Social Distancing Makes Consumers Want To Engage More With Brands, Ads, Content

I never thought brands should completely pause advertising during this crisis. Hearing from the brands we love is one constant U.S. consumers have these days. It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

All the social distancing and self-isolating people are doing makes them want to hear more from brands that are willing to be sensitive, positive and kind, according to Unruly, a video advertising platform. 

Content is contributing to this trend. Just 2% of consumers believe brands should pause all advertising, while 48% say brands should create ads that provide information and 37% want ads to make them feel warm and happy, 

Consumers want to feel a sense of normalcy and consistency, with 17% saying they want ads to provide a sense of continuity and normalcy.

The study, titled COVID-19 Consumer Survey, aims to determine how the virus impacts consumer interests and behaviors.

Unruly, a division of Tremor International, surveyed 2,556 consumers globally in late March and found that overall time spent online rose in the U.S. Consumers say they now spend 50% more time on their mobile phone, 42% more time on their connected TV, and 35% more time on their laptop. They also spend 64% more time cooking and 43% more time reading.



The data also found that 53% of consumers prefer brands to communicate through TV ads. Only 22% of consumers are currently watching sports, while 59% are watching comedy. Some 47% have increased their time with home entertainment.

About 35% of consumers are more interested in hearing about online retail, excluding food, than before. About 45% say their interest is the same as before, and 42% of 18- to-24-year-olds would like brands to communicate through online video.

The data is intended to guide advertisers to better understand customers’ needs and adapt advertising strategies to maintain that connections with customers during challenging time.

One challenge is that daily U.S. routines are being drastically disrupted. Only 10% of those surveyed said they can continue on as normal, while 42% are self-isolating and 48% are social distancing. Some 22% of respondents want brands to share information on how they support their staff and customers during this time, and 21% want brand advertisements to include information about COVID-19.

Some 17% want brands to create amusing or positive content to distract from what is going on, and another 17% want some sort of content that provides a sense of continuity and normality.

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