COVID-19 Media Planning Resources

Keeping you in-the-know

This site will be used to aggregate and share information on COVID-19 and its impact on media. Channel, industry, and vendor specific news will be shared to help everyone in these uncertain times.

Check out the Harmelin Media “Media Trends” presentation deck

Read our whitepaper on Advertising and Covid-19 and a blog post on the impact on political advertising.

Industry Resources

Channels

Consideration and resources by media type

Video

Linear and streaming TV usage continues to rise with many states issuing stay at home order. Consumers have adjusted their viewing preference during this time, to News, “Comfort viewing” and kids content. Please reference our Harmelin Video POV for more details on viewership changes and go-forward strategies.

Video Information

Audio

Radio remains a consistent medium for the American public during the COVID-19 pandemic. How and where listeners consume radio has changed, but listeners continue to consume audio in a variety of ways while practicing social distancing. Read about the impact in our Audio POV.

Audio Information

Out of Home

Decreased travel will affect Out of Home impression delivery. We are working with key vendors to be able to quantify the impact of reduced travel – it will certainly vary by location and ad unit type. The impact to operations/printing/posting lead times varies on a state by state basis and it is smart to build in extra time to account for limited staffing.

In lieu of cancelling a campaign completely, consider utilizing street level media in densely populated cities targeting walkers, swapping in relevant messaging, negotiating added value/MGs for later in the flight, and taking advantage of incentives for clients who do not cancel.

Please reference our Harmelin OOH POV for more details.

OOH Information

Print

Newspapers are used to printing a complex product and delivering it door to door 365 days a year. So it is no surprise that they are going strong now as an essential business. Newspapers are a credible news source that people can turn to for long-form news, while the digital counterpart can give more up to the minute news that these times call for. Newspapers should be considered for plans now as a quick to market strategy with relatively easy production.

Magazines may delay but not cancel issues due to the difference in business model and difficulty getting to press.

Our Print POV on COVID-19 provides additional insights.

Print Information

Sports

At this time, nearly all sports have been cancelled, suspended, or postponed creating a void for both viewers and advertisers. For sponsors of any teams, leagues, etc., we cannot yet predict the long-term impact until we know better when these sports will resume. Until that time, there are no “one-size-fits-all” recommendations that can be made across all clients. Once the leagues layout how they will handle their respective seasons, whether with abbreviated seasons, shortened post-seasons, or even outright cancellations, the Harmelin Sports Marketing Team will advise on next steps. And if, as everyone hopes, seasons do resume and games are permitted to return, assessments will be made on how best to relaunch partnerships and placements.

In the meantime, for any clients that have booked spots during game broadcasts (pre/post/in-game) or any sports related programming, Harmelin has recommendations on how to consider use of those dollars. Read our full POV to consider what is right for your business, both short and long term, to help maintain exposure while being prepared for the restart. ​​​​​

Sports Information

Digital Display

In general, there is no one size fits all approach for the Display channel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Impact varies by vertical, and as such each display campaign is being assessed on an individual basis. Harmelin recommends discussing appropriate adjustments given the vertical and brand’s suitability thresholds. Please reference the Display POV for more details.

Display Information

Social

As long as people are stuck at home, social media platform usage rates will far exceed their normal baseline with most social networks currently reporting a 50% increase in time spent on the platforms in the last few weeks. More people are spending more time on these popular platforms to connect with friends and family, to get news, share updates of their own, and to pass the time. The rise in social platform usage, paired with some travel and entertainment advertisers pausing all media, should result in more cost-efficient reach, lower CPMs, and higher conversion rates for new social campaigns. As long as people are stuck at home, social media platform usage rates will far exceed their normal baseline with most social networks currently reporting a 50% increase in time spent on the platforms in the last few weeks. More people are spending more time on these popular platforms to connect with friends and family, to get news, share updates of their own, and to pass the time. The rise in social platform usage, paired with some travel and entertainment advertisers pausing all media, should result in more cost-efficient reach, lower CPMs, and higher conversion rates for new social campaigns. Check out our full POV that covers considerations across the leading social networks. Check out our full POV that covers considerations across the leading social networks.

Social Information

Search

​​​​​​​Within the current pandemic environment, paid search is becoming an increasingly valuable medium to connect with consumers as people are staying home due to the crisis. Search activity has spiked as surfing, eCommerce, social engagement and television consumption have all increased; further boosting search interest. Please reference our Harmelin Search POV for more details.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Google Trends has a new dedicated section for Coronavirus, including top questions asked in the US over the past week, information on which products are being searched and how demand for other categories is changing over time.

Search Information

SEO/Local Listings

COVID-19 is forcing more consumers online at a time when companies are cutting ad spend because of the uncertainty the pandemic presents, creating an environment where the organic presence of your website on Google and other search engines is becoming increasingly vital for your business to effectively communicate with your customers.

Please reference our full COVID-19 POV and best practices for Google My Business and Schema Mark-Up during the COVID-19 pandemic for more details.

SEO Information

Lifestyle Marketing

If you are looking to be in market during this time, Lifestyle Media is still an option to consider, as not all lifestyle media types are being affected by the COVID-19 situation. In fact, some lifestyle media types are doing well, during this time. Each lifestyle media element will vary by market and by media type as consumers are practicing social distancing. Review your Lifestyle Media options in our POV.

Lifestyle Information

Influencer Marketing

As consumers are confined to their homes, their attention is shifting more heavily than ever towards their social channels where they are consuming influencer content as a source of entertainment, inspiration and a form of consistency that they have grown to trust in their daily lives. In a time that influencers can relate to their followers more than ever, they are uniquely positioned to provide comfort and share information to the masses in a way that brands are unable to do on their own. Click here to gain more insight into how leveraging social influencers can be an effective solution during this time.

Influencer Information

Messaging Considerations

Be very cautious about what you during crisis times. The one thing that is abundantly clear…. if this crisis continues, advertisers must change their messaging and tone. Below are some recommendations that were offered by one PR professional, Hinda Mitchell, in a March 12th article of PR News:

  • Have a variety of materials prepared for everything from event cancellations to school closures to government orders.
  • Recognize that audiences are concerned and unsettled; communications should reflect an understanding of how audiences are feeling by focusing on corporate values.
  • Share accurate data from public health experts – and avoid drawing your own conclusions about what is safest, healthiest, etc.
  • Avoid chapter and verse restating public health recommendations – it’s better to share links to expert opinions.
  • Consider your employees. For example, what is your illness reporting and sick time protocol? How will you change your remote working policies? Will you support employees in the event that​​​​​​​ school districts close and they have to care for children at home?
  • Think about how you can assure employees that the disruption in your business will not negatively impact their jobs or the future of your business. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Messaging Thought Starters

Examples of how advertisers continue to promote the brand but remain timely, sensitive and PR-friendly

  • QSR/CPG/Retail – emphasis on delivery, convenience, shelf stable products and/or online ordering
  • Auto/Banking/Insurance – emphasis on financial aid options
  • Healthcare – emphasis on telemedicine and education about staying safe and making folks aware of tips/desired actions
  • Education – emphasis on e-learning
  • Tech – emphasis on importance of strong wifi/connectively with increase WFH and streaming
  • Online Sportsbooks – changing messaging to online casino and table games for responsible gambling play
  • Automotive – aftermarket are promoting home delivery and fleet services to help keep delivery and emergency drivers on the road.
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