There is no other way to articulate it, it’s a scary time to be a marketer and/or business owner right now.
With all the uncertainty around how long the COVID-19 pandemic is set to impact almost every aspect of how we live, it’s hard to decide what’s best for business when it comes to marketing. Should you stop your marketing and advertising initiatives in the midst of the crisis? And if you continue to advertise at this time, how will your message be received by consumers who are also stressed about their own situation?
At the end of the day, every business and marketer needs to make the most logical decision for their own unique circumstances to make sure their business will survive this pandemic. If your business is fortunate enough to stay open and continue to keep a solid marketing campaign, then the pandemic may be in your favor. This might be the thing that keeps you afloat through the difficult weeks and months ahead.
Before we state the reasons why Facebook Ads are essential for your business during COVID-19, there is one thing to take account of. Even though this is still a good time to advertise, you should be aware that the conversions are not likely to roll in as they usually would. In the short term, your campaigns may not generate bottom-line results, however, there are other benefits to keep the awareness of the campaign going.
With the majority of businesses shutting down and most people on lockdown in order to flatten the curve of the virus, the usage of social media is surging.
Since people are refraining from going out to bars or engaging in outdoor activities, they’re turning to Facebook and Instagram much more than normal – which means that the amount of available impressions is also on the rise and the reach of your targeted audience is equally on the rise. This will lead to lower overall operating costs for your campaigns.
This isn’t the time to test any new marketing tactics, however, those who can spend the money to keep their campaigns running for the next 30, 60, or 90 days will be doing so in a more favorable market for attention.
Whenever there’s a fork into “business as usual”, the first resort that many businesses tend to do is to pause their ad campaigns, with a view to restarting them again once the situation dies down. And that is exactly why you should keep your Facebook Ads going (if you can afford to) during this particular crisis.
With your competitors likely out of the running, your shared customer base will be ripe for the taking. And again, with competition for the same audience lower, you’ll inevitably see lower operating costs (CPC, CPMs) as well, thus making your spend even more impactful.
It is inevitable that conversions are likely to decrease due to what is happening currently in the world, it could also be a good idea transition to a lower-cost objective, like brand awareness, with your Facebook Ads.
Brand Awareness ads are targeted to as many impressions as possible among your targeted audience in the hopes of generating brand exposure. Facebook measures this by asking those who were shown an ad if they remember seeing it two days after being served. This can be seen as a double-dip because if they don’t remember it, they’ll be reminded through this process.
The results that these campaigns typically generate are a few cents and are terrific for maintaining a high brand exposure. If you need to scale back budgets, and believe that awareness is more business-critical than conversion at this stage, this is the way to go.
While there are key business reasons why you would want to keep your Facebook Ad campaigns active during a time like this, it’s important to also consider how your brand will be perceived by its audience as a result. Given this, we highly recommend that brands consider changing their messaging or offers in order to serve people, as opposed to hard selling at this stage.
Changing your approach just a little in the short term can help you win the trust and admiration of consumers in the longer view. You can do this by offering discounts, freebies in the future, or even complimentary access to premium services.
We shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking that advertising isn’t about making money, however, we should definitely be sensitive about how we do it. Offering helpful, thoughtful service, and/or increased value and utility in a time of need won’t be forgotten when the crisis passes.
We wish you well in weathering this time of uncertainty and anxiety. It’s challenging for everyone – and for marketers, maintaining the balance between business needs and issue-sensitivity will remain a difficult balancing act.
Consider the situation your audience is facing, what they need, and where your business can help, and you can build thoughtful, respectful campaigns and offers that will also go a long way towards helping your business make it through the crisis.