What Advertisers Should Keep in Mind During COVID-19

By Maria Breaux March 25, 2020

In good times, I’m usually more cautious than most. I’m the person who takes shoes off before walking through the house, goes straight to wash my hands, opens windows while cooking, and uses “gentle” detergents and cleansers.

Needless to say—we’ve all been compelled to take things up many notches due to COVID-19.

As more teams and groups work remotely and gather screenshots and recordings of video conference galleries, one thing stands out—we’re coming together, like never before, to support each other through an unprecedented moment in modern history. 

As Singular data has shown, some industries are preparing for slowed business. Others are ramping up marketing activity as we all stay at home with new distractions and needs.

Thriving industries: bringing relief in a stressful time

As we previously reported, gaming has seen a 25% jump in ad spend since the outbreak of COVID-19. To quote Singular’s top executive in China, gaming companies “are reaching their revenue peak … because everybody is just playing games.”

And, with much of the country sheltered in place, food delivery has become the current norm, with some predicting the behaviors may stick. 

These are just a couple of the examples we’ve shared of how COVID-19 is upending industries. Here, we provide guidance for digital advertisers working hard to meet heightened demand, as well as those who must plan in terms of “long haul.”

Recommendation for Gaming: continuously test new ad networks

To stay competitive, gaming advertisers should make sure they’re constantly testing new ad networks to understand which ones are generating the best ROI. (Tip: read Singular’s 2020 ROI Index to see which ad networks are bringing in the best ROI for our customers.)

Also, based on research from VentureBeat, we know that successful mobile marketers use more media sources: 78% with average LTV use five or less media sources, but 65% of mobile marketers with high LTV use six or more.

In short: bump up your media sources!

Another thing gaming advertisers should do: continue to boost ad spend, and test what’s working to allocate budget in the right places and maximize impact. As the potential user base increases so does the opportunity to fine-tune ad campaigns.

Considering creative optimization? Now’s the time to get granular with your testing framework.

Guidance for Retail: rise to the moment and brand accordingly

Think creatively: videoconferencing as “the current normal”

As video conferencing platforms like Zoom hit record usage highs, other brands are quickly pivoting to keep their brands interesting and relevant. For example, West Elm just rolled out new Zoom backdrops to highlight their offerings. 

Source: West Elm

Provide offers and discounts

Macy’s is offering deals usually reserved for its loyalty members. Inviting shoppers to “Relax, recharge, and WFH,” they’re featuring free shipping on purchases of $25 or more or $25 of beauty products. 

Featuring prominent links to gift cards is another way to shore up activity and entice people to stay connected to your brand.  

Guidance for On-demand & Marketplaces: hyper-localized strategies win

Order online, drop off at home

On-demand and marketplace brands can meet consumers where they’re at by offering discounts, communicating their enhanced sanitization and safety procedures, and making sure their inventories are kept up to date.

For example, San Francisco organic food distributor Good Eggs has provided customers with accurate estimates of food delivery and sends periodic text updates when drivers are en route. 

Like other mobile food delivery services, they’ve placed their offerings front and center on their website and tweaked their messaging for increased demand because of COVID-19.

Source: Good Eggs

Use data to identify opportunities

To reach the right audiences in the right way, it’s important for on-demand advertisers to implement hyper-localized strategies and relevant creatives.  

During COVID-19, people are showing a heightened level of intent—they’re going online to find exactly what services and products they want. 

Use this information to optimize your creative, and deliver relevant content and experiences that match the behaviors of a changing online audience.

For example, Postmates—a Singular client that uses couriers to deliver local food, groceries, and alcohol—uses hyper-localization to test various creatives tailored to a location or food. You can deep dish anywhere, but where is it prominently known? Chicago! 

Postmates was able to significantly increase click-throughs, conversions, and first-time purchases by calling out “Chicago” and popular Chicago pizzerias. Use the same strategy to highlight products people are focusing on as they stay at home.

With our creative analytics capabilities, Singular allows you to see all your ad assets, including images and videos, side by side with their respective performance metrics. You can then use these insights to refine your hyper-targeting strategies.

Make use of robust channels and ad formats

Social media: the answer to social distancing

People are finding ways to connect with the ones they love and live near—whether it’s singing on balconies, doing across-the-street workouts, or organizing drive-by birthday celebrations.

If you’ve held off on boosting your social ad campaigns, try testing carousel ads versus static versus video. Or create a sense of community with your brand through a virtual event like a message from someone in the C-suite, or offering something from your brand to help people cope with the anxieties of the current moment.

Some are using Facebook Live for DJ sets. Others are doing things like looking out for parents now homeschooling their children.

For example, The Cincinnati Zoo has started a Facebook Live series with their local celebrity, Fiona the Hippo. We’ve most likely all seen examples of businesses, groups, and organizations welcoming users through their virtual doors with similar incentives.

Plan now for future spikes in performance

There’s no doubt that some sectors have been greatly affected by the coronavirus. The good news is that measures are being taken around the globe to slow the spread of the virus and achieve zero new domestic cases, as China has done. Scientists race to find a vaccine.

In short, life will eventually return to normal. We’ll be in gyms again and crank our investments back up.

Advertisers in spaces negatively impacted by COVID-19 need to stay aware of rapid shifts in the advertising landscape. It took two months for China to reign in the virus. Although other countries vary in their response, advertisers should plan for the future by keeping close track of what’s being done in their region to “flatten the curve.”

Use the latest data insights to inform your decision making

In this rapidly changing environment, a single source of truth for marketing performance is not a nice-to-have—it’s critical for fast, adaptive decision making. 

To keep pace with quickly shifting advertising tides and know the exact impact of their ad spend and ROI, marketers need centralized, easily accessible, actionable data.

Singular can help. Try us free for 30 days to learn how to use marketing data insights for maximum performance. No code required.

Our best days are ahead

“The future is uncertain… but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.”
— Ilya Prigogine

In these uncertain times, it helps to recall that some of humankind’s greatest work followed difficult events. We hope that everyone’s finding avenues of solace and relief as we await the next great work—finding effective ways to combat this global pandemic.  

We’ll continue to provide advice and information on how to ride the current tides of digital advertising. Stay safe and be well.

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