How have marketing budgets and strategies changed due to COVID-19? Find out here

Agencies and performance marketers are feeling the impact of budget cuts the most.

How have marketing budgets and strategies changed due to COVID-19? Find out here

To help the industry understand and proactively get through these uncertain times, LinkedIn teamed up with Vision Critical to research how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected ad agencies and marketers over the last few months.

The duo surveyed 450 marketers in the first week of May to dive into budget cuts, tactical shuffles, strategies, realignments and more.

Budget cuts, perhaps unsurprisingly, are keeping marketers up at night more than anything else these days.

Agencies (52 percent) and performance marketers (45 percent) in the survey said they’re feeling the impact of budget cuts the most. And nearly three in four (72 percent) of marketers cite budget reductions as a top reason for pulling back digital marketing investments.

However, even though budgets are a major concern, marketers aren’t too focused on rethinking the consumers they’re trying to reach, with 66 percent saying that changing their target audience was not a challenge, with only 1 percent identifying it as a top concern.

Find other key findings and infographics below.

  • Budget reductions and cuts are common: 42 percent of respondents cited budget cuts as a "significant challenge," more than any other answer. 74 percent said cuts were presenting a challenge at some level. 
  • Experiences shift to online: 40 percent of marketers said they’re planning to move events online, if they haven’t already. Another 13 percent are considering the possibility of virtual formats. 
  • Messaging strategies are adapting: 47 percent say they’ve increased focus on emotional and human-centric content. Considerably fewer (31 percent) say they are emphasizing product-centered content.
  • The rise of organic social content: More than half of marketers say they’re increasing the prevalence of social (55 percent) and thought leadership (53 percent) in their content marketing strategies. Interestingly, paid social has seen both a substantial increase (39 percent) and decrease (25 percent), with only 36 percent of marketers holding steady. 
  • Webinars are up, events are down: The biggest increases have been in webinars (67 percent), organic social (56 percent) and online video (44 percent). Conversely, the tactics and channels seeing the largest decreases include events/experiential (80 percent), out-of-home (39 percent) and TV (33 percent).

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