A Month Later, IAB Finds 'Buy-Side' More Resolute About Ad Cuts: Especially For Traditional Media

A month deeper into the pandemic crisis, the ad industry's "buy-side" has become more resolute about disrupting previous ad plans for the year. That's the finding of an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) survey of advertisers and media buyers conducted mid-April vs. a comparable survey conducted in mid-March.

Roughly the same percentage (45% in April vs. 46% in March) say they have adjusted their advertising budgets -- presumably downward -- but the number that have paused ad campaigns has jumped to 37% from 24%.

Significantly, the percentage who were still taking a wait-and-see position declined from 16% in March to just 3% in April.

The second wave of IAB research also shows the spread expanding toward more traditional media budget cuts vs. digital.



The percentage of ad execs saying they have adjusted or paused ad spending plans in digital media actually improved four percentage points to 29%, while the number cutting traditional media spending plans expanded five percentage points to 44%.

That finding appears to be affirmed by recent earnings reports from big digital media companies including Google and Facebook in the past couple of days showing their advertising demand is much more resilient than analysts had predicted, though much of that stability is believed to be coming from long-tail, direct-to-consumer and small and medium size businesses, not necessarily the kind of big advertisers and agencies represented in the IAB studies.

In terms of "tactical" media-buying changes between the two research waves, the IAB found slight declines in the percentages of ad execs who say they are buying media programmatically vs. a slight rise in the percentage who say they are buying directly from "premium publishers."

It also detected a shift upward in the percentage of buys being made based on geotargeting and declines in the percentage buying based on demographic and/or audience targeting.

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