5 Things to Consider When Planning Ad Campaigns During Uncertain Times

Tips and advice for eCommerce retailers, when planning online social ad campaigns.

 

The global spread of Coronavirus has created uncertain and unprecedented times for all. Although it’s too early to fully understand how big the impact will be on certain industries, it’s becoming clear there will be a ripple effect on some businesses. The temporary closure of industries such as restaurants and cinemas will result in a migration from physical to online experiences, with digital streaming and online fitness subscriptions in particular expected to surge. 

Although shifting to an eCommerce focus may not necessarily be the saving grace for all brands - as unfortunately many will experience challenges as Coronavirus makes its economic impact - pureplay retailers and those who are quick to strengthen their online acquisition strategy may experience less negative effects as a consequence.

 

1 - Continue to plan and deliver online campaigns

With many people self-isolating or working from home during the pandemic, online screen time will inevitably increase. Therefore, eCommerce brands should continue planning their online campaign strategies both in the short-term and also for the future. 

Understandably, many campaigns have been dropped for fear of association with the virus. However, in a time of potential new audiences, a knee jerk reaction to dropping online campaigns altogether can have an adverse outcome. Of course, you can’t control what’s happening, but you can control how you respond.

Look at how online ads can complement your overall response strategy to Coronavirus, whether that’s brand awareness, humanitarian efforts, messaging around what your business is doing to help combat the outbreak or simply offering advice to customers. 

An example of this is Pretty Little Thing who have reassured customers with a business update and information around delivery.

Missguided have responded by offering discounts to those working in health services, an approach which can not only boost sales but improve brand reputation. 

After all, some of the best performing ad campaigns don't always have an objective of ‘sell, sell, sell’ and putting paid media behind this kind of messaging could greatly benefit a brand both during and post-pandemic.

 

2 - Be precautious with messaging and creatives

One of the most important factors brands need to consider during this time are the type of products they are promoting and consequently their ad creatives, as a few brands have experienced unfortunate timing with some of their paid ads.

However, brands should still be automating their product feeds into ads, as this can save huge amounts of time. Marketers just need to ensure they are checking their inventories and removing any insensitive items which could potentially result in backlash or go viral for the wrong reasons. 

The fine line between remaining relevant and not promoting products that could be seen as exploiting or ‘cashing in’ on Coronavirus are the main factors brands need to consider here.

 

3 - Review the impact on your supply chain and prepare to adapt

With a sudden surge in online orders for specific items, brands need to assess which products are in high demand and more importantly ensure they aren’t promoting items which are out of stock. 

One of the most effective ways of doing this is to plug into a data feed which pulls live stock levels into ad creatives. 

This way, brands can promote products which they are certain are in stock or that have recently been restocked to deliver the best customer experience.

 

4 - Use smart data-driven video ads

While consumers are being pushed hundreds of different messages online, understanding how to remain relevant during this uncertain time is integral to building brand trust. 

We know video ads on Facebook are 5 times more engaging than static ads, and creating dynamic video content to personalise your ads will make them even more impactful. 

Even if some customers aren’t spending as much online during this time, brands should remain proactive to stay top of mind with their customers. For example, ASOS reacted to the new surge of people working out at home and pushed an ‘on-brand’ message to promote their new activewear.

Embedding data into your online strategy and creating personalised video is the best way to effectively get your most relevant messages out to the correct audiences. 

 

5 - Focus on money saving efficiency:  Work smarter, not harder

Understandably, resources and budgets within businesses may need to be temporarily reduced or allocated to additional areas, therefore marketers need to focus on efficiency to keep the wheels turning.

Working smarter is critical. Facebook has some great solutions to support this, such as Placement and Creative liquidity that automates some advertising decisions to drive the best outcomes at the lowest cost - read more on this here.

This automation can be taken to the next level using a creative technology to scale up campaigns using dynamic creative, without increasing workloads. Self-serve video platforms such as Spirable enable brands to produce thousands of dynamic ad creatives in minutes, something which usually would have taken days and incurred a significant amount of cost. 

An example is Pandora who drove huge efficiency gains using data-driven video and were able to automate thousands of unique ads through the use of just one dynamic template, resulting in a 99% increase in workflow efficiency. 

 

Want to learn more about how to plan and deliver ad campaigns during uncertain and challenging times? Get in contact here.