Advertising in a Down Market

The US, and the rest world for that matter, is currently in the middle of the greatest work-from-home experiment in history.  Millions of Americans are stuck at home and they are searching and scrolling dramatically more than normal. Millions of advertising dollars are also being pulled out of the market, meaning that inventory is opening up and we’re seeing low CPCs and CPMs.  If you’re smart with your budgets, you can leverage this to your advantage fairly easily.  You should also look to reallocate your event marketing and out of home advertising budgets for the foreseeable future, and invest it in dominating share of voice online.

For VC backed tech companies, the businesses that are going to be most impacted right now are going to be bloated incumbents with huge staff and expensive offices, and they are pulling back on advertising.  If you are a challenger brand you have a unique opportunity to take a chunk out of the market share of the leader in your space. This opportunity will not come again in our lifetimes, at least I hope not.Make the most of it while you can.

If your product requires your customers or clients to meet in a physical space there is little getting around the pain you are feeling, but there is an opportunity to build your brand goodwill with extremely low marketing costs.  

  • Look to time the market, and get out in front of people with low-cost video ads on Youtube and Facebook Ads to own share of mind as life starts to return to normal by reminding your ideal customer that you’ll still be here to help when they’re ready.  Look to spread a message of positivity and goodwill in these uncertain times.

  • Promote improvements of your product or limitations of incumbent brands in your space so that when people are back to making decisions they are familiar with your brand

  • If you are making an effort to support the coronavirus containment effort, share what you are doing and build some positive brand image, people always look for the helpers

For companies in a purely digital space, we’re actually seeing some significant improvements in performance if you have budgets to spend.  It’s especially meaningful if you are a challenging brand competing against the leader in your industry. People who normally wouldn’t shop around, now have extra disposable time on their hands are constantly in front of their screens.  For this subset, we’re already seeing huge wins for our clients.

  • We’ve seen a fintech client of ours enjoy a 68.12% increase in conversions with only a 35.58% increase in spend on their top competitor campaign in the last two weeks vs the prior two weeks, helping them take a bite out of their competition.

  • Another digital product we’ve just audited has seen a 31.96% improvement in conversion volume as a spike in searches have come through following the stay at home orders in California and New York. Last week was in fact tied with their best week of 2020.   The opportunities they were able to find were in display advertising and competitor targeting. People are shopping around and spending time researching more than ever. People are consuming content at much higher rates leading to more value being represented in display ads.

  • For two weeks running, we’ve been able to break records for one of our b2b SaaS clients focused on a developer audience.  They’ve been able to see a 61.53% jump in non-brand conversions over the past two weeks vs the two weeks before stay at home orders and social distancing, despite a more modest 46.11% increase in spend.  The benefit here is simply an audience that is testing out more tools during their downtime. People are proving to be more interested in experimentation with new products as they are stuck inside.

In the midst of the stay-at-home orders and social distancing lies opportunity for those willing to see it because: 

  1. There is a lot of available inventory, meaning that not only are there lower CPCs and CPMs for all those willing to stay the course, but the noise that is usually prevalent has been largely quieted. Own the moment and get your message out.  

  2. Share the story of how your business is helping in the current situation and how your company is making changes to ensure that things remain safe when the economy restarts. Remain top of mind for your ideal customer segment.

  3. People are shopping around more than ever, they are testing out and experimenting with new products because there is increased anxiety in choosing the wrong product or service. They have additional time to try multiple products as they are stuck inside, but business is still carrying on for most online businesses so they still need to make a choice on what services to use.

If you have budget invested in billboards, out of home advertising, or events over the next quarter, you should reallocate that to digital, well... last week. The second-best time would be now.  Focus your effort on getting in front of an audience that is scrolling and searching more than they ever will be again in our lifetimes. 

If you need help navigating this new opportunity, reach out to your favorite digital marketing professionals. We’ll be here to help.

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