COVID-19 Trends and Digital Implications for Programmatic Buyers


April 1, 2020

In light of COVID-19, the world is adjusting to a “new normal,” and in these uncertain times, marketers are changing their strategies to adapt to fluctuating buying habits and, in some cases, reduced budgets. So what are the trends and digital implications for programmatic buyers? Let’s dive in.

Shift Your Inventory

With more time spent at home or working from home, people are seeking creative ways to entertain themselves and their families. From creating art and TikTok videos to partaking in both physical and educational exercises, people are primarily online. Even meal and restaurant delivery services are spiking. And online games are becoming even more popular as users seek new ways to connect with others virtually. It’s the perfect time to place ads near these types of online content categories using deals, auction packages, keywords or custom channel lists. Perhaps consider shifting your sports content to these types of relevant inventories. Check out our post, “Four Google Display & Video 360 Strategies for Reaching Audiences During COVID-19 Shutdowns,” for additional inventory options.

Consider Video

People are finding themselves bored with longer attention spans and may be more likely to watch videos all the way through. Keep an eye on completion rates as they may rise. YouTube and CTV viewership is increasing so make sure your digital strategies include them. The most common content categories across YouTube are health, cooking, and fitness. 

Be Intentional About Frequency, Pacing and Creative Executions

Additionally, with users spending more time online, buyers may see more inventory during the day. Think about if you want to lower your frequency caps and consider updating your creative more often to avoid burnout. Buyers are likely to also find more scale so consider pacing settings carefully.

While you’re refreshing your creatives, be careful with your messaging. There’s a lot of misinformation being spread about the virus and people’s trust may be harder to gain — and keep. Google has restricted non-government entities from using “coronavirus” in their creatives, which can be helpful as some users may only want to be reminded of it when actively seeking information and may be trying to distract themselves while online.

Identify Opportunities for New Acquisition

With supply chains changing, availability is shifting and many people may be seeking out new brands. Think about adding prospecting strategies with new and unique audience habits. Instead of targeting lookalikes and close affinities, think about the in-market broad categories and “big name” competition that was previously tough to break through.

We’ll continue to share information and ideas for how to adapt as we navigate the unknown together. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.