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Brands communicating covid-19

How Brands Communicate in the Post-COVID-19 Era

Richard ClaytonRichard Clayton
December 24, 2020

Today, consumers are constantly changing the way they consume media, which ad messaging they prefer, and how they feel about different styles and topics. The global COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed everything. With more stress and anxiety, many have lost their daily routines of work and socializing, which affects the way that they feel about messaging.

At our recent Beyond 24-hour global virtual summit for digital business, we couldn’t ignore the massive impact that the pandemic has had on the global economy and business markets worldwide. Many business owners aren’t sure how to communicate with their audience when so many attitudes and emotions have changed.


Fortunately, Taboola, the world’s largest content publishing platform, has gathered a huge amount of data about consumer response and attitudes to brands since COVID-19 began. Nadav Perry, VP Sales Strategy and Media Operations at Taboola, shared some exciting trends and important insights that he’s put together from the thousands of content marketing campaigns on Taboola’s ad platform since the start of the pandemic. 

News Consumption Surged

In April, which was the peak of lockdowns worldwide, the number of visits to news sites surged 46% above normal rates. People wanted to be informed about the latest headlines and news flashes, and they checked them again and again throughout the day. Even now, visits to news sites are 28% higher than they were in the pre-COVID-19 era.

Media Consumption Patterns Shifted 

It’s not just that people are checking the news more often. The pattern of consumption changed too. People are consuming media on mobile far more than they used to before COVID-19.

They’re also beginning to look at media sources as soon as they wake up in the morning, and maintaining high media consumption levels all day. Pre-COVID-19, media consumption would rise in the afternoon as people finished work. Instead of media use peaking at weekends, now users are enjoying the same amount of media all week long.

Consumers are Triggered by Different Images

Taboola harvests a huge amount of data which you can tap into for free, to help you understand what’s going on with your advertising and tweak your settings. Data should inform your choices of when, where, and how to communicate with your target audience.

Among the interesting new trends they’ve spotted, Taboola has seen people clicking more on ads with images of people in them than ads without people, and clicking even more on images of people enjoying themselves outdoors than of people enjoying themselves indoors. These insights sound obvious once you hear them, but they can make a big difference to the impact of your advertising campaigns.

Consumers are Overwhelmed

One of the important patterns that Taboola has noted is that people are simply overwhelmed right now.

Researchers talk about the “cognitive load.” Cognitive load is how busy your brain is at any given moment. When cognitive load is too high, it affects your memory and how open you are to new ideas and messages. Right now, the average consumer is being bombarded by over 10,000 marketing messages per day, on top of all the news they’re consuming. It’s just too much.

 As a result, many marketing messages are falling on deaf ears. Studies tracking people’s eye patterns while scrolling showed that they aren’t looking at display ads any more. Ads are literally going unseen.

Look for Moments of Next

Moments of next are the transition points between tasks, like when someone has just finished reading an article and is ready for the next one. Taking advantage of a moment of next would mean placing an ad at the end of an article instead of in the middle of one.

During moments of next, cognitive load is 10% lower, so the brain is less busy and marketers have a better opportunity to communicate their messages. Taboola and Nielsen found that ads shown during moments of next get 25% more attention from consumers, have 23% more emotional impact, and create 2.5 more favorable memories for the brand. 

Use Data to Help Communicate When Times are Changing

It’s difficult to know how to communicate with consumers when everything is changing so quickly. Data from sources like Taboola can give you insights into how your consumers are thinking, reacting, and behaving, so you can improve your consumer messaging and succeed with communications.

To learn more on how to effectively communicate with your consumers during hardships, check out the full session below!


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