As social distancing is becoming the norm across society as a result of COVID-19, people are now spending more time on their phones than ever before.
This has led to increases in time spent across social media channels as users turn to these platforms as one of their main sources of entertainment.
While some brands are pausing their paid media, other advertisers are leaning into the decrease in CPMs and the opportunity for a less cluttered feed to:
- Connect with both current and potential new customers.
- Remain top of mind while things continue to unfold.
Pursuing Paid Media During the Pandemic: Key Considerations
For those brands adopting this approach, they need to be mindful of how they are positioning their paid media, especially when it comes to messaging and creative strategies.
While bottom of the funnel conversion and revenue goals can still be a priority, consider pivoting to move up the funnel to drive product discovery or awareness for your brand.
CPMs are typically cheaper for these objectives which can help decreased media budgets go a bit further in terms of generating meaningful impressions and reach.
This also allows brands to play around a bit more with messaging since the focal point is not to necessarily drive a conversion.
For now, the aim should be on building relationships through thoughtful messaging that builds rapport and could one day turn those users into loyal customers.
Expand to Underutilized Paid Social Channels
It could also be a good time to explore expanding to otherwise underutilized paid social channels as they might be able to drive incremental value by connecting your brand with people who might usually not see your ads.
According to Pinterest internal data, platform searches were up nearly 60% year over year, with new signups, click-throughs on links from pins, and saves all up about 30%.
Snapchat has also reported gains, seeing increased interactions with products like Lenses and Games and CTR increases on average of 19 percent.
Right now, customers expect brands to deliver real value, act responsibly and do right by the community.
It’s important for brands to modify their positioning in order to hit the right tone.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you shift your paid creative strategy on social.
1. Be Useful
Is there a product or service that your brand can offer that will make people’s lives a little bit easier?
Can you help consumers maintain some level of normalcy while they are stuck at home?
Keep that value proposition prominent in either the body copy or the image itself so it catches their attention as they scroll.
Can your brand help to replace an in-person service and keep users away from others during social distancing?
Be sure to call out “delivery” or “at home” or emphasize the ability to avoid unnecessary trips to stock up on essentials.
Text overlays can be very useful to help creative stand out in feed.
2. Be Informative
Social media channels are putting measures in place to combat misinformation as it relates to COVID-19.
However, there is still some uncertainty around what to believe.
If your brand offers a product or service that could provide accurate and useful information to those affected by the pandemic, make sure that messaging is the main call-out.
If you are speaking to new users to your brand, give them assistance or tips for your product that will help them figure out normalcy in their disrupted or new routines.
3. Be Compassionate
This crisis is affecting everyone differently.
People’s lives have been turned upside down.
Acknowledging that in ad creative can foster feelings of understanding and trustworthiness for brands.
It is also a good time to lean into messaging about any causes that your brand supports as it relates COVID-19, but make sure to be humble in your dialogue.
4. Be Mindful With Promotions
Consumer confidence is low and shoppers are being more cautious with where they are spending so don’t hammer them with promotions.
If a promotion is in the works, make sure it’s thought and unique as opposed to a standard call out.
For a brand that doesn’t normally run sales but wants to run a promotion right now, acknowledge the situation in the copy or creative while not being over the top.
For a typically promo-heavy brand, consider pulling back slightly on the cadence to focus on larger savings or think about messaging the availability of payment plans within the copy.
5. Be Real
Authenticity is always important for brands, but now more so than ever.
Think about the mindset of most people right now and work off of that as you can.
Be relatable and approachable.
Everyone is affected by COVID-19 in some way.
How can that be layered into your messaging?
We’re all stuck inside and working from home so adopt a “we are all in this together” mentality when revising creative.
Humor has its place as long as it is tasteful and still aligns with your brand image.
Don’t force it, but try to have some fun.
Without knowing the future and how long the current situation will persist, it’s understandable how tough it is to make business decisions without knowing the impact.
By following the tips outlined here, brands can successfully adapt their marketing efforts during these uncertain times and create a potentially long-lasting relationship with the users they reach.
Changing your marketing approach in the short term will pay off in the long term.
- 12 Ways to Adapt Your Marketing in Times of Forced Isolation
- 13 Ways Businesses Can Use SEO & Marketing to Combat Coronavirus Impact
- 7 Ways COVID-19 Is Affecting Search Traffic & How SEOs Can Respond
All screenshots taken by author, April 2020