Ad Sentiment Deteriorates For Near Term, Focus More On Pandemic Than Economic Factors

The sentiment for second- and third-quarter ad spending has deteriorated significantly over the past couple of weeks as the longer-term reality of the pandemic has set in among major marketers and agency media buyers. That's the finding of two surveys of top ad executives conducted by Advertiser Perceptions.

During the most recent wave conducted from April 1-4, 86% of ad executives said the second quarter and 43% said the third quarter would experience "major" impacts from the effects of COVID-19. That's up 69% and 28%, respectively, from a survey conducted March 17-20.

The outlooks for the fourth quarter remain relatively constant, while executives responding to the second wave see relatively moderate, minor or no impact on their ad-spending plans for the first quarter of 2021. (The first wave did not ask about the impact on the first quarter of 2021.)



Asked specifically whether they were holding back and/or cancelling planned ad campaigns, respondents showed a marked deterioration in their plans between the two waves, including a 15-percentage-point rise in the percentage holding back campaign launches, and a 10-percentage-point rise in the percentage canceling campaigns completely. (See data below).

Interestingly, a significant percentage of ad executives said they were basing their advertising plans on signals surrounding the pandemic and not economic or ad marketplace indicators.

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