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Advertising investment and Media consumption during the Lockdown

Lockdown impact on media consumption and advertising

It’s been more than 2 months from the lockdown beginning, and all of us are almost tired to underline how the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic has changed the communication context

In over a month, it has had an unprecedented impact, forcing us to quickly change habits and lifestyles

In a few weeks, we have experienced various steps: from a disbelief and disorientation phase to a social responsibility phase, guided by a pragmatic reaction to the reconstruction of alternative routines, experiencing also a social tension connected to the perception of the economic impact of the lock-down.

In this context, the behaviors and perceptions of individuals, both as human beings and as consumers, have undergone strong changes and adaptations, with an impact on the business and communication models of companies.

The impact on advertising buying plans is worrying:

investment in advertising chart

Investing today can generate greater efficiency and allow companies to work on the closeness sense of the Brand, creating long-term value.

We can say that the entire Communication Industry has experienced important changes, especially in the use of the media, both in terms of audience and time spent and attention by consumers.

New Italian Media Consumptions habits


It is possible to encounter a generalized and important growth in reach/audience and average time spent on the medium, for the first time also distributed among the most troublesome age groups (younger people). 

On a daily basis, the peak of viewers continues to be the evening slot (at 21:00) with over half of Italian people in front of the television. But it is the “day time” that has benefited from the situation, with an of 52% of the increase.

Time spent on television data
Source: Auditel Adulti = Adults; Bambini = Children

Digital Channels

Digital media are more than ever “always-on”, with an average time spent that has increased for each digital device. The number of users connected per day remains above the historical average (growth is mainly driven by news and information sites).

Unique audience data
Source: Auditel Unique audience data


All the main VOD (Video on Demand) / Streaming platforms have recorded important uplift, between 5% and 15% depending on the platform.

You know, communication is communication! Even in a completely new context, some rules are not changed, so consumers expect brands to “empathize” with their needs and emotions. 

Now it is important than ever, to understand the needs, emotions, and moods of consumers. Without any doubt, the role of Advertising has never been so important, in a time where  Brands must be aware not only of the great opportunity offered by the current context but, above all, of own social responsibility. They should bring a sense of security,  normality, positivity, and messages of comfort and reassurance to the Italian homes.

Recent surveys have confirmed that this is exactly what people, consumers expect from brands; something that helps them to feel a sense of normalcy in their lives and that generates positivity in the new routine … to help in everyday life but also giving a perspective on how they will contribute to building a better way for the future.

It is a big responsibility for Brands, that have to find a way to meet consumer expectations but at the same time benefit from the help given, without having a devastating impact on their income statement.

Irrelevant” or “irreverent“: this is what Brands have to avoid being. A great dilemma for a  Brand today, to decide to be silent or to start communicating again, but communicating means knowing “what”, “when” and “how” to communicate.

Therefore, the ability to reinterpret and reinvent communication codes and languages ​​in real-time is fundamental because consumers tend to interpret “old and new communications” in the light of the changed context. The expressions and icons that until yesterday could have been an ironic game, can now lead to annoyance.

Now it’s up to creativity! Never before, creativity was called to adapt in real-time to new needs and managing that delicate balance between the need to be close to its consumers and never appearing opportunistic.

Advertising examples during coronavirus
Other Advertising examples during coronavirus

Communicating now means strong adaptability, speed in understanding the context, and certain courage in the short term; but it is only through this courage that we can lay the foundations for a recovery in the medium term.

Never before communication has been so efficient and within the reach of so many companies that before it could not access certain channels.