We may never know the full extent of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on America's industrial productivity -- including the ad industry's -- but by at least one vital measure -- the amount of business-related content it consumes -- Madison Avenue appears to be returning to normal.
The snapshot you see above is a composite of the average weekly increases in content consumption taking place within the digital domains of major ad agencies and the top 500 brands using a powerful new index created by Bombora for MediaPost.
Importantly, the index also utilizes Bombora's proprietary method for associating those workplace domains with employees' work-at-home locations, so it is representative of all the business content consumption activity taking place pre- and post- the pandemic-related stay-at-home orders.
If you eyeball the chart, you will see that content interest crashed for both the leading advertisers and agencies by the third week of March, following stay-at-home orders in many key states.
But as of Bombora's tracking through the week of May 3, both advertisers and agencies appear to be reaching the same level of content consumption interest they were exhibiting in mid-February, before the national health crisis began disrupting business and consumer patterns.
In terms of the top topics being accessed by Madison Avenue, Facebook's WhatsApp peer-to-peer communications app was the top interest among both advertisers and agencies.
According to Bombora Senior Analyst Marketing and Sales Chi Huang, these are the key terms the ad industry has been researching during the pandemic.