Consumer Research: Brands Should Continue Advertising During COVID-19

Apr 27, 2020
Written by Richard Burns

Right now, during this global pandemic, the majority of consumers do want to receive advertising from brands, but many—including just over half of US and UK consumers—admit that they have received a message they felt was inappropriate in the current climate.

This is according to a study of 4,045 consumers in the UK, France, USA, Italy, and Spain, organized by CJ Affiliate and Epsilon-Conversant.

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In total, half (48%) of global consumers have received a marketing message in the past two weeks that they felt was poorly timed or inappropriate.

However, the majority of consumers (62%) said that they did want to receive advertising at this time, with three-quarters of consumers in the US (72%) and Italy (76%) believing it is appropriate for brands to be sending ads.

These findings are corroborated by research from GlobalWebIndex, Kantar, and others, as reported by eMarketer.

“Halting outbound communications right now is not what consumers want, and risks lowering a brand’s share of voice,” explains Jules Bazley, regional VP at CJ Affiliate.

“Clearly, brands need to be considerate and understanding of consumer needs in what they communicate—that’s always been the case, but is necessary even more so now. This is a human problem that requires brands to find their human sides.”

The study reinforces the need for brands to show sensitivity. For example, many consumers preferred to receive messages of well-being and positivity (49%) from brands, although many were also still looking for discounts and offers (58%). Only 14% of consumers wanted to see product-focused content from brands at this time.

British respondents were keen for well-being to be at the forefront of advertising amidst an overwhelming call for messages of positive thinking (61%). In contrast, respondents from the US and Italy want to see advertising and marketing communications around deals and discounts.

“There is opportunity but not for opportunists,” says Bazley. “Here, the affiliate channel is incredibly well placed, in a large-part thanks to the cost-per-acquisition model favored by many advertisers.

"In tandem with considered messaging, this ensures both advertisers and publishers are able to realize both short and long-term return, all the while retaining the ongoing communications that consumers say they want to see."

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