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Smartly COVID 19 Social Ad Engagement Jun2020Some 38% of US consumers are more open to engaging with ads on social media since the COVID-19 pandemic, but consumer sentiment has shifted since March, according to a report [download page] from Smartly.io. In what has been a changing landscape for most industries, the study examines what audiences expect from social advertisers and marketers.

With stay-at-home directives being put in place across the globe, many consumers were increasing their screen time and discovering new brands at the time of the survey, particularly in those countries with stricter lockdown measures. In both Italy and Spain, 7 in 10 reported having seen ads from brands that they hadn’t purchased before (69% and 70% respectively). Globally, respondents in each country surveyed were more likely to say they had seen more new ads during the pandemic than not, but more significantly so in India (74%), Singapore (69%), France (54%) and the UK (54%).

Fortunately for social advertisers, in many countries the majority of consumers claimed to be more open to engaging with ads on social media since the pandemic. Nine in 10 (92%) Indian respondents reported being more open to social ads, as did two-thirds (67%) in Spain, 63% in Italy, 62% in Singapore and 52% in Germany. Respondents in the US lagged in this regard, with 38% saying they were more inclined to engage with social ads as a result of the pandemic.

That said, consumers have opinions of what brands’ ad content should look like right now, with this sentiment is changing over time. Between March and May, the top priority for US consumers changed from wanting brands to address the situation with appropriate messaging, to wanting ads for products relevant to them right now. Indeed, in this latest survey, the largest share of overall respondents (44%) wanted brands to offer products that are useful in a stay-at-home economy.

When it comes to ad types, consumers in all countries surveyed are more inclined to photo and video ads than Stories or messaging ads. In France, Spain, India and Italy, more would prefer to see video ads than photo ads, while those in other countries such as the US, Australia, Japan and the Netherlands are roughly equally open to photo and video ads.

The full report on social advertising in the COVID-19 landscape is here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 5,000 global consumers.

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