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Covid-19’s impact on global ad spending and its fallout on Indian advertising industry

Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives, writes on the changing behaviour of advertisers

Sameer Makani

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented serious challenges when it comes to stabilising the overall economy amid the lockdown, one of which is changing industry dynamics. Covid-19 has largely impacted the way brands, agencies and various other businesses work, which disrupted the ever-evolving advertising and marketing industry. The world’s leading economies have witnessed a downfall in the revenue as the businesses are shut. While there is no handbook that one can follow in such crisis, it is essential for advertisers to re-calibrate their entire approach and connect with the right target audience. Since people spend maximum time staying at home during the quarantine, connecting with them through digital media is convenient. In such cases, advertisers need to know the tactic of how to keep their audiences engaged through right media platforms and how to make the brands invest through them.

Are brands taking a responsible route? Shifts that were witnessed

Restrictions on travel due to lockdown have posed to be a threat for out-of-home (OOH) advertising and seem to be a medium that has no realistic lockdown replacement as it has majorly been impacting revenues. But what has actively taken over the current scenario during these tough times and have saved brands from sinking is the way online advertising is responding to it. Brands have started focusing on the alternative ways of boosting their businesses online by taking a different approach towards dealing with the current scenario.

Is global ad spends sinking?

Spending has now made a shift from the traditional means of advertising from newspaper ads, hoardings, printed pamphlets, etc., to digitally active platforms. These include social media like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and also digital OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Voot, etc. Global ads are expected to sink this year as the pandemic has led to dip in travel and tourism and entertainment industry among others, all of which has impacted demand. This change in the global ad spending is what is been highlighted in the way brands have chosen to spend particularly on platforms as a means to increase their sales during and after lockdown. One of the major reasons why ad spends are sinking is because of the attitudinal shift in consumer behaviour. Most advertising companies will experience negative impacts on their business as ad revenues are dropping at a faster pace. Even when sales are at halt because of the pandemic, what was to be noticed is the way how brands did not stop advertising. They continued to create awareness through digital platforms by posting TVCs and coming up with creative ways on Instagram pages that strongly depicted how brands are posing to be with their audience even during these tough times. Creatives from various brands like Metro, Mochi, Burger King, Swiggy, Zomato, Audi etc., have found different ways and means to stay connected with their audiences on typical topics like lockdown, quarantine, isolated, pandemic while playing around strategically with these terms. Changing their logos to promote social distancing, etc., brands like Dominos, Swiggy, Big Basket have even started safely delivering groceries by following WHO’s guidelines at your door steps to hold credibility in the eyes of its consumers.

Impact on Indian advertising industry

While industry is actively dealing with the challenges of OOH during these challenging times, advertisers have now realised that digital progression is the only saviour. Digital is the best medium for advertisers to reach their end users. We can already see a shift in Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sale, Myntra’s end of reason sale, etc., which have always happened in a particular way, but have a possibility of changing due to the crises.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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