Since we started this newsletter, our friend, Tom Hanks, has been an unofficial mascot of our COVID-19 analysis. His diagnosis represented a dividing line of sorts between the pre and post-pandemic world. His recovery was our recovery. He was the Woody to our Andy. The Turner to our Hooch. The Jenny to our Gump. The Wilson to our Chuck Noland (I looked it up. Had no idea what his name was in Castaway. No one did. He was just stranded, Tom Hanks). So it is with some sadness that we must say goodbye to Tom. He has been an incredible guide to helping us move from incredible depths of despair to the peaks of recovery. It is bittersweet. We lose Tom, but in doing so, we have gained Ad Spend. Goodnight, sweet prince. May your frequency caps be generous, your blocklists light, and your CPMs hearty.
The good news, depending on your feeling towards this newsletter, is that we are going to continue to publish Marketplace Pulse without Tom but with some minor adjustments. The first change is going to be the cadence. We are moving from weekly to twice a month. It will give us a longer horizon to look at trends and provide insight. It will also mean I don’t have to spend every weekend thinking of new and pithy ways to talk about Ad Spend. Folks, if it wasn’t immediately obvious, the tank was getting low. The spike in traffic over at thesaurus.com was almost entirely me.
The second change is going to be how we look at trending data. We have a few ideas and may experiment a bit. Feedback is, of course, welcome. Don’t be shocked if we move things around from time to time to try and get a better angle on the activity we are seeing. This data was always meant to help directionally. A light benchmark for your own data. Which means we can have some fun with it too. If you were relying solely on this data for strategic decisions, I don’t know what to tell you. That’s a bold move. I wouldn’t use a newsletter that spends half the time cracking ad puns myself, but much respect if you did.
Hope you are Staying Safe, Healthy, and Happy.
EVP, Global Marketplace Development
What a way to send off, TH. Auto and Travel didn’t quite make it over the bar, but it was a valiant effort. Both will rebound but with case counts rising Travel may hit more snags. Every other category is above its Pre-COVID baseline, and on the whole, above baseline. The Media category is always volatile. It’s good to see the Entertainment category fight its way back.
Vroom Vroom Vroom: Let me Hear You Say WAY-O
Auto continues its impressive recovery. In April, sales plummeted with massive uncertainty given Buyers stayed at home. Factories shut down, and automakers pulled back on advertising in response. May and June saw pretty dramatic recoveries in domestic sales. While Auto, like most industries, will be down overall for 2020, the rebound has inspired a lot of confidence in manufacturers.
Entertainment experienced volatile swings since the pandemic began, but the category recently started hitting new highs. Xbox and Playstation, sports leagues, gambling, as well as bars & restaurants all fit into the Entertainment category. The fast serve industry has picked up quite a bit. It continues to innovate ways to get you food fast, cheap, and with as little contact as possible.
The Sports industry has had to get creative- no pun intended- to think about how it can and should return. No fans, no problem.
Q3 will be underway by the time we publish the next newsletter. It will be a new terrain. Many of the externalities that sparked chaos in the early days of the pandemic have dissipated. Creative has been reworked, strategies aligned, and budgets restored. In a normal year, July is softer than June. Summer vacations and the end of the school year usually mean most budgets slow down a bit. This year I suspect that will be different. If things continue the way they have, I suspect we will see a stronger start in July – beating June and setting us up for a relatively strong Q3.