Market Update 3.27.20: Human impact on teams; Twitch is relevant; CPMs continue to drop

March 27, 2020

We are at the end of week number two of “work from home” and now for many of us “stay at home” orders. The balancing gymnastics of emotions, children, stresses, work-life, and small joy-making activities are Olympian, if I may use a little current levity for a moment.

For today’s briefing, I am going to add a new element to the reporting — the humans. It’s all fine and dandy to share with you what we’re seeing and experiencing in the digital media market, but I believe it’s more important for us to share some examples of what we’re doing here at Ciceron to maintain and build intimacy with our team. My hope is that you find some inspiration for your teams as well. Clients are also telling us they are finding joy in the levity of everyday Zoom calls and social media updates. 

 

ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM

That was our driving force before this crisis, and we have had to make significant investments to continue that dream.

SPIRIT WEEK

This week has been spirit week! 

Monday: Hat/Head Wear

Tues: Formal Attire

Wed: Ciceron Pride

Thurs: Patterns

Fri: PJs & Coffee

CARDS, CANDY & FLOWER DELIVERY

Our office manager extraordinaire, Sherry Dopp, put 212 miles on her car on Wednesday personally delivering cards, flowers and candy (mostly for the kids…but let’s be honest, parents grubbed!) to each and every staff member. The only downside? NO HUGS! It was brutally hard.

HAPPY HOURS, ZOOM BACKGROUNDS & ST. PADDY’S DAY

You simply cannot cancel a party. We don’t just don’t roll like that.

The point of all of this is to keep spirits high. We are so grateful and fortunate right now that the agency is extraordinarily busy as digital campaigns have become so necessary. That is comforting in and of itself, but being busy while maintaining happiness is better.

 

ONTO THE TRENDS OF THE MOMENT

I’m going to use a word my brother invented years ago — “prepologize.” I prepologize for all of this, but I need to talk about trends as positive and beneficial, even though our brains are messy. I’m squarely in the camp that business continuity and even growth is a good thing, even under the circumstances. So please don’t read any of this as celebratory, rather factually honest considering we believe that growth is good. The operating procedure is lemonade from lemons.

CPMs CONTINUE TO DROP AS INVENTORY INCREASES

What we’re seeing is that major brands are skittish while smaller, more nimble brands are picking up in an attractive market for low CPMs on relatively premium inventory. Just like the 2008-2009 crash, direct response advertisers, ecommerce brands, and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are swarming online to build their brands in channels that historically were largely unavailable to them for financial reasons. Our recommendation remains that for brands who typically do not participate in brand awareness channels but have financial flexibility and fluidity now is absolutely a buyer’s market. There is a window right now, and it is open. And it will close.

ECOMMERCE CONTINUES TO SPIKE

According to Comscore, ecommerce is at an all-time high, with 779M visits to Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others. As I mentioned earlier this week, our own clients are experiencing similar spikes. Some have even moved to a more “outlet” style ecommerce strategy to move existing inventory because of uncertain supply chains.

TESTING NEW CHANNELS, TWITCH IN PARTICULAR

This is an interesting observation. There are many channels that have existed for some time with heavy consumer usage, but have largely fallen under the radar of most media plans. One in particular is Twitch, the Amazon owned streaming game platform. According to GlobalWebindex, Ipsos Knowledge Panel, 29% are saying they are spending more time playing video games. And Twitch is the streaming service that accompanies their play time.

Here’s a very good piece from Forbes on Twitch’s rise.

CONCLUSION

No one can predict the future. And I’m certainly not trying to do that. We can only respond in near real time to the trends in consumer behavior. Media planning processes seemed to have gone out the door a couple of weeks ago, and we’re moving money and creative around as needed. Fortunately, digital provides for that. 

We will continue to monitor and share everything we’re seeing as it happens. As always, please reach out to me or your account lead at Ciceron with any questions or concerns. Now, take a walk in nature. Unplug. Be with your people. Seek and find joy in whatever dose is presented.

Our best,

Andrew 

CEO, CICERON