Note: This post reports on data from the March 12-18 period. Check back in to the SpotX.tv blog for new posts and trending data.
As the spread of COVID-19 dramatically changes daily life, the ad tech industry must figure out how to operate under rapidly changing circumstances.
Advertisers have had to react quickly to postponed sports games, canceled live events, and minimized travel activity. Some seasonal opportunities that unite audiences and drive an increase in supply—and opportunity—vanished in an instant.
At the same time, more people are staying home, and already-high media consumption is expected to grow even more as large populations turn to TV (and from linear to OTT/CTV), video, and streaming. In fact, Nielsen is predicting a 60% increase in the amount of media watched.
First, let’s look at the trends we’ve seen thus far, through March 18.
How the ad ecosystem is evolving through COVID-19
Unsurprisingly, with more people staying home and tuning in, traffic and ad calls are up across the board, notably with OLV and OTT/CTV.
CTV viewership is up every single hour of the day. When comparing March 12-18 to the previous week, average viewership increased by approximately 13%. The least significant uptick registers at a 6% increase at 3 pm EST while the largest viewership growth trend was calculated at a 17% increase at 7 pm.
CTV hourly viewership week over week
Ad spend and pricing trends
Across specific categories, retail and travel have taken the biggest hits to ad spend as consumers cancel or postpone trips and retailers close physical store locations. Society, news, and lifestyle categories have also seen decreased spend, albeit less so.
We’ve seen spend increase in technology and computing, careers, hobbies and interests, sports, and beauty categories. Within these, we’ve seen notable growth in video and computer gaming, alcohol, CPG, and fitness equipment subcategories.
Ad category spend week over week
Across the board, eCPM decreased just slightly from March 5 through March 18.
How advertisers can adapt to COVID-19
There are a plethora of premium supply alternatives for buyers to consider in reaching their target audiences. The shift of viewers in OTT/CTV has outpaced advertiser spend creating an amazing opportunity for you to reallocate spend to reach target audiences and fulfill campaign goals.
As consumers prepare to spend more time indoors, and most likely more time in front of screens, SpotX provides you with access to 42 million CTV households and coverage across every interest type and content genre. Here’s how we’re working with advertisers to reallocate spend.
- Consider alternatives to live sports content: For those looking to move budgets from live sports, consider general sports content across OTT and OLV to fulfill campaign goals, including sports websites and MVPDs who have sports channels. Also consider that some sports viewers may turn to other content such as cooking competitions, sitcoms, stand-up comedy, or gaming and esports.
- Use audience targeting: You can target sports audiences on non-sports content, for instance targeting segments such as March Madness fans, NBA fans, NHL fans, or PGA Tour fans.
- Leverage contextual targeting solutions: You can control what type of content your advertisements appear alongside, and avoid COVID-19 content or any other brand safety rules you might have in mind.
Activity is evolving quickly, and we are continually tracking updates. Keep checking back as we’ll keep you updated on the latest industry trends and recommendations.
We know this is a challenging time on all fronts. Our team of experts is here to help you with any of your questions about how Coronavirus affects your advertising or monetization strategies. Please get in touch with your Account Manager or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Mike Evans is SVP of Demand Facilitation at SpotX, leading the efforts of the North American sales team to connect buyers and media owners leveraging the SpotX video advertising platform to access brand-safe, premium inventory. His team assists buyers to find inventory for their video campaigns and advises video distributors on targeting across CTV and OTT to maximize reach and revenue. Mike is an ad tech expert with over ten years of experience at companies such as Oracle, Turn/Amobee, and Xaxis. He joined SpotX in early 2017 and holds a Bachelor of Science in international business from College of Charleston.