Advertising During COVID-19: Top 5 Trends to Watch

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the global economy, advertisers are shifting their budgets and strategies accordingly.

To understand just how advertising is affected by this global crisis, we dug into our data and compared metrics between the first weeks of March and April for ad spend, impressions, click-through rates, and conversions.

Here’s what we found to be the top five trends to watch.

1. Food and drink marketers are scaling spend

According to our data, there was a 43% increase in ad spend among food and drink marketers from March to April. And this spend is paying off, as these marketers have seen their click-to-conversion rate almost double in that time.

It makes sense. Now that people are confined to their homes, they’re searching for ways to buy groceries and have food delivered safely. Meanwhile, others are exploring ways to make the most of what’s available in their kitchens with new recipes.

2. Conversion rates soar for technology and computing ads

Technology and computing advertisers drove the biggest increase in conversion rates with a jump of over 460%, driven by software that helps consumers find and apply discounts for online shopping, as well as protect their computers from viruses and malware. It’s no surprise that with conversions soaring, these advertisers are also among the top three categories to increase ad spend, as well.

3. Political campaigns are still going in a very weird election year

Ad spend for law, government, and political ads increased by 88% – reminding all of us that while the pandemic may be dominating the news, we are still in the midst of a presidential election year.

While this might not be driven by the candidates themselves, there are plenty of political groups looking to reach people while they are engaging with informative and educational content as media consumption and mobile usage are booming during this unprecedented time.

4. Travel ad spend hits 0

As travel restrictions went into effect around the world, it’s unsurprising that spend on travel ads decreased by 100%. Without confirmation of when they’ll be able to travel again safely, people who had already booked trips during this time are scrambling to receive refunds or credits for their airfare and hotels.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the pandemic could cost 50 million travel and tourism jobs worldwide, and it may take up to 10 months for the industry to recover once the outbreak ends.

5. Cost per acquisition drops for Hobbies & Interest and Education categories

When a window closes for certain categories, it opens a door for others. For instance, advertisers that are part of the Hobbies & Interests category are driving a 32% more efficient cost-per-acquisition during this time. Even more astounding, Education advertisers also saw a decrease in cost per acquisition of about 60%. This signifies an opportunity for marketers of Hobbies & Interest and Education brands to reach consumers without draining their budget at a time when they are hungry for distraction and self-improvement.