These Were the Leading Categories for Ad Spend in Q1 2020

May 28, 2020

Nielsen Top Advertising Categories in Q1 May2020For many advertisers, the COVID-19 outbreak has likely brought about difficult decisions. In a time of uncertainty, many will be questioning whether any form of advertising makes sense right now, and others are cutting their volume and spend (though there are arguments to be made that now is not the time to cut advertising). Nonetheless, new data from Nielsen illustrates the top 10 categories where marketers have chosen to place their advertising dollars as the current crisis unfolds – and unsurprisingly, healthcare received the greatest share.

In the study of ad spend across 21 markets, the healthcare category accounted for more than 1 in 10 (10.6% of) dollars spent in Q1 2020. However, with many more consumers staying inside and upping their screen time, advertisers have an opportunity to make a notable impact. Indeed, the influence of the global pandemic continues to show up in the data in other areas: at a time when people are consuming more news and information (including via Smart Speakers) as well as stocking up on groceries, the Media and Publishing (8.9%) and Food (8.9%) categories received the next highest shares of ad spend.

Automotive follows with 8.8% share of spend, ahead of Entertainment (7.5%). This latter category’s place in the top 10 figures over a period when viewing hours significantly increased on connected TV. Other top categories for the quarter included Financial (6.9%), Cosmetics and Toiletries (6.0%), Telecommunications (5.7%), Distribution Channels (5.1%) and Institutions (4.3%).

With all marketers feeling the need to adapt during the crisis, many will take initiative at this time, creating tasteful campaigns with a positive impact on audience engagement and brand reputation in the long-term.

MarketingCharts’ coronavirus data hub shows that COVID-19 has led to a change in brand strategy among the vast majority of marketers, and that traditional media has seen its costs deflate.

Read the full article here.

About the Data: Figures show the percentage share of advertising spend across 21 countries: Australia; Belgium; France; Germany; Indonesia; Ireland; Italy; Luxembourg; Malaysia; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Phillipines; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Singapore; South Africa; Spain; Thailand; UK; USA.


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