Media consumption and recommendations for advertisers during a pandemic

Kantar carried out an international survey “Covid-19 Monitor “ to determine impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer behavior and the media consumption. The map below shows average number of infections during the data collection phase.

How has media consumption changed?

The current epidemic has a significant impact on media consumption. The frequency of watching TV and Internet usage has increased. The chart below presents the answers of the respondents to the question: How the current situation has affected your consumption of the following media?

Respondents started to use websites and watch TV more often last month. Major TV stations have become a main source of information for them. This phenomenon occurs in most of the countries studied (except citizens of Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, where the opinions of doctors and pharmacists are more important).

In Poland, there has been increased use of Facebook in the last month. This is due to the fact that social media is currently not only a form of entertainment, but also the way to stay in touch with friends and family, especially for those who decided not to leave the house without need.

Questions about social moods have shown that Poles compared to other countries are very concerned about the presence of the conronavirus in Poland – in particular, about the financial situation and stability of employment.

How did Poles react to the restrictions on movement ?

The epidemic caused not only the economic downturn, but also huge changes in the functioning of society. The Mobility Report, made available by Google, shows changes in mobility over the last weeks.

Compared to February, in March the activity of Poles associated with visiting cafes, restaurants or shopping centers fell by 71%. The use of public transport decreased by 68%, and travel to places marked „the place of work” on the map, by 27%. On the other hand, the increase in mobility in residential areas increased by 12%, and 41% more customers appeared in grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores (data updated: 05.04.2020).

The chart below, prepared by OnAudience, shows changes in the frequency of movement over a period of 2 weeks (02-16.03). The red color indicates the devices that belong to people who moved around. The green color, on the other hand, indicates the devices that belong to people who did not change their place of residence.

What attitude should advertisers take according to consumers?

The current situation is also a huge challenge for marketers. They have to face the challenge of how to build marketing communication with clients in these difficult times. Consumers definitely do not expect advertisers to cease operations, and even expect from them to support society(83%). In this situation, brands should show that they are honest, helpful and authentic in what they do. They should reassure consumers and not use epidemics for marketing purposes. Transparency of communication is very important for respondents – clear information on the effort brands make in the fight against coronavirus (77%). The tone of marketing communication (74%) and talking about the future in a positive perspective (69%) are also important. Consumers emphasize that they want to feel that brands are close to them all the time. That is why advertisers should continue to conduct active, though slightly more subdued communication on social media.

Data source: “Covid-19 Monitor” report

Peter Field, a British advertising strategist known for his research on the effectiveness of marketing activities, recommends not stopping marketing activities and sees the opportunity to invest in times of crisis. According to him, this is an opportunity to increase market share when competitors freeze their budgets.

Brands that reduced all advertising expenditure during previous crises have seen a decline in market share and thus their long-term profitability. That’s why the safest way is to stick to your existing brand building strategy.

Advertising activity during the epidemic can bring measurable benefits to companies. Customers, seeing the stability of brands, will perceive them as strong, which can strengthen their sense of security. In addition, once the crisis is over, it will be much easier for these companies to get back to running their business on a full scale.

Sources: Kantar, COVID-19 Monitor, Wave 1 results for Poland and the key markets around the world, Consumer Evolution and Brand Implications;;;