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Ad Spend: An Expected Dip and a Certain Rise

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As the country digs its heels in and prepares for months more disruption, turbulence and isolation, the marketing and business world too has been hit by adverse conditions. With most consumers now confined to their homes or with limited access to retail areas, shopping has drastically moved online. Interestingly, we’re not seeing an all-round growth figure despite this; ad spend figures have dropped by almost seventeen percent, falling to an expenditure figure for £21.13 billion for the year.

It’s a reflection of uncertainty. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting almost every country in the world hard and fast, the changing face of the UK’s economy means that business owners, analysts and consumers themselves are struggling to know what will come next.

Despite many industries reporting significant increases in revenue due to a suddenly all-online consumer base, the overall dip in ad spend figures is demonstrating what many closures and bankruptcies across the country are stating too: we’re still not sure what’s coming or how to adapt to it. 

Format performance

In the past year, Digiconomy have seen the expected strong performance from online and digital advertising. Interestingly, although not surprisingly, these two formats of advertising are set to decline by a smaller amount than traditional – likely a reflection of shoppers being online during quarantine and social isolation. Video on demand (VOD), a growing industry that performed well in 2019, is set to see a decline in growth.

Despite concerning figures, analysts are pinning hopes on a plentiful 2021 wherein industries are able to open up once more to renewed and eager consumers. 

Time to spend

Despite the uncertainty that is wracking so many businesses and executives, analysts are also advocating for the importance of ad spend and the communication it allows. CEOs such as Stephen Woodford of the Advertising Association have stressed the importance of advertising for businesses during a crisis situation. Reminding that most businesses will still continue to spend almost or all of their ad budget this year, now more than ever is the time to focus that spend and to prioritise honest, personalised communication and advertisement. 

Build trust

Amidst worries about the state of the UK economy and the industries within it lies the possibility for your business to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in superior shape. Although these months ahead are challenging, many companies are seeing the writing on the wall – and they’re adjusting their strategy to match.

During a crisis situation like the one we find ourselves in now, it’s vital you communicate with your clients, customers and audience. People look to those that influence them consciously and subconsciously, prizing a message that is clear and honest during a difficult period.

For many companies, this means getting focused and creative with your personalisation in marketing. The more you are able to build a dialogue directly with you and your audience and their defined personas, the better you’ll be able to maintain a conversation and to stay in their minds. 

With a little care and attention, you can build a narrative campaign for your business during the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be as simple as a story or promise to stay in touch every day on socials, but it can build to be something that gives a real competitive edge to your company when the country opens up from lockdown more fully.

Best wishes!

Although the dangers are real and have already sunk many businesses, those who have survived so far have a real opportunity to push forward and to hone new areas of their services and capabilities. As 2021 looms ever closer, we wish you the best for your endeavours in the next year.  

About the author


Tim Woodley