The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact international markets around the world. Now, more than ever, we need to support both businesses and consumers during these times of uncertainty as marketing strategies and budgets begin to shift to meet the evolving needs where possible.

With news updates coming in daily and changes being ongoing, PerformanceIN will be bringing you a weekly roundup of the latest information on the pandemic and its impact on the wider digital marketing industry.

Here are just a handful of some of the top news stories this week on COVID-19:

Brands freezing marketing budgets

There’s no denying that businesses are adapting to short-term strategies in light of current circumstances. Particular brands and their marketing budgets, where a number of companies including Coca Cola are suspending their budgets in response to economic changes.

Affiliate programs and revenue

Meanwhile, there’s been news that fashion retailers are reporting closing affiliate marketing programs and links as the pandemic impacts on sale levels. In an exclusive report by BoF, brands such as Macy’s, Ulta, Dillard’s and TJ Maxx are terminating links in a bid to save costs, leaving content creators who might have brand sponsorships assigned in limbo.

High traffic to commerce content

Although revenue opportunities are fluctuating as the market response to the pandemic, some media outlets are reporting high traffic levels online. Businesses like The New York Times’ Wirecutter and Future have identified hikes in traffic to commerce content and expect that to translate to revenue, according to Digiday

However, as mentioned above, publisher commerce revenue lines could be at risk as retailers close their programs and merchants reduce commission rates for high demand products.

Supporting SMEs and publishers

Some good news to come out of these changes is that global network Awin has announced a number of measures to support its partners affected by the economic changes. 

The company has announced it will waive the monthly fee for the first three months for businesses launching an affiliate programme via its Awin Access Service. This is in addition to zero set up fees. In addition, the firm has confirmed that all its publishers will be notified at least seven days’ notice before any commission changes are made.

Unilever launches extensive Coronavirus programme

A number of food and consumer brands have been launching extensive programmes to support consumers, suppliers and employers. Unilever, in particular, has committed €100m to curtail the spread of coronavirus through the donation of soap, sanitizer, bleach and food to help protect the lives and livelihoods of its consumers, suppliers and workforce. 

Meanwhile, Campaign has reported that the firm is considering paying some of its smaller agencies and other suppliers early to help these partners address the economic difficulties they’re facing due to pandemic-related shutdowns

Ad spend on media channels shift

new study from PubMatic has shown dramatic shifts in category spending by global digital advertisers in the first two weeks of March.

For instance, news providers received a high uptake in advertising spend, up 52% from March 1 to March 18 followed by hobbies and interests (31%) technology and computing (14%) and education (13%). Meanwhile, travel ad spending has been cut by two-thirds, while digital advertising in sports has fallen 40%.  

Stay tuned next week for another roundup up of the latest COVID-19 headlines and stats impacting the digital marketing industry.