ipg media brands - Belgium

Coronavirus: impacts on our media consumption

by Noelle Stevens - Trade Marketing Director // 19 Mar 2020

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The coronavirus has resulted in countless changes to our daily life, with the work from home (WFH) policy, schools closed, travel restrictions, bars and restaurants closed and sporting events canceled or postponed.

This virus is impacting almost every sector of the economy, media and advertising is no exception. 

In our country, we have daily audiences of television and digital. We have analyzed their results on the last 7 days:



Those past few days, we have seen a very clear increase in page views on measured websites.

The table below shows an overall increase of page views, video views and time spent, e.g. (source CIM)


By excluding the homepage of news websites, the increase is less spectacular but we are convinced that their number of page views is going to increase in the next few days. 


This increase leads to growing inventories. With some advertisers, e.g. in the travel industry, stopping their campaigns, we will most probably have more advertising space available to buy and less bidders. Thus, in the short term, we can expect a slight decrease in CPMs for programmatic buys.


Social media and Search

The coronavirus quickly became one of the most talked-about things on social media and searched keyword on Google. 

The visits figures in this table are taken from Similarweb. We see an important increase as from March 12, the day of the Government’s announcement. 

Another source tells us that Crisiscentrum's facebook page has gained 22% of new followers over the last 5 days to reach almost 38K fans.



People’s concerns about coronavirus have also been evident in our search history. Google queries of coronavirus in Belgium saw their first major rise relative to all search traffic toward the end of February. 
The total queries includes any type of search. Here’s that same trend indexed against other keywords like “Netflix” and “Amazon” for instance.



The closing of bars, restaurants, cinemas, etc. impacted our entertainment habits. Television has proven its importance and its place in our households. 
Hereunder the evolution vs the previous week in terms of live audience 4+ & guests. 



Interesting to note that on March 12, the day of the Government’s announcement, the public TV Channels have experienced a stronger increase in comparison to their private competitors:

  • +50% EEN vs +34% VTM & -24% VIER
  • +141% La Une vs +34% RTL-TVI & -42% TF1


To conclude

  • We’re facing a sanitary crisis, where brands are foremost  asked to demonstrate their added value.
  • Consumer's behavior proves to be very erratic. The basic brand and marketing principles will not change. Some will be tempted for more short-term indulgence messages, others will take the time to re-evaluate their current suppliers.
  • Appropriate advice regarding the adaptation of your communication campaign, heavily depends on the sector and situation you are in.  

Our experts and strategists are more than ever available to help you navigate through this unprecedented period.

Just send us an email.

Stay safe and take care.

ipg media brands - Belgium