Would You Have Watched This Ad Six Months Ago? How About Now?

Advertisers hope new formats will win over adaptive consumers

adweek elevate tv
Adweek's Elevate: TV focused on how the pandemic has changed consumer behavior (and what advertisers hope to do about it). Adweek

In the three months since the coronavirus began its march across the U.S., media companies have been learning new things about how consumers are interacting with their content and how advertisers are best reaching them.

A group of industry leaders gathered (virtually, of course) to talk with Adweek’s streaming editor Kelsey Sutton about which behaviors they think are temporarily affected by the pandemic and the new ad products that will have staying power.

“You’re not going to find any piece of research that shows advertising doesn’t work,” said Josh Feldman, evp and head of marketing and advertising creative for NBCUniversal. “What you are going to find is that it’s harder and harder to get people to pay attention to that advertising. And that’s what we’re trying to break through with commercial division.”

For its part, NBCU in April permanently reduced the number of linear ads with the hope of getting viewers to pay more attention to each ad spot.

Xandr, meanwhile, has focused its efforts on making advertising more valuable and less disruptive, said Matt Van Houten, svp of product development at the AT&T company.

Initial streaming consumption habits reported by Nielsen suggest that connected TV usage will remain high long after stay-at-home orders lift. Under that new behavior model, clients are concerned about fragmentation and how each buy fits into the broader picture, said Catherine Sullivan, chief investment officer for North America at Omnicom Media Group.

“The thought process has required a lot more original pieces together and surrounding [them] with all the different platforms to make sure that that message is added up,” Sullivan said.

And all this comes as Magna Global released its latest ad revenue forecast for 2020: Due to the pandemic, linear TV ad revenue is predicted to decrease 17% (excluding political ads) vs. 2019.

For more insights and takeaways, watch Tuesday’s full conversation here:

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.