4 Campaign Strategy Changes During COVID-19

April 29th, 2020 by Ariel Tusa

MacBook Pro, white ceramic mug,and black smartphone on table photo

COVID-19 has impacted every person and business across the globe, and the environment changes daily. Updating your marketing and advertising strategies during this time can be overwhelming.

We can help you figure out where to start and what to change! This guide covers four campaign strategy changes to help navigate your business through COVID-19:

  1. Adjust advertising spend
  2. Evaluate targeting
  3. Tailor offerings and messaging
  4. Employ machine learning

Before making any drastic adjustments, look at the data. Be aware that traffic and behavior on your site is likely impacted by the move to remote work.

  • For example, you may observe an influx of traffic but a decrease in conversion rates. Many businesses filter out internal traffic via IP address and this can be extremely difficult as your team has begun working from home.
  • First, ask your team to filter out traffic per device using the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on.

4 Campaign Strategy Changes During COVID-19

1. Adjust Advertising Spend

You may initially consider stopping or reducing your ad spend. Based on your customers’ behavior, your industry, and your offerings, a reduction may make sense.

If your business offers an essential need (food, medical, etc) or a product or service with a longer buyer’s journey (education, legal, cosmetic surgery) you may want to consider increasing your paid advertising. Especially for those industries with a longer buyer’s journey you need to keep feeding your marketing funnel to ensure you’re able to push prospects to convert when we all get back to (the new) normal—an empty funnel now means no business later.

We also see that CPMs, CPCs, and conversion rates are in flux. With fewer businesses competing in ad auctions, it is cheaper to compete. According to Wordstream, pay-per-click campaigns during COVID-19 are seeing both positive and negative impacts.

  • Pros: CPCs and CTRs are up.
  • Cons: many businesses are struggling with Conversion Rate.
  • Your advertising platforms can inform your decision to pause, reduce, maintain, or increase your advertising investment at this time.

PPC Benchmarks during COVID-19 Average Click-through rate

2. Evaluate Your Targeting

Keep a pulse on the performance of your targeting methods (geographic, demographic, interest-based, custom audiences, etc) and their segments.

  • If your business has moved entirely online and thus is available to a wider audience (for example, a neighborhood gym that has moved to livestreams), you way consider expanding your geographic targeting.
  • A restaurant that typically caters to tourists and now offers pickup and delivery may narrow their targeting to hone in on the local market.

3. Tailor Your Offerings and Messaging

Consumer behavior is changing rapidly in response to the constant change in our environment. How can we, as business and marketing professionals, be more helpful to our customers in these fluctuating moments? The answer—tailor your offerings to the environment and consumers needs. Google’s data on online behavior and search trends can give us insight into those changing needs and how we can best serve others.

Across markets, Google searches fall into 5 behaviors:

  • Assembling critical information
  • Discovering new connections
  • Adjusting to changes in their routines
  • Praising everyday heroes
  • Self care

Tailor your offerings and messaging to complement these 5 consumer behaviors:

  • Provide clear, regular updates about your businesses operations. These should appear on your website, social platforms, and business listings. Highlight local delivery/pickup, online, and virtual options in your ad copy and creative.
  • Create new relationships with customers and other businesses. Connect with your audience, your larger community, and look for opportunities to work together with other partners (local, regional, etc.)
  • Adapt to changing needs and routines. Consider your target audience, and ask yourself what else they might need at this time. People are turning to at-home hobbies such as cooking, dancing, exercising, and crafts. How can you educate or serve these new interests? More parents than ever are juggling childcare and working from home. Use your ad copy and creative to highlight how you can support them during this time.
  • Celebrate heroes across your community, employees, and customers. Healthcare workers and others providing essential needs and services put their lives on the line to take care of us. Share genuine praise and support for our everyday heroes.
  • Find ways to add value. Host Q&A sessions, webinars, or provide free services when possible. For example, the Tulane School of Professional Advancement hosted a series of free, public Facebook Live events addressing COVID-19 topics.

Tulane SoPA free, public Facebook Live event flyers

“Eighty-four percent of U.S. consumers surveyed say that how companies or brands act during the current market is important to their loyalty moving forward.” – Google

4. Employ Machine Learning

Machine learning allows ad platforms, like Google or Facebook, to take informed actions based on the ever-changing data it analyzes in real-time. Smart bidding, automated targeting, and dynamic creative are just some of the ways you can take the guesswork out of your advertising campaigns.

In this ever-changing environment and time of such great uncertainty, now more than ever we should take advantage of machine learning in our paid advertising. For example, Google recommends that retailers “enable automatic item updates in the Google Merchant Center to keep your product data up to date, especially for price and availability.”

If you have the means, use this time to test and hone your advertising efforts; act lean and be critical of your digital campaigns. Set your businesses up for success, both now and post-pandemic, by remaining active in the advertising sphere. Stay home, stay safe, and optimize your business’s potential during COVID-19 with these campaign strategy changes.

Need advice on how to best utilize Google credits or Facebook grant money? Contact one of our strategists today.


PPC Benchmarks