Note to readers: This is the third in a series of posts offering some guidance for marketers during this global health crisis.
We’re all entering uncharted waters right now. In a normal April, experienced social advertisers can take a quick look at last week’s KPIs and have a pretty good understanding of how their programs are performing. That’s because we know what “normal” looks like and even slight deviations are easy to spot. But these days are not normal.
One thing that has become clear is that social media is more important than ever. For example, according to Facebook data, consumers are spending 30% more time with Facebook and Instagram right now compared to this time last year.
As we continue our Marketing in a Crisis series, today we will examine social advertising.
Social advertising: right time, right message
What do our principles of right message, right place, right time mean for paid social ads?
Well, it’s definitely the right place, as many of us are turning to social media to bridge the physical social distancing that is required of us. So that leaves the right message and the right time.
On social media, things are a bit different from search in that the advertiser has more control over reaching their target audience. That means that you have more of a role in whether or not this is the right time for your ads and you can adjust your campaign goals and your bidding strategies accordingly. For categories with higher interest—such as gaming, telecommunications and healthcare—this will result in some players bidding up CPMs. So you may start to see ad prices rise. Other areas, maybe not so much.
Which brings us to the right message. As we discussed with paid search earlier this week, this is where understanding your relative importance to changing circumstances is going to be important. If consumers are deprioritizing your category right now, then empathy, resources, and even diversion once again may be how you keep your audience aware and engaged with your brand. Otherwise, you can still focus on calls to action, but maybe soften up your ad copy so as not to come across as too insistent.
Folks are scared, and they don’t want noise.
Social advertising tips during COVID-19 from our team
Many of our Skai Social client success team are social advertising practitioners and had these tips for you to consider during this time:
Adapt your plan
Costs are down but consider your objective KPIs. The data shows that CPMs have dropped in affected industries. Make sure you check your conversion rates and CTRs to see what falling rates mean to your ROI.
Reassess geotargeting. Consider the challenges urban vs rural regions are facing (venue shutdowns, delivery logistics, social distance preparation). Different markets are on different shelter-at-home schedules. That’s going to change their buying patterns.
Become more agile. If you’re used to looking at performance by month or by week, maybe move up to by week or by day. You must expect more dramatic fluctuations these days.
Your app is a key connection to your customers. Consider Mobile App Install and Mobile App Engagement campaigns to drive app usage to decrease order and payment friction.
Web-enabled shopping is where you should focus. Don’t forget to shift ad dollars to your best ecommerce channels rather than in-store objectives.
Let consumers know they can order from you. For brands and verticals that have traditionally sold mainly through physical locations, highlight Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store for “essential” shopping such as grocery/pharmacy items and free shipping for everything else.
Focus on the right things
Your inventory is fluctuating right now. Use feed-based campaigns to showcase up-to-the-minute availability. Don’t waste budget or create a negative consumer interaction with your brand when they click your ads but can’t buy those out-of-stock items.
Know what consumers are looking to buy. Limit highlighted/shoppable products to ones that are most essential and in-stock.
Leverage the technology to be your eyes 24/7. Set alerts when performance or spend experiences a drastic uptick or downturn. If you can fix issues quickly, they will have less of a negative impact on your bottom line.
Stay on top of how consumers are reacting to your ads. Skai Social clients can create automated alerts when Creative Sentiment smart tags are triggered. It’s not just demand that’s changing rapidly—an ad that meant one thing a week ago can take on a whole new tone with consumers in a crisis. Make sure you’re tracking sentiment on your paid posts.
Skai Social’s Creative Sentiment smart tags give you feedback on your ads
How can we help?
As many of us are stuck at home these days, social media has become a valuable outlet to stay connected with friends and family. With usage increasing, more marketers will be keener than ever to invest in social advertising in order to squeeze every bit of performance out of their ad budgets.