Majority (62%) of consumers don’t think brands should stop advertising during coronavirus

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Half (48%) of global consumers have received a marketing message in the past two weeks that they felt was poorly timed or inappropriate, new research from Epsilon-Conversant and CJ Affiliate has revealed. According to a study of 4,045 consumers across five regions, the majority of consumers do want to receive advertising, but many – including just over half of Americans and Brits – admit that they have received a message they felt was inappropriate in the current climate.

However, the majority of consumers (62%) said that they didwant to receive adverts at this time, with three-quarters of consumers in the US (72%) and Italy (76%) believing it is appropriate for brands to be sending ads. This clearly shows that brands should not be pressing pause on all their advertising efforts despite tough times across the world.

“Turning off paid marketing channels could lead to a decreased share of voice and the research shows that this knee-jerk reaction would be unnecessary. The majority of respondents do not think brands need to stop advertising during the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, brands must align their products, services and promotions with the needs of consumers in this situation. This is a human problem that requires brands to find their human sides,” explained Elliott Clayton, SVP, Epsilon-Conversant.

The study reinforced the need for brands to show sensitivity. For example, many consumers preferred to receive messages of wellbeing and positivity (49%) from brands, although many were also still looking for discounts and offers (58%). Only 14% of consumers wanted to see product-focused content from brands at this time.

British respondents were keen for wellbeing to be at the forefront of advertising amidst an overwhelming call for messages of positive thinking (61%). In contrast, respondents from the US and Italy wanted to see adverts and marketing communications around deals and discounts.

There is opportunity but not for opportunists. Right now, brands must ask themselves, how might I be able to help or inform my customers, not just push through that sale? Even restaurants have used this time to offer their recipes for free over social channels to stay relevant, and as this situation continues to develop differently across the globe, brands need to be listening and responding to consumers’ varying concerns and needs. That means opening up communication channels and starting a real, honest dialogue one-to-one,” concluded Clayton.