These are trying times, we all have had to adapt to this new way of living. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that a large portion of us have changed the way we purchase, especially with online shopping habits. As brands assess and formalize their holiday strategy, it is important to consider ad placements.

With this global shift comes a new normal for just about everything, advertising included. During a time of extreme uncertainty and concern, advertisers have had to be extra cognizant of where their ads appear. Often, this means a pivot in priorities and brand strategy. What we have seen in recent months are extra precautions as to how and where messages are placed.

Recent surveys show that consumers are spending more time online than ever before – between 3-7 hours on social media alone, which means a lot of advertisement opportunities for brands. Users often cite a desire to stay connected and informed as the reason for an increase in time spent online.

In an internal survey, we asked if content consumption had changed in recent months – 58% responded at they are consuming more news than at the start of the year. In addition to our survey, we have found that consumers want to see relevant ads around the content they are consuming. A survey conducted by Adtaxi found that most consumers (68%) find it helpful when ads are sensitive to the pandemic and 62% of those surveyed agree that brands that address the crisis directly in their advertising have their customers’ best interests at heart. So, this is a unique challenge for advertisers. To be sure, brands have always been particular about ad placements, but this shift meant adjusting their advertising strategy to ensure their ads are not showing up in places that are not relevant to the content.

How can brands do this?

Here are a few best practices on how brands can approach advertising with a thoughtful mindset

  • Many advertising platforms allow for including or excluding advertising to appear around certain categories
  • Categories can range from one end of the spectrum to the other—allowing advertisers to avoid showing up around specific category content, even for retargeting efforts
  • Outside of self-service management, the advertiser can work closely with their rep to ensure certain categories are not being included in any ad inventory

Including or excluding categories is a relatively simple effort that can have a positive impact on the brand while keeping their customers content and comfortable by not appearing alongside sensitive topics.

Be sensitive around creative and what advertisers are featuring

  • This can range from the tone of the message, the creative used (crowds of people in an ad, pre-pandemic interactions, etc.) and context of the copy should be carefully assessed
  • Small creative tweaks are also beneficial, not only to show sensitivity during this time but to refresh the creative when getting into a studio environment is less than desirable
  • Many consumers are honed-in on-brand messaging at this time—it is in the best interest of the advertiser to alter any creative or messaging that could be viewed as insensitive

The best practice is to constantly reassess campaigns, placements and creative. What was set up two weeks ago may not be relevant today. So, be in tune with different touchpoints, consumer feedback and continue to monitor the situation.

Making a concerted and conscious effort to keep your brand aligned and authentic will help you avoid the controversy that can come with ad placements. These are only a few steps, but being relevant and supportive of the climate will be helpful to everyone in the long run! Our Blue Moon Digital team is here to answer any questions around brand safety or further support your brand on developing a successful, brand-safe program!