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Only 1% of Thai Consumers Think Brands Should Pause Ad Campaigns During COVID-19 Pandemic

Study By Video Ad Tech Company Unruly Reveals COVID-19 is Reshaping Consumer Content Consumption, Spending Habits and Advertising Preferences

BANGKOK— May 21, 2020 — Keep on advertising – that’s the resounding message from consumers in Thailand to brands trying to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, with only 1% saying brands should pause their ad campaigns. But what sort of advertising do consumers want to see?

Video ad tech company Unruly, part of Tremor International, surveyed 4,800 consumers around the world to see how the pandemic is impacting consumers’ interests and behaviors.

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc among Thai consumers’ lifestyles, bringing about a fundamental change in digital consumption and spending habits. Consumers’ daily routines across Thailand have drastically changed, with only 22% continuing as normal, while 59% are practicing social distancing and 19% are self-isolating. As a result, their views on how brands should advertise to them have also changed.

With a lot of ad campaigns being put on hold or cancelled following the COVID-19 outbreak, the study found that almost half (48%) of Thais want brands to be more informative in their ad campaigns, with consumers particularly looking for advertisers to provide messages around COVID-19 (47%) and to share how they’re supporting staff and customers (15%).

Thai consumers also want ads that are inspiring (56%), heart-warming (42%) and amusing (30%).

The survey also revealed that time spent online has dramatically increased across Thailand — with 85% of consumers spending more time than before on their mobile phones. Connected TVs (50%), laptops (46%) and games consoles (46%) have also seen a huge increase in usage.

But what are they doing online? As a consequence of spending more time at home, more than 8 out of 10 Thais have increased their time spent watching online videos (82%), while three-quarters (76%) are spending more time on social media.

Other key findings include:

  • More than half of Thai consumers are spending more on takeaway food and online grocery shopping, buying alcohol online and home entertainment since the outbreak of the pandemic;
  • Away from their digital devices, 63% are spending more time cooking across all ages, while there’s also been a significant increase in the amount of time people are spending taking part in online classes (45%), particularly consumers aged 18-24 (53%), and reading (43%);
  • When asked which brands they most wanted to hear from during the pandemic, understandably, interest in news companies saw a strong pick-up of more than 70%, while entertainment and food brands also saw a 60% increase, ahead of government and health organizations. Interest in financial products also saw an uplift of 55%.

“The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in consumer behaviors and their preferences across Thailand,” said Sam Ho, Insight & Solutions Manager, APAC, at Unruly.

“The vast majority of consumers still want to see ads, but the key to success is in the content and the way a message is conveyed. The magnitude of these changes require brands to be nimble in adapting their advertising strategies to maintain and grow connections with consumers, provide support and minimize disruption to performance.”

View the full study


About Unruly

Unruly wins minds and steals hearts through the power of our data-driven, omnichannel marketplace. Part of the Tremor International group (AIM: TRMR), we use emotional data to deliver brand-safe, awesome advertising to more than 1.2bn people around the world.

With more than 2,700 direct publisher relationships globally, and exclusive video access to more than 50 News Corp titles, Unruly delivers premium supply across all screens and ad formats at scale.

Founded in 2006, Unruly was the first vendor to bring emotional intelligence to video advertising. Unruly is committed to raising standards in digital marketing and is a founding member of the WFA’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media. We’re connected to the world’s biggest DSPs and work with 95% of Ad Age top 100 brands.

Unruly was acquired by Tremor International, a global leader in advertising technologies, in January 2020.