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Why local lockdowns may call for a regional media approach

Whilst the UK is currently in national lockdown 2.0, from December 3rd a regional, tiered approach to lockdown is due to be reinstated. The severity of lockdown restrictions in a region can directly impact consumer sentiment in that area for specific products and services.

The YouGov BrandIndex chart here shows shifts in purchase intent for three sectors following the implementation of tier 3 restrictions in Merseyside. In this instance, demand for alcohol brands and online pharmacies spiked whilst purchase intent for credit cards and payment services declined.

For brands that see an increase in demand for their product or service when restrictions are tight, tier 3 regions can present ‘pockets of demand’ which can be harvested by up-weighting those regions with locally targeted media activity. With TV, both Channel 4 and ITV can be bought at a regional level; Channel 4 at a macro level (North, South etc.) and ITV down on a micro-level (Tyne-Tees, Anglia etc.). During the last regional lockdown, we targeted tier 3 regions with TV activity for an online alcohol retailer. From this, we saw TV activity was six times more responsive in a tier 3 region vs. a tier 1 region. Regional audiences can also be reached through the likes of door drops, local radio and local press.

Conversely, when consumers’ purchase intent for a brand is significantly inhibited by tighter restrictions, that brand may need to redirect media spend to less restricted regions where the audience is more likely to respond. A finance brand running regional TV activity during the last local lockdowns experienced 20% lower response in a tier 3 region vs. a tier 1 region. Pausing TV activity targeted to tier 3 regions subsequently reduced their overall cost per acquisition by 10%.

All Response Media viewpoint
Many brands have seen a correlation between business performance and the severity of lockdown restrictions. Therefore, the regional lockdown approach that will shortly be returning to the UK may call for a similar regional mindset when planning and buying some elements of a brand’s media activity. Most media types that can be bought regionally, such as door drops, radio and TV allow us to take advantage of the higher impacts resulting from people being home during the day. Pricing will have to be considered when targeting or avoiding regions as some are more expensive than others. For example, ITV London can cost 2-3 times higher than ITV North. However, the gains in response from zeroing in on the region most receptive to your brand message may offset a price increase.

Our tracking tag, Tag4ARM, allows us to get a top-line view on regional traffic, and in some cases drill down to postcode level. Also, our proprietary analytics system, ARMalytics®, allows us to compare the responsiveness of media activity in each region. As a result, we can quickly identify any shifts in media efficiencies as local lockdown announcements are made, reactively optimising campaigns at speed to ensure each advertising penny is spent where it will work hardest at that moment.

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