MediaRadar Blog

How COVID-19 is Impacting Various Digital Media Formats

How COVID-19 is Impacting Various Digital Media Formats

Days are blending together. 

We oscillate between hard news stories and funny memes. We try to listen to the podcasts we miss from our daily commutes. Tigers and their masters have left their mark on our psyches. 

Our digital habits have changed. 

As people turn to streaming, news publications and social media to cope with this time of grief, advertisers are responding.

We analyzed the data to see how brands are capitalizing on the recent spike in media consumption. Overall digital ad spend was down in March, but many brands escalated their spending. 

Which digital media formats have been impacted most?

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How COVID-19 is Changing What We Watch and Listen to Online

Before the coronavirus crisis, Americans were already on their phones, watching TV or consuming digital media most of their days. 

Nielsen reported that before the pandemic, American adults spent almost 12 hours a day on a media platform. That number is likely to increase by 60% on average for those practicing social distancing.

Americans are spending more time consuming media and playing more video games, but they are also engaging with different platforms more (i.e. news) and at different times of the day.

For example, streaming behavior is going every direction. Prime time TV viewership is down. On the other hand, video streaming between 11am and 2pm is up 40%. Twitch streaming increased 23%, while audio streaming (i.e. podcasts) is down despite previous momentum . 

People are not limited by traditional work hours and can watch their favorite shows whenever they want. Professional sports are off the table and turning their fandom elsewhere. 

This new behavior is causing many companies to quickly reallocate their online ad spend.  

MediaRadar Insights: March Spending Across Digital Media Formats

In March, we saw brands collectively spend 3% less on digital media than they did in February. 

The overall dip in spending is not surprising considering the fragile state of the economy. Brands were more selective with the digital formats they invested in and not all formats were impacted equally. 

Native advertising saw the largest hit: there was a 10% drop in ad investment between February and March. Meanwhile, display experienced a 3% drop in spend.

When it came to video, however, brands jumped onboard. Overall video ad spend was up 8%.

In March, over 2500 brands bought online video advertisements. Of these brands, many accelerated their previous spending.

Notable brands that boosted their online video spend include:

  • Masterclass spent over $1M in online video in March after doing very little in February.
  • Microsoft Teams is up 57% month-over-month.
  • Pandora spent over half a million in March on online video — after no online video spending in February. 

For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates on coronavirus and its mark on the economy.