The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is not stopping anytime soon. As of 12 April, Malaysia had 184 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 4,530. Meanwhile on 10 April, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin extended the Movement Control Order by another two weeks to 28 April. The advertising industry has no doubt been impacted during this period, with clients either holding back spending or are required to quickly rethink their strategies to suit the current landscape.
A+M speaks to leaders in the agency space on how the advertising scene has changed during COVID-19 and whether they have seen a dip in ad spend.
Parames Dorai, group chief business officer, FOREFRONT
Businesses have either had to kickstart or accelerate their digital transformation, to shift towards eCommerce to sustain their businesses or to focus on promoting brand awareness on digital platforms. Virtual events such as webinars and training courses are more common now, as brands try to connect and interact with their audience through these digital experiences. Brands that were hesitant to adopt social tools such as Instagram Live, podcasts, and TikTok are also readily embracing them to expand their reach.
Staying connected to their customers and employees during this pandemic is crucial for businesses. These advertising changes they have made are likely to go beyond this crisis and carry over to becoming the new norm. It is important to note that the cost to advertise is now lower for most industries, due to the lowered cost per click on digital channels such as Facebook, which is typical during the post-New Year period. Currently, these platforms are where clients are investing time and effort to reach their consumers currently. So while there has been an expected decrease in ad spend during this period, clients are also funnelling their ad spend towards where it matters digitally and heightening their focus on organic engagement.