Maximize Your Media Mix

Shift spending toward surging brand channels to reflect consumer viewing trends during and following COVID-19. As more states ease restrictions on businesses and public gatherings, marketers are challenged to help boost sales and awareness, often with much tighter budgets. What are the channel strategies that offer the most engagement effectiveness for the least cost? 

“It’s time to shift media spending to surging channels,” says Nicole Howerton, co-founder and managing partner of Howerton+White, an integrated marketing agency specializing in full-funnel audience engagement strategies. “Whatever media dollars are available should follow audiences and right now that means a move toward specific channels.”

"Scale up your marketing spend in channels that align with consumer behavior shifts. Remember that your media mix is not just about reach but also relevance, so adjust both channels and content mix to align with new activities and information consumption."

Many surveys indicate that viewing patterns established during the height of the COVID-19 crisis will likely continue through 2020. As you consider how to wisely allocate limited funds, here are the recommended strategies companies across all industries should be prioritizing for media budgets:

Television and Desktop — An internet user survey from Global Web Index in early April shows 38% of U.S. respondents ages 16 to 64 are watching more broadcast TV, 38% are watching more online video, and 37% are consuming content through streaming TV shows and movies. Here are two ways to take advantage of this greater screen time:

  • Match campaigns to your target audience’s preferred channels. Generations are consuming media differently. Gen Z (16-23 years old) has increased online video consumption by 51%, with online TV/streaming increasing by 38%. Millennials’ (24-37 years old) viewing and listening preferences are increasing among many channels, including online video by 44%, online TV/streaming by 41%, online press by 36%, and broadcast TV and music streaming up by 35%.
  • Take advantage of this trend with a contextual advertising strategy, matching the theme and content of your ad with the theme and content of the website or destination of the viewer. With more people reading about health issues, economic forecasts, and news, consider how your message can be helpful and relevant in this time.

Paid Social — The Global Web Index report also found 49% of responders say they are reading more new stories on social media, and that news was the primary motivator to use social networks across markets, gender, and income levels. Perhaps not surprisingly, 41% of said they have increased social media use to connect with friends and family more. Here are the ways key social networks are being used now; be sure to match your content with consumer motivation:

  • Google Search: finding helpful information
  • YouTube: inspiration and project how-to’s
  • Facebook: increased news consumption and connecting with family and friends
  • Instagram and TikTok: entertainment and escaping reality
  • LinkedIn: job searches and connections with co-workers and industry colleagues

Display Networks — Take advantage of your online audiences through remarketing campaigns, using paid online ads to answer the questions your customers are asking. Display advertising offers the opportunity to focus messages for specific audiences, manage frequency, and test resonance.

Email — Inexpensive and effective, email is a great tool for tough times. Move messages from product focused to service focused. Email provides the opportunity to drive personalized communications, which is important given the fast-changing realities within any industry. 

Tracking your specific audience is key to understanding where, when, and how to adjust your media strategies. And, in this quickly changing landscape, constantly reassessing campaigns is important. What worked two weeks ago may not work tomorrow. 

By shifting limited media dollars to placements with significantly higher usage — while monitoring tone, message, visuals, and keywords — brands can engage existing and new customers with what is most helpful in this time of need.

If you have questions about paid media strategies or any of the suggestions in this article, we’re here to help. At Howerton+White we understand every business and organization has unique challenges and goals. We can help guide you through immediate and long-term ways to better target your audiences. Reach us at or call  316.262.6644.