Why These “Unprecedented Times” Are Actually the Perfect Time to Invest in Media


If you aren’t investing in digital media during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be.  If you are still investing in digital media today, you should be investing more.  What truly felt like uncertain times in the advertising space has turned into one of the most advantageous times to up the ante when it comes to your digital investment.  Here are just a few of the reasons you should reevaluate what your brand is doing in the digital space today:

People are spending more time than ever on their devices

With fewer events to attend, more time spent at home, and less time commuting, people are finding ways to fill that extra time on their hands.  Whether it be binging Netflix, interacting with friends on Zoom, or connecting with friends on social media we’ve all been spending even more time in a digital environment – who knew that was possible?!  That increase in digital exposure means there are that many more opportunities to get your ad in front of the right audience.

Most other advertisers aren’t taking advantage

Nearly two-thirds of advertisers made the decision to delay a media campaign until later this year, and a number of others outright cancelled upcoming campaigns (Forbes). For some advertisers this made sense - for example, a movie theater that isn’t open or brands who are struggling to maintain with the increased demand.  But for most advertisers, now is the best time to be getting your message out.

It is more efficient than ever to play in the digital space

The two points above have resulted something in the digital space that truly is unprecedented – CPMs are incredibly low (about 16% lower than expected pre-pandemic according to Adweek). Not only is it more efficient than ever to reach your core audience, it’s more efficient to test audiences, to expand your reach, and to drive overall awareness, ultimately setting up your brand to surpass the competition when the economy reopens. 

Digital is extremely flexible while feeling just like traditional media

If you have creative on hand, you could launch a digital campaign before lunchtime today.  And if suddenly CPMs start to increase or if your messaging feels out of touch with the current reality, you can turn it off immediately.  So rather than getting yourself into a larger commitment just to get on the big screen, you should be considering something like ConnectedTV which allows for the flexibility of digital but feels just like TV (because it is).  Plus, this digital channel that typically is a little more expensive is even seeing lower CPMs than ever proving just how much we’re all binging these days!

Election season is right around the corner

With everything else going on, it’s easy to forget that election season is creeping up on us. In a normal election year, we would be preparing now for the increases in CPMs that are coming later in the year – in 2018 (just a midterm election year) CPMs increased as much as 10% each month as we approached the election starting in September.  About 60% of the political ad spend in an election year occurs in September, October, and November but I would bet that you’ve already started to see ads pop up in your feeds.

This year has been different than anything we’ve seen before so it’s hard to know exactly how CPMs will trend heading into election season.  However, waiting for things to “go back to normal” before you start advertising again means that you won’t only be competing with the brands trying to make up for being dark during the pandemic…and also all the noise of political season.

The list for why brands should be investing now goes on and on. Brands that have either pivoted during the pandemic or are well-prepared for this new normal in the digital space are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.  Is it time for your brand to turn media back on or up your investment? (Hint: the answer is yes)

About the author

Karlin McGinness, Associate Media Director, IMM

Karlin has extensive background in media planning and collaborates closely with IMM’s media buyers and media partners to develop innovative campaigns.  She has deep experience across multiple verticals including restaurant, CPG, telecom, and retail including work for Unilever, Chili’s, and Straight Talk Wireless.  Karlin is one of the rare Colorado natives and loves spending time with her golden retriever, Scout.

About Ideas Made Measurable!

At IMM, creating action isn’t just what we do — it’s who we are. Our agency is built to deliver full service capabilities while also delivering measurable results. Big data is the marketing buzzword everyone talks about but few understand. We are here to explain in plain English how data-driven, bottoms-up marketing strategies can help generate leads, drive sales and build your brand. We leverage the expertise of the staff at IMM, a data-driven, full-service digital advertising agency based in Boulder, Colorado.

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