What does your business need to do to come out stronger from this crisis?
Online advertising works similar to the stock market. Ad platforms balance demand and supply of advertising.
Therefore, in an economic crisis, when many advertisers pull out their budgets, the cost of advertising decreases. For example, during the COVID-19 outbreak, advertising costs decreased by more than 35% for this reason.
This is actually a real opportunity for advertisers who operate in the right verticals to enter this vacuum and gain more market share.
Which businesses can still benefit from advertising during COVID-19?
As a business owner, you need to factor the change you’re experiencing in the demand for your products (conversion rate) and in your customers’ LTV. In case your demand and LTV decreased during COVID-19 by less than 35% – the rate of decrease in advertising costs – your business is part of the top 50% of advertisers who can thrive in this situation.
You should act according to the following analysis:
If you’re in the bottom 50% of advertisers, you need to reduce your budgets. The reason is that your CAC (consumer acquisition cost) will increase, and, most probably, the LTV of your acquired customers will be lower. It doesn’t mean you need to stop advertising, but this is not the time to optimize for LTVs. You need to optimize for being profitable on the first transaction. Thus, you might need to reduce budgets. This means that you should aim for breaking even on Prospecting & Re-Engagement campaigns, which will allow you to profit from your Retargeting campaigns.
If you’re in the top 50%, you need to increase your budgets. If your business is doing even better during this outbreak, you really need to scale hard. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain market share and grow while your competitors are still figuring things out.
You need a strategic dashboard to analyze your account’s performance. In these times it becomes even more important to do this analysis carefully and thoroughly. It’ll help you take a data-driven decision instead of acting on your intuition.
Tips for businesses that should be advertising during COVID-19
1. Broaden your audiences and placements
Most human beings like routine. That’s a fact, and it’s true for consumers as well, of course. That’s why it always costs more to acquire new customers than retaining existing ones.
But the COVID-19 outbreak changed their reality. This means that even the most status-quo loving consumers must adapt and make changes in their consuming habits.
That’s why this situation is a great opportunity for you to acquire new customers if you can fulfill their exact needs. For example, many older people, who used to buy everything at the store, are now buying online. They can be your next best customers if you manage to target them with the right ad.
In addition, although the whole world was affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, some countries were affected worse than others. South Korea, for example, managed to control the virus better than the US or Italy, which had to go into full lockdown for a long time.
Therefore, when advertising during COVID-19, you shouldn’t limit your audiences the same way you did before. This is an excellent time to test new age groups, countries, and regions. Even if they weren’t profitable for you in the past, now they may hold great opportunities for you.
What also changes is the way your audience is consuming content during this period. You can not assume they keep consuming it using the same channels on the same days and hours they used to.
So much content that was available beforehand is now gone, and, on the other hand, new kinds of content are now filling the vacuum created.
That’s why you should reassess your audience’s interests and not limit your channels and placements. This is a great time for diversifying your advertising methods, so don’t be afraid to try and expand your efforts.
2. Experiment with Manual Bidding
In unstable times when the market and auction prices constantly fluctuate, it’s more important than ever to have better control over your bidding process.
Thus, this is a good time to shift from automatic to manual bidding.
Bid Testing is an experiment that helps you double-down on your most profitable ad sets. It’s one of the most popular scaling strategies for advertising on Facebook and Google.
With Madgicx’s Bid Testing product, you can optimize your bids manually. This gives you much more control over your campaign budget, the number of ad sets you’re testing, the experiment length, and even the bids for each ad set.
Thanks to this experiment, instead of using the automatic bid decided by Facebook or Google, you can run with optimized bids in order to convert customers at a lower cost or outbid your competitors.
In the current market status that is constantly changing, it’s even more important than ever to adapt fast and optimize your account frequently, and this is one of the most efficient ways to do it.
3. Relevant content is more crucial than ever
As the situation keeps changing rapidly and drastically almost everywhere, staying up-to-date may be the most important thing. During COVID-19, your advertising content might become completely irrelevant if you don’t adapt and revisit it frequently.
This is your opportunity to provide them with educational content in a field that’s becoming more popular now and can help them profit. Whether you create your own course, provide them with useful tips and advice, or even market content that someone else has created, you have a fantastic opportunity to gain new customers.
In addition, when running Facebook ads, try to track creative performances before and after the outbreak. Madgicx’s Creative Insights is a useful tool that will help you to analyze trends and understand what are the ads that now resonate better with your audience.
Tips for businesses that got hit harder by the outbreak
4. Invest in SEO to gain organic traffic in the long run
If your business and vertical got hit badly by the COVID-19 outbreak, you better invest in online assets that will be beneficial in the long run after the economy will recover. You should invest more in SEO to gain organic traffic than in paid advertising, which might not be so profitable for you right now.
Achieving results with SEO takes time, so you better start working on it today. Now you have an opportunity to jump in front of your competition as many businesses pull back on SEO in order to reduce budgets. If you work hard now, you can outrank your competitors.
As I explained above, paid advertising is only profitable if your conversion rate and LTV haven’t decreased by more than 35%. For businesses that currently can’t benefit from paid advertising, it’d be preferable to focus on their SEO to gain organic traffic that will compensate for what they lost in paid traffic.
5. Be flexible and pivot your business if needed
As governments take measures and businesses can not offer the same services they used to, you should definitely start thinking of alternative ways to provide your customers with products and services. For example, gyms and dance studios that had to close because of the limitations now offer online courses and classes.
It might not be easy for you to transform your business immediately, but you can definitely start building an online presence and maybe start progressing in the direction of establishing an online business, in eCommerce for example. Many of Madgicx’s customers, who are on the safe side during this period, are eCommerce businesses.
The main thing you need to understand is that automatically deciding to stop advertising or reduce ad budgets during COVID-19 might not be the right decision for your business.
First, you need to analyze your ad performance and evaluate the changes you experience in conversion rate and in the LTV of your customers.
Then, compare these changes with the rate of decrease in advertising costs, and take an intelligent decision concerning your advertising strategy.