Several weeks ago, Tiger Pistol’s Paul Elliott, CEO, began tracking a global analysis of the weekly growth of active COVID-19 cases in eight countries to determine how they correlate with the average Facebook and Instagram CPMs during the same time*, all to discover if CPMs could be a leading indicator of economic recovery. Since then, we’ve been closely monitoring the trends outlined in Paul’s original publication and will be offering insights as they arise in the data.
Updated August 6, 2020
With July over, the formal #StopHateForProfit boycott has ended. As a refresher, more than 1,100 advertisers paused advertising on Facebook and Instagram for July. Some advertisers have doubled-down on their commitment to their customers and will continue to freeze spend on the platform for the foreseeable future.
Despite the boycott, Facebook reported a 10% year-over-year increase in advertising revenue, which isn’t as surprising as it seems, seeing as most of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from small- and medium-sized businesses.
From a health perspective, things have escalated across the globe, some more rapidly than others. Notable highlights include:
- In the United States, the number of active cases grew week-over-week, while CPMs rose and fell.
- In Australia, a “state of disaster” has been declared for the state of Victoria due to a steep increase in cases. Our friends in Melbourne are now under a curfew for the foreseeable future due to a “Stage 4” level restriction in the area. CPMs for July rose and stabilized at the end of the month.
- Spain saw a large increase in cases towards the end of the month, but experienced a recovery in CPM after experiencing a small drop mid-month.
- Canada, on the other hand, realized an 80% decrease in its active cases week-over-week in a stunning change, while only seeing a small drop in CPM. An article in the Washington Post contributes Canada’s success to a number of factors, most notably, “The Canadian people have been less divided and more disciplined. Some provinces and territories could have locked down sooner, analysts say, but once measures were announced, they were strict, broadly uniform and widely followed.”
It’s clear that Facebook as a platform is a major outlet for advertisers big and small. With audiences engaged more than ever, it makes the decision to continue an advertising boycott dedicated to a single technology even more difficult. With fall quickly approaching and school shopping on the horizon for us in the U.S., absence from an ads platform could cause a considerable revenue hit for many companies’ forecasts.
Updated July 17, 2020
Halfway through July, we’re still seeing surges in the United States and Brazil. Australia has seen a shocking increase in cases from the start of the month. It’s fair to say that there is a loss of correlation between cases and CPMs, most likely because of the inconsistency of closures and pandemic guideline messaging. In countries like the US, Australia, and Canada, where national economic reopening is continuing, CPMs have risen even as active cases rise.
We intend to keep tracking to keep abreast of any trends that may emerge, revisiting the data monthly during the pandemic and recovery to identify correlations.
Updated July 10, 2020
We’re officially in the second half of the year, and cases are still rising in countries like the United States and Brazil, with numerous U.S. cities posting daily records. From a medical perspective, in the United States, multiple states are beginning to mandate residents wear masks in an effort to slow the spread and businesses are moving back to partial opening or closure.
We’re also nine days into the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which saw a 32% drop in CPMs week-over-week in the U.S. Whether this drop is connected to the shift away from Facebook spend or the rise in cases remains to be seen.
Canada saw the steepest drop in CPM with 42% week-over-week.
Germany is the outlier in this week’s report. They’ve not only seen a drop in cases this week, but their CPM is the only one to rise this week.
Updated July 2, 2020
A few days ago, we hit 10 million global COVID-19 cases, a milestone we didn’t think we’d see a few months ago. Now entering the third quarter of 2020, we might begin to see some fluctuations as governments enact long-term plans for the safety and well-being of their citizens.
Overall, we’re seeing cases spike in the United States and a continued rise in Brazil.
In other countries, a slight uptick in cases, but the same sort of fluctuations in CPM from week to week. Within July, we may also begin to see effect of #StopHateForProfit on Facebook advertising, but this might only affect US CPMs.
- Italy has made the biggest comeback, with their CPM regaining strength this week to the highest level since before we began tracking.
- Canada & Spain are also seeing CPM strengthening.
Updated June 26, 2020
This week’s overarching message can be stated in a word: Instability. Some countries are trying to decide “is this over?,” while others are clearly not out of the woods.
We’re still in Wave 1 in most places, and a case could be made for Wave 1.5. Studies are showing that being in enclosed places (restaurants, bars, etc.) increases the likelihood of contracting the virus, which leads to a lot of businesses having to make the decision whether or not to reopen or stay closed. Through the end of Q1 and beginning of Q2, it’s clear there was stability in most of the countries.
United States/Canada: Three of the largest populated states in the USA have begun experiencing a rapid spike of cases within the last week, leaving governors to decide to continue or halt phased openings. June as a whole saw an increase in overall CPM, after an initial dip at the start of the month, but with the uncertainties surrounding freedom of movement during the summer, we’re predicting CPMs may drop again in July (as seen in the last week).
EU: The EU ramped up opening its borders, with most of the countries listed below open to travelers on the continent. Spain has seen a resurgence in cases and while they reopened their borders, a mandatory quarantine is in place and CPMs – while overall had steadied, plummeted the first weekend of reopening. Italy, similarly to Spain, has seen a sharp rise and fall of CPMs in a 3-week period, but have not seen a rise in cases (except for a new set of cases in the southern part of the country). Germany is all over the map, with sharp rises and drops, garnering attention as while the country was set to reopen fully, officials were forced to put that on hold due to a case flare up.
Australia: Australia managed to deal with the outbreak pretty swiftly, with a short spike and then drop off of cases. This has led to a steady rise of CPMs for the region.
Brazil – Brazil as a country is really struggling, drawing eyes not only from a public health crisis perspective, but also from a “discount” perspective. CPMs remain steady since their drop in Q1, as the country has yet to see a drop in cases.
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