Only 2% of Malaysians 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; Half Of Malaysians Want Advertisers To Be More Informative

KUALA LUMPUR — May 21, 2020 — Keep on advertising – that’s the resounding message from Malaysian consumers to brands trying to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, with only 2% saying brands should pause their advertising. But what sort of advertising do consumers want to see?

With a lot of ad campaigns being put on hold or cancelled following the COVID-19 outbreak, a new study by video ad tech company Unruly has revealed that half of Malaysians are looking for brands to provide more informative content during the pandemic.

Malaysian consumers are particularly looking for advertisers to provide messages around COVID-19 (31%) and to share how they’re supporting staff and customers (20%).

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

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Malaysian government’s introduction of a nationwide movement control order is causing a seismic shift in online content consumption, everyday behavior and spending habits.

Consumers’ daily routines across Malaysia have drastically changed, with only 17% continuing as normal, while 54% are practicing social distancing and 29% are self-isolating. As a result, their views on how brands should advertise to them have also changed.

As well as informed, Malaysians are looking for brands to make them feel more positive, with almost half looking for heart-warming (48%) and inspiring content (44%). Almost a fifth (18%) want brands to create content that will distract them from what’s going on.

The survey also revealed that revealed that time spent online has dramatically increased across Malaysia — with 83% of consumers saying they are spending more time than before on their mobile phones. The usage of laptops (64%) and connected TVs (58%) have also seen significant increases since the start of the pandemic.

But what are they doing online? More than three-quarters of consumers (78%) in Malaysia say they are spending more time watching online videos than before the pandemic, while 70% are spending more time on social media. Meanwhile, 62% are spending more time watching TV on demand.

Other key findings include:

  • Away from their digital devices, almost three-quarters (71%) of Malaysians are spending more time cooking, while there’s also been a significant increase in the amount of time people are spending on home improvements (48%) and reading (43%);
  • People in Malaysia are more likely to watch action films (65%), TV dramas (59%) and comedy shows (57%) than watch the news during the pandemic (46%);
  • Almost half of Malaysians (48%) are spending more money on home entertainment since the pandemic begun.

“The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in consumer behaviours and their preferences across Malaysia,” 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.