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Talk Social: 21 April, 2020

Digital ad spend up during lockdown

Under the UK’s stay-at-home orders, many brands have had no choice but to postpone campaigns and cut their ad spending. In the first two weeks of March, travel brands cut their ad spending by about 50 per cent compared to this time last year, according to analytics company MediaRadar.

However, not all brands are suffering. Businesses relating to cleaning, TV streaming, food delivery services and virtual video conferencing have seen an uptake in sales. That demand is translating into boosted ad spend, with a 25 per cent year-on-year increase overall in ad spending on digital platforms for the first half of March.

Amazon Prime Video, Dial and Uber Eats are among some of the brands boosting their social ads to take advantage of the current increased demand.

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Stay at home festivals

Summer 2020 is going to look a whole lot different this year, especially for music fans who were hoping to attend one of the UK’s many festivals. From Glastonbury to Download, festivals across the UK and beyond have now been cancelled or postponed till 2021.

However, some events have turned to digital to offer their fans a festival experience in their own homes. Burning Man, which is held in Nevada, USA, announced this week they too would cancel their event for the first time since its creation in 1986 but offered festival-goers the chance to participate in a one-off streamed event.

Last weekend was a big one for live-streaming, with the One World: Together at Home event which saw contributions from stars including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Tom Jones and Michael Bublé beamed into the homes of millions around the world.

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Brands use social media as a force for good

It can be tricky to know what content brands should publish at this time as much regular content could easily appear irrelevant or insensitive. However, research from market research company Kantar found that 92 per cent of the UK did not think that brands should stop advertising all together during the crisis. 

For brands that do choose to communicate to audiences about the crisis, then its messaging must be supportive of local governments’ and health organisations while staying true to their brand values. 

There are ample opportunities for brands to do good right now. Some of the campaigns which have received positive media coverage include Crocs giveaway of clogs to health workers, Gymshark’s fundraising appeal for freelance PTs and JBL adapting their logo to encourage people to social distance. 

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Public turn against brands

On the other side, we have seen the public and the press turn against companies who have been seen to act irresponsibly or without compassion during these times.

The past few weeks have seen a backlash against bar chain JD Wetherspoon as they initially announced they would no longer pay their staff’s wages or suppliers during the shutdown. The company has since U-turned on this and agreed to pay around 43,000 workers up to 80 per cent of their salary while the company’s bars remain closed.

More recently, B&Q’s decision to reopen 14 stores nationally with improved social distancing measures has received negative reactions from social media and in the press. Included in this was Councillor Helen-Ann Smith who lashed out after pictures emerged showing huge queues at the reopened store, with some people not standing two metres apart.

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Pinterest search trends during lockdown

As with all the large social media networks, Pinterest is seeing a surge in usage. The platform is currently experiencing a 60 per cent increase in searches, a 43 per cent increase in board creation and a 30 per cent increase click-throughs compared to last year.

From looking at the search trends, it is clear that, as people are stuck at home, they are turning to Pinterest for inspiration whether it be new hobbies, trying out more complicated recipes or finding lesson plans and craft activities for kids.

In the parenting category, searches for ‘science experiments for kids’ are up 4 times and searches for ‘indoor activities for kids’ are up 14 times. In the hobbies category both ‘gardening for beginners’ and ‘embroidery for beginners’ are up 2.6 times.

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