What Are the Big Challenges for Advertisers & Marketers Right Now?

November 10, 2020

What’s Going to Happen Next and How Do We Respond? 

Those two have to be at the top of the listquestions that probably have been keeping a lot of usincluding CMOs, brand managers and agency teamsup at night the past several months.

Put another way: how do we react minute-by-minute to the unprecedented speed and magnitude of changing events that has suddenly become the new normal?

Things were moving pretty fast before COVID-19 but now the game has ratcheted up several levels. It seems that every day brings multiple pivotal moments. And it likely won’t ever go back to the way it was.

The world is moving at warp speed now

The pandemic has magnified our reliance on connected devices—to communicate about personal and business matters, to get news and opinions, to share comments…and comment on the comments until sometimes they come full circle and become news items of their own.

No wonder a survey released just last week showed that CMOs in the US feel their biggest challenge is understanding consumer behavior changes. And number three  was aligning with new/changing customer sentiment.1

Audiences Are Moving Faster Than We Can React

Back in March, prior to quarantine, two-thirds of Americans were checking their smartphones an average of 166 times per day. That was up from 96 times per day the previous year, so imagine what the number is now.2 

66% of Americans check their phones 166 times a day

Some other signs of the times:

  • Global content consumption has doubled since the start of the pandemic, with 48% of consumers spending more time on social media.3 
  • For Q2 2020, Twitter increased its year-over-year Monetizeable Daily Active Users (mDAU) to 186 million, a 34% increase, which is the highest quarterly year-over-year growth rate delivered since the company began reporting mDAU growth.4 
  • Mobile app usage surged 25% in the third quarter of 2020 as people continue to work and find entertainment online during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from app data and analytics website App Annie.5 

Here are a couple more indicators of the acceleration and virality of information. When you consider that as many people get their news from social media as get it from direct news sources now, and 57% of them get it from Facebook and YouTube6

  • U.S. audiences are now watching 2,351,949,456 YouTube videos a day, up 15% since the beginning of March.7 
  • Facebook daily active users (DAUs) were 1.79 billion on average for June 2020, an increase of 12% year-over-year.8 

Media Planning Can’t Stay Ahead of the Storm

The world is changing at warp speed now and this tectonic shift in the flow and mass of information, opinion and reaction is disrupting marketing calendars like never before. 

eMarketer reported in May that an Advertiser Perceptions survey of 151 U.S. agencies and brand marketers revealed they had cut the time for media planning in half from pre-pandemic levels for all types of media, aggregated. 

Six months later, many planners have reduced that planning time to a few days or less. And we see traditional upfronts continuing to lose value because COVID-19 has shown us how quickly and completely the marketing calendar can be upended.


It’s Not Just About Threats—It’s About Opportunities…At Speed

Potentially significant events now arise several times a day. We’re familiar with the threats some of these events can pose to brand image. But equally important are the opportunities—for aligning more closely with audiences and increasing their brand loyalty as they move toward or away from news and events.

Responding proactively to significant events in market requires speed because the window for response often closes very quickly—within a day or two in many cases. Responding appropriately requires a way to “humanize” a brand and gain a comprehensive understanding of how it thinks and feels in those moments.

Our research, informed by discussions with customers and industry partners, has led us to develop a solution that is opportunistic for all parties—advertisers & marketers, agencies and publishers alike. It encompasses brand safety and suitability under the umbrella of a brand’s unique worldview and “human-like” mindset that aligns with its audiences. We call it Brand Mentality. 

We’re currently sharing details and gathering additional insights through a series of small virtual seminars. To learn more, please use this form to request an upcoming session:

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  1. Biggest Challenge for CMOs? Understanding Consumer Behavior Changes
  2. 66% of Americans Check Phone 160 Times a Day, Here’s How Your Business Can Benefit
  3. Global Online Content Consumption Doubles in 2020, Research Shows
  4. Twitter Poised for Take Off as Users Grow, Ads to Boom
  5. Mobile app usage surged 25% in Q3 as coronavirus keeps people home
  6. 5 global news consumption trends in charts
  7. SocialBlade YouTube Stats
  8. Facebook Reports Second Quarter 2020 Results’20-FB-Financial-Results-Press-Release.pdf