Advertisers Eye Third Quarter as ‘Restart’ for Spending

Advertiser Perceptions study finds new product launches coming

Marketers are getting ready to “restart” their advertising activity in the third-quarter after being disrupted by COVID-19, according to the latest study by Advertiser Perceptions.

Advertiser Perceptions has been running surveys of marketers and media buyers since the start of the pandemic. In the latest wave more than half of the advertisers responding said they plan to ramp up spending in the third quarter, with 28% accelerating spending before the end of June.

The study found that 90% of advertisers that planned to launch new products and services in 2020 will introduce them in the second half. About 48% of launches had been postponed while 41% were previously scheduled to launch in the second half of the year.

Advertisers Perceptions said that markets are looking at this period as a restart, rather than a rebound, and plan to use new messaging, tactics and media partners to achieve their goals in what has become a new consumer landscape.

“The second half of 2020 will be a more dynamic advertising market than we’ve seen in many years,” said Justin Fromm, executive VP, business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions. “Advertisers are restarting in a crowded space with lots of moving parts – product launches, an election, and competitors trying to make up for lost time. They’re prepared to explore alternatives to tent-pole media they had originally planned, and they need help balancing the nuances of timing and pricing that regional differences present.”

Even with live events resuming, there’s a new willingness to explore alternatives, the survey found. More than half of advertisers had planned to advertise in postponed live programming, and 75% of them are open to “acceptable substitutes,” including video in entertainment, lifestyle and gaming content.

Advertisers are redefining “brand safe,” with many avoiding media that features user comments.

State-by-state differences in reopening the economy are making it difficult for 68% of advertisers to plan national campaigns.

“This presents a great opportunity for media with broad reach and targeted, digital platforms,” said Fromm. “TV and cable have lots of regional, audience-based messaging opportunities, and social has become an important reach and performance medium. Now’s the time to bring them together in a thoughtful way, to help advertisers ensure regional relevance.”

Advertisers said they expect media companies to be flexible in allowing them to pause and shift spending as needed, and they are setting the bar higher in terms of performance. Many advertisers in the survey said they moved money from brand-building media channels to performance-based channels.

“Advertisers need to keep their eyes on longer-term goals like revenue and lifetime consumer value, not just plunge into performance media. That’s a recipe for fraud and consumer burnout, both of which damage brand relationships,” said Lauren Fisher, VP, business intelligence, at Advertiser Perceptions.

“The advertisers that come out of this in the best shape will get the most out of media while hitting their larger company goals,” said Fisher. “Media play a key role here. Sellers need to help advertisers continually refine their audience targets and reset their performance metrics.”