It’s never been a good idea to overlook the value of local media when it comes to popularity with audiences and magnetism for ad buyers and it’s proving to be even more significant after the onset of COVID-19.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Angela Steele, Carat USA CEO, says the pandemic has driven up local media consumption and, with it, advertiser appeal.

Look to local

“We’ve seen through COVID, there’s a shift from live sports to things like live news,” Steele says. “And that’s where those local platforms are really important as people are tuning into wanting to know what’s happening locally.

“So local strategies are continuing to play an important role, but in a different way, because of the way people are shifting their viewing habits and the types of content that people are now watching that may have more of a local angle than it did in the past.”

That sentiment echoes recent Nielsen research which showed local news was the most popular news consumed while working from home earlier this year.

Audiences are in the data

In a sense, though, finding those local-content audiences is becoming just another pathway followed in the modern, audience-based ad targeting paradigm.

Steele’s Carat uses a dataset from M1, the people-based advertising product at Merkle, owned by shared parent Dentsu-Aegis Network.

“We are able to identify individuals at the unique ID level,” Steele says. “So we know who we are engaging with as individuals, not as proxies, not as cookies … That applies also for local.

“That’s the dataset that we use for everything, from planning to activation and measurement. It’s a very broad data set.”

But audience datasets don’t necessarily tell you everything about how to recalibrate ad creative during an existential global health crisis.

Steele says Carat uses Dentsu-Aegis’ COVID Crisis Navigator, a routine survey into consumer attitudes, to understand how brands should act.

After “13 waves” of survey, Steele identifies two main pandemic phases for brands:

  • The beginning: Basic needs amid shock, like home delivery and available supply.
  • The new normal: An evolved moment, with brand purpose and empathy high on the agenda.

During the beginning, Steele says Carat’s client P&G needed to communicate to consumers how it understood the importance of toilet roll availability. Its messaging combined both supply reassurances and concern for wellbeing.

You are watching “Targeted Strategies, Big Impact: TV Powered by Data, Addressability and Consumer Choice,” a leadership video series from Beet.TV and VAB presented by New York Interconnect. For more videos, please visit this page