in April this year, in particular.

The adverse effect of COVID-19 is serious, it has canceled sports events such as the 2020 Summer Olympics, international hockey tournaments and international basketball games, and many political ads have not carried out TV commercials. In addition, global companies like Pepsi and GM are planning to withdraw their scheduled advertising contracts.

No one knows when COVID-19 will end. The COVID-19 has had a big impact on the global economy, and the recovery is slow. After all, advertising market has become unstable due to unstable economic conditions, and there are too many uncertainties in the future. So what can the advertising market do in the post-corona era?

It is necessary to look into the basics. The target of advertising is 'consumers' and 'users'. Therefore, understanding the consumers should be prioritized. Consumers’ purchasing behavior and their media use are not always the same, it always changes. Just as the increase in online purchases with COVID-19 does not mean a decrease in offline purchases, advertisers need to take a multi-dimensional approach to their consumers’ purchasing behaviors.

It will also be meaningful to look at the meaning of viewing contents and advertisements by media and platform. Some consumers have no objection to watching YouTube ads and may even lead to a high advertising effect, but other consumers might want to see the content they want, which can backfire.

The work of looking into 'consumers' will not only help the advertising market but also the media environment. Broadcasters and content producers can also identify what consumers are interested in these days, and what factors people sympathize across the various age groups. This way, the media industry will be able to secure competitive edge in contents and create a virtuous circle with the advertising market.

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