Coronavirus: Do Native Ads Work During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus Advertising

With the spread of the coronavirus, the global economy darkens daily, leading millions of businesses to a crisis. There are deep changes in digital media buying trends that impact both advertiser and publisher earnings. Voluum DSP is here to unveil how native advertising is doing in this stormy moment, so read up!

Before we get to the current status of native ads, let’s first take a look at the impact it had on the general digital market.

Coronavirus Advertising

Amazon has reported a dramatic change in consumer buying. Current search trends show that the most wanted items are obviously household items and medical supplies.

To illustrate the scale, Google has published a graph where the demand for toilet paper has dwarfed the demand for the ever-most-popular products on Amazon – yoga mats and Air Pods.

SearchEngineJournal wrote that Amazon has already started to cancel Google Ads and needs to hire 100,000 new employees to meet the new delivery demand.

Affiliate Marketing vs. COVID-19

On the one hand, marketers around the globe can expect a reduced cost for advertising products and services outside of medical and household staples. On the other hand, why would anyone need a lower price if Amazon is not shipping  high-margin products popular among affiliate marketers.

According to SearchEngineJournal, “the buying trends created by those kinds of restrictions may affect both affiliate and advertising sales income for publishers, as well as Google Ads.”

Coronavirus Market Impact on Streaming, Gaming and Travel

It goes without saying that services like streaming are among the sectors that are about to benefit from the virus. As more and more people follow the #stayathome movement, Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Now TV are already thriving.

One of the most popular PC gaming platforms, Steam, set a record in the number of users online hitting 20.3 million on March, 15th.

While gaming and streaming industries can easily withstand and even profit from the current situation, there are sectors like tourism and travel that are really struggling. As more and more people hold off from booking holidays, travel brands are reducing their ad spend on Facebook and Google.

Coronavirus Impact on Native Advertising

Native advertising is also starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Programmatic space is undergoing a bigger change while direct buying is slower, yet still likely to pivot. Facebook promised WHO an unlimited free advertising to make sure “everyone can access credible and accurate information”, says Zuckerberg.

“What is clear is that COVID-19-related content is going to be a very significant driver of consumer activity, for potentially a significant period of time,” said McLaughlin, the COO of DoubleVerify, an ad verification company. “Brands should take a very hard look at supporting those publications producing legitimate information and analyzing whether consumers will really associate the brand with the content when it is so prevalent … it really becomes part of everyday life.”


Thousands of performance advertisers switched their media-buying strategies towards promoting masks and medical supplies. A lot of people started to use different keywords related to COVID in their landing pages to boost consumer engagement. At the same time, businesses are banned from spreading false claims that some products can cure the disease. So, in some cases publishers need to block pandemic-related keywords and categories to ensure brand safety.

Native advertising has become trickier than ever.

Voluum DSP Unveiling How to Advertise During the Coronavirus Crisis

Now, you’re most probably asking yourself: which affiliate marketing niches are affected by COVID-19? So let’s take a look at the global ad spend in Voluum DSP.

What to advertise during the coronavirus crisis

Yes, the traffic is growing as, indeed, people are seeking information about Coronavirus. Yet bear in mind that the following practices are strictly forbidden across the DSP. Make sure you follow these coronavirus native advertising tips.

  • Deceptive

Any kind of an offer that claims it will “protect you from coronavirus” or “heal from coronavirus” is prohibited to run.

  • Fake news

Campaigns claiming something will happen (for example, “the whole country is on lockdown, people in streets, empty shops”, etc.) are prohibited to run.

  • Fake endorsement

Please be informed that campaigns including authorities, medical staff, famous people giving false claims about Coronavirus are prohibited to run.

Voluum DSP Top Ad Spend Niches During Coronavirus

We’ve analyzed more than 10 000 native campaigns to come up with the most recent trends. Below you’ll find a list of top spending verticals since February 2020.

Compliance-wise, these are the most tricky campaigns. Yet, there’s still a huge potential for brand-safe campaigns related to health and safety. Our advertisers are promoting all types of offers, from medical and psychological advice through insurance and diet verticals. 

1. Health and safety
Compliance-wise, these are the most tricky campaigns. Yet, there’s still a huge potential for brand-safe campaigns related to health and safety. Our advertisers are promoting all types of offers, from medical and psychological advice through insurance and diet verticals.

2. E-commerce
E-commerce campaigns are witnessing a big spike in programmatic ad spend in DSP. No wonder, as people from the most-affected GEOs are now ordering the products they would normally get in-store online.

3. Making money online
As people stay at home, they have more time to engage with online surveys, courses, blogging, freelancing, and investing offers. We expect this category to dwarf health & safety and eCom campaigns anytime soon, becoming our top ad spend vertical.

4. Gaming and streaming
While some people prefer to invest more time into online courses, others simply like to stay entertained. Along with streaming, both desktop and mobile gaming campaigns are doing great now in Voluum DSP.

5. Dating and Communication
Due to social distancing, people are seeking for ways to communicate and make new friends online. If you’re doing casual dating or promoting some kind of communication apps, it’s now or never for you.

Voluum DSP Most Affected Niches by COVID-19

Not all verticals in DSP are doing great. The biggest drop is visible with eSports and travel campaigns, where ad spend went down by 38%.

1. eSports
It’s not only UEFA competitions but also eSports tournaments that are being cancelled due to the spread of Coronavirus. Sadly enough, sports betting campaigns are one of the most affected verticals in the whole digital space.

2. Tourism and travel
It’s predicted that Google and Facebook can see a 15% drop in tourism and travel revenue (as reported by Search Engine Land). In Voluum DSP we can also see an even bigger drop in US and EU ad spend in the travel vertical. So, if you are into travel, it’s still not too late to adjust your media buying strategy.

3. Automotive
Coronavirus hits hard the auto industry and the whole programmatic buying of ad space for automotive-related campaigns. It’s too early to judge the actual impact of the pandemic on the car industry, but we for sure can see a significant drop in ad spend within this category.

Preparing your Marketing Plans for the Coronavirus

We actually have some good  advice for you. First of all, don’t be afraid to seize opportunities that have appeared. Stay in the loop, but also be smart and spend your money wisely. Voluum DSP can be a good place to start your journey with native ads as you can test multiple networks from one single platform.

Sing up today and find your own favorite Facebook Ads alternative!

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