The Lasting Effects of COVID-19 on Advertising

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As vaccinations continue to roll out in greater numbers and more people are getting back to some semblance of pre-COVID life, different industries and communities will continue to take a closer look at the lasting effects of the pandemic. In particular, agencies and companies will need to assess how COVID-19 will affect advertising efforts.

The most notable and important effects directly relate to the livelihoods of those most affected by COVID-19 over the last year. The difficulties endured cannot be overstated, nor should they be forgotten or brushed aside. The previous year was one of the most universally difficult times in modern history, more so than research and statistics will ever be able to explain.

Understanding the strain the last year placed on people on an individual level, we can begin to look at the effects COVID-19 has and will continue to have on the consumer and business landscape. Chief among those, advertising will look drastically different as the lingering effects of COVID-19 impact the industry for the foreseeable future.

Expect the Unexpected

To say COVID-19 came out of nowhere might not be entirely accurate, but that does not change the fact that businesses, industries, and the world itself were caught flat-footed in many instances. If we are to take any lesson from 2020, it should be to expect upheaval.

Understanding that your strategy and campaign plans may be disrupted entirely will help advertisers immensely going forward. It’s better to learn to think on your feet now versus when it really matters. The next time a world-altering event happens (let’s hope it doesn’t), advertisers must be ready to adapt and respond appropriately.

Digital Is More than Just Convenient, It’s Essential

If it didn’t rule the industry before COVID-19, digital advertising efforts certainly do now. 2020 saw advertisers meeting consumers where they are more than ever. No matter what the months and years moving forward look like, digital, highly-targeted advertisements are the path forward for advertisers.

In August, Neilsen reported an increase in digital game purchases, streaming video engagement, and online ordering on top of a rise in working from home. While 2020 saw, in general, a decrease in ad spends, the advertising that was bought focused on these areas where consumers frequented. This digital trend will continue going forward as more businesses transition more to a work-from-home setup, and professionals seek out more remote and flexible opportunities.

Authenticity Matters

2020 brought attention to critical social issues and what truly matters to everyday people in a way we have not seen in decades. Similarly, it showed us the importance of authenticity and understanding how issues like COVID fatigue truly impact consumers. Brands and advertisers can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines during important moments in society, nor can they offer hollow sentiments and platitudes. Consumers demand more.

The battle to remain top-of-mind will continue, but reports showed that brands moved on from a barrage of safety-first messaging during the later months of 2020. Consumers were showing signs of fatigue, and companies like General Motors responded. As a result, those companies performed better than competitors—including GM, who outperformed the industry in Q4 of 2020.

Let Black Bear Design Help You Navigate the Advertising and Marketing Landscape

As the effects of COVID-19 will continue to play out on the advertising industry and more companies see the need to adapt strategies, Black Bear Design is ready to help you stand out in the forest. As a full-service digital agency, Black Bear Design creates award-winning graphic design, websites, and bold strategies to help you gain conversions and reach new audiences. If you are looking to grow and expand your business, contact us today to get started.

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