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What Brands Did in 2020

  • INSIGHTS STUDIOS

In this presentation, Paul Donato, CRO of the ARF, covered findings from the seminal year of the “What Brands Did in 2020” (Brands 2020) project. This project will go on for at least the next two years or until the effects of 2020 are no longer felt. ARF researchers in the Brands 2020 study used IRI and NCS data, Kantar Ad Insights, NCS sales and Nielsen Ad Intel data, between 2017 and 2021. The IRI data was a very deep dive but across three categories: salty snacks, pasta sauce and personal care products. The NCS data was shallower but across 10 broad categories. Using all these data, ARF researchers looked at share of media, media spend and share of market before and after March 2020 (Covid) and before and after March of 2021 (start of inflation).

Several previous studies agree that decreasing advertising during a recession can hurt sales during and after the period of economic contraction, whereas increasing advertising can increase sales, market share and earnings. An IPA study from the UK during the 2008 recession found that those that “went dark” tended to lose excess share of voice, the impact of which could take five years to recover. This UK study also showed a linear relationship between both ROI and an uplift in revenue as a function of advertising during a recession. The Brands 2020 study found more nuanced findings.

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2022 Media Insights and 2023 Challenges

  • L.A. Media Research Council | Author, Garrett Woods, VidMob

An ARF event presented by the LA Media Research Council focused on insights from 2022 research and on 2023 priorities to meet business challenges. Issues addressed in research presentations and by an expert panel included the evolution of streaming during an economic downturn, how to manage subscriber churn, understanding Gen Z and the continued need for better measurement across the ecosystem.

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Why Ad Expenditures Impact Perceived Quality in Some Cases But Not Others

  • JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

There is a ton of research on the signaling effects of ad spending. But new work tackles lingering questions: Why do advertising expenditures have a stronger impact on perceived quality for some brands and in some product categories but not as much for others? And how do increases in expenditures across different media channels affect quality perceptions?

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Does Privacy Regulation Affect Online Consumer Behavior?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) dictates how firms are to collect, store and employ personal information online. Given the importance of such data, the GDPR has a direct impact on the bottom line of millions of online firms. Researchers in this study wanted to understand the consequences of this regulation for website traffic and ecommerce. They found that at least initially, GDPR reduces online activity and economic results somewhat, especially from personalized marketing channels (display ads & emails). With greater enforcement and compliance long-term, however, the impact may be even greater.

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