Average Media Planning Time Falls By 45%, Pre-/-Post Pandemic

In what could be an anathema for the 2020-21 upfront and other long-term media-buying decisions, U.S. ad execs say the average lead time for their media plans has been cut nearly in half since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The average amount of time for U.S. media plans has fallen to just 2.3 months post-pandemic vs. 4.2 months pre-pandemic, according to the most recent wave of tracking surveys conducted among advertisers and agency executives by Advertiser Perceptions.

Eighty-seven percent of the ad execs in the most recent survey -- Advertiser Perceptions' sixth wave, fielded June 10-15 -- said flexibility is the name of the game for the duration of negotiating contracts with the media.

"Tactical decisions are becoming increasingly strategic, and all is fluid and ever-changing," said one C-level executive from a financial services marketer interviewed by Advertiser Perceptions.



On the bright side, ad budgeting appears to be firming up as the spread between those ad executives -- both advertisers and agency media buyers -- increasing vs. decreasing ad spending is reducing by quarter. While a greater percentage (40%) of execs still expect to decrease spending in the fourth quarter vs. those increasing (23%), it's moving in a positive trajectory vs. the second and third quarters.

1 comment about "Average Media Planning Time Falls By 45%, Pre-/-Post Pandemic".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 15, 2020 at 7:35 a.m.

    Joe, assuming that the data is correct and represents all advertisers, I would interpret this as  evidence that a lot of plans were abruptly altered---with new ones substituted---because of the pandemic---hence the short lead time. If a typical marketer operates on a 12-month planning cycle, it's hard to see how most plans will be developed on only a few months notice in a more normal future as many of the buys will take place during the year, not all at once. As for the TV upfront, many advertisers require their brands to state their national TV " needs" well before a formal plan for the brand is even developed---thus locking  their brands into national TV and the corporate upfront buy in advance of the annual sales push by the networks. The brands have little say in the matter and certainly no flexibility regarding when they can state their GRP and other "needs". . This is one of the weaknesses of the upfront system ---but I don't see it changing anytime soon---once we return to normal.

Next story loading loading..