IBM Watson Advertising COVID-19 Triggers

By IBM Watson Advertising

At IBM, AI is considered a mission-critical tool that rapidly analyzes data to help clients make better decisions. This emerging technology could be instrumental as clients across industries seek to improve their pandemic response efforts and jump-start business continuity plans in the wake of COVID-19.

To optimize the capabilities of AI to help planning efforts, we are now offering IBM Watson Advertising COVID-19 Triggers, a solution that serves digital ads to consumers based on changing rates of COVID-19 cases in a specified area. These triggers can be activated across various platforms to help marketers better customize ad experiences and deliver more sensitive, relevant messages regarding the pandemic situation for a particular geography.

The COVID-19 Triggers solution uses Watson AI to aggregate and analyze infection rates gathered in near-real-time from various global, national, state and local sources. This data is passed through our targeting and triggering methodologies to identify locations that fit prescribed thresholds for increasing or decreasing numbers of cases. Relevant ads are then served at the ZIP-code level to areas in which these predetermined conditions are present.

How can the rise or decline of COVID-19 impact consumer behaviors?

An internal Watson Advertising survey revealed that consumers are more likely to go to work and shop in physical retail stores when cases are declining in their area. Conversely, people are more likely to stay home or spend time in public parks – where social distancing is more feasible – when cases are increasing. 

COVID-19 has also significantly affected food, entertainment, home improvement and outdoor recreation. 56% of people are preparing meals at home more often than before. 52% of people are using streaming services more frequently. 51% are shopping more online.

Post-COVID-19, we expect many of these behaviors to remain. People may continue to order food or cook at home more often than before the pandemic. Over 79% of consumers report that they are now more health-conscious, stocking up on medicine and planning healthier diets post-pandemic.

These changes are reflected across generations: 60% of millennials have added vitamins to their wellness routines, 61% of boomers are using antibacterial and disinfectants, and 31% of Gen Xers are managing illness more closely. While we anticipate telehealth solutions to be used more frequently than pre-pandemic, several people said they are eager to see a doctor in person when cases are decreasing in their area and it feels safe to do so.

In terms of interpersonal interactions, all age groups are looking forward to socializing again, though younger generations appear most eager. 65% plan to see family members in person. 56% intend to eat at a restaurant or bar. 53% want to get their hair done at a salon. For brands promoting online grocery shopping and meal orders, winning over this younger demographic may be key to long-term success. 

Where are COVID-19 Triggers available?

The COVID-19 Triggers solution is based on daily new cases versus a rolling 7-day average and are available only in the US.

Available triggers include:

COVID-19 Increasing

COVID-19 Decreasing

COVID-19 Triggers solution is now available on:

  • The Weather Channel site and apps
  • DSPs
    • The Trade Desk
    • Xandr
    • Adobe*
    • Amobee*
    • DV360*
  • Social
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
  • Search
    • Google
  • Video/OTT
    • YouTube
    • The Trade Desk
    • Xandr
  • Out Of Home
    • Vistar

* Via LiveRamp

About the data

Watson Advertising has compiled COVID-19 infection rate data provided by multiple third-party sources including the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local agencies, and other public sources. These sources update and report data on various schedules, which could result in discrepancies between data reported by different sources. Not all states allow their data to be used for commercial purposes.

To learn more about using COVID-19 Triggers:

Learn more about IBM Watson Advertising COVID-19 triggers