Upfront Predictions for an Unpredictable Time

What can we expect this Upfront/NewFront season as a result of COVID-19 and shifting consumer habits? Mike Menkes, SVP at Analytic Partners, weighs in. 

Greater uncertainty when investing spend: We may see advertisers demonstrating a higher level of caution this year than in years past as they are faced with bigger questions and uncertainty surrounding their budgets. What should be spent, how and where becomes much more complicated in a volatile and uncertain market. Advertisers likely feel confident about where their audiences are going to be; the question is how comfortable they are making spend decisions in advance when the short-term is considered more of a question mark. However, advertisers can bank on the recent shifts in consumer behavior sticking around for a while.

Consumer behaviors like digital consumption going up: The trends we’re seeing in digital content consumption in particular may have been accelerated due to stay-at-home orders and other side effects of the pandemic, but they were shifts that were already in-progress. The pandemic didn’t necessarily produce new behaviors so much as it accelerated and amplified those that already existed.

Data-driven decision-making will power advertisers through recovery: Our ROI Genome data has consistently shown that investing in advertising during an economic downturn is a smart move, and not doing so can risk losing revenue, market share and brand health – but advertisers need the right data to inform their decisions. Savvy marketers armed with existing research and a partnership with marketing measurement experts should still feel confident placing their bets. Even with many unknowns, a holistic understanding of which channels work, why, and how they impact business can lead to informed decisioning that drives brand growth.

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