As businesses and brands are affected, they need to make important and informed decisions on how and where to spend their advertising money. But relying on analysing and measuring the way we used to isn’t going to be an effective or accurate way to help you decide.
Over the past six months there have been two critical impacts that marketers need to be aware of:
Consumer behaviour has changed
This goes without saying, really. If the high-street was struggling before, it’s in an even worse situation right now. After nearly four months of being locked down, footfall in city centres plummeted and money spent in stores hit record lows. Even in July 2020, retail footfall was down 39% compared to July 2019 despite most places being back open.
Conversely, as a result of media consumption reaching above 300% in some places, online shopping and ecommerce saw an unprecedented acceleration in its dominance for retail. Amazon alone saw their net sales increase by 40% year on year for Q2.
Advertiser behaviours have changed
Nearly 90% of all advertisers following a GWI survey said that COVID-19 has affected how they would spend their budget for the remainder of 2020, unsurprisingly. With advertisers making unprecedented changes to their budgets and schedules – this massively influences the way ad systems such as Facebook deliver campaigns.
Facebook’s Ad system, as intelligent as it is, was not developed to predict COVID-19 or the change in advertiser behaviour, the result of this impacts how the algorithm determines which ads are shown to who, when and how. The exact impact of this effect is still not wholly known but should be considered when making choices on your measurements and strategic ad campaign decisions.
What can advertisers do?
To better understand and measure the impact of COVID-19 on campaign performance, many advertisers are simplifying their strategies. The daily changes to lockdown rules in the UK and the ROI are likely to continue to affect people’s buying habits and behaviours, so innovative and exciting campaigns or split tests should be considered against a BAU context away from COVID.
Whilst people might fall back on more simplified strategies, it’s probably unwise to determine that any results gained from campaigns during COVID-19 can be used to inform future business decisions too when it comes to planning.
So is all my past data useless?
That’s not to say that A/B Testing or Split Testing should not be applied – before launching any campaign featuring a new product, brand or using a new creative or targeting a new audience there should always be an element of testing before launch. But relying on the results from a test pre-COVID under today’s conditions might not be the best barometer.
The best approach is to constantly re-assess how your audience is interacting with your brand through different creative and messaging.
What about different verticals?
Different verticals and products are going through very different realities at the moment therefore the way their results are interpreted should reflect this with an element of common sense.
Historically, the hospitality industry has never ever been so busy on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – but now thanks to the Eat Out to Help Out campaign it’s proving quite difficult to get a table almost anywhere on what used to be the quietest days of the week in the hospitality industry.
Thinking about the impact of COVID-19 and how it’s affected not just your client but your client’s industry should be critical when reviewing measuring strategies and planning for future media campaigns.
In summary, there hasn’t ever been a silver bullet to help approach the best way to measure. The best strategy is dependent on what your goals are, what your customers are doing and saying in terms of feedback, and what the people you want to attract to become customers are doing. Focussing on this with what your brand is saying, where that message is being communicated against the backdrop of the current climate for your industry will help to align how you should measure performance.