Way back in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg had announced in one of his posts that Facebook has decided to change its news feed to promote meaningful social interactions among users.
“Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other,” he wrote in his post.
The message, although very subtle, was clear to the marketers – they cannot rely on organic marketing anymore. They will have to spend money on advertising.
Since then, Facebook has generated over $69.66 billion in ad revenues.
Advertisers were willing to pump money into advertising, not just on Facebook but also platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn.
However, all of it has changed ever since the outbreak of COVID – 19.
Social media platforms are showing a sharp decline in advertising revenue. Facebook’s sales estimates for the coming quarter, for example, have declined from $18.37 billion to $17.98 billion.
The average cost per click (CPC) has decreased by 19% compared to the previous low (right after New Year), while the click-through rate (CTR) has declined by 17.2%.
One key reason for the decline is budget constraints. COVID – 19 has led the brands to tighten their budget, due to which they are unwilling to spend on paid advertising.
However, the good news is, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat are seeing a surge in usage. For example, Twitter’s usage has increased by 23%, while Facebook’s usage has increased by a whopping 50%.
This implies that social media platforms can still be useful for businesses if used in the right way.
COVID – 19 has led to a resurgence of traditional social media where organic methods of marketing were the only way to get traffic and leads.
So, what impact will it have on brand strategies?
Impact On Brand Strategies During and After COVID – 19
Considering that brands have to rely on organic ways of marketing to save advertising costs, they will have to think of new ways to keep their audience engaged.
The current scenario might make it challenging for marketers. However, innovative and creative solutions could solve this issue. Brands will have to rethink their communication strategy keeping the current challenges in view.
1. Step up communication
Research by Berlin Cameron and Perksy reveals that 43% of millennials believe that brands have the power to influence and must render support to the current situation. They want the brands to communicate more than usual. This is the right time for the brands to address the situation in their unique voice. Create tonnes of content to keep the communication ongoing.
2. Don’t sell, care!
According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 40% of customers want to know how the brand is responding to the current situation. So, brands must continue to communicate. The lockdown may have led some brands to shut shop temporarily. However, that should not stop them from maintaining a regular presence on social media. Customers will appreciate it when brands show care during this period and being on the top of the mind after the aftershock of the epidemic eases out would definitely be an advantage. Take Chiptole, for example. Considering that the lockdown would have some impact on the mental health of almost everyone, Chiptole put up a message on Twitter announcing that they would be arranging Zoom calls to connect with people and listen to them. This is the time to have a human-centric communication with the audience.
3. Use social media to educate
Like B2C brands, B2B is also going to witness an impact on ad spends. B2B brands can use this opportunity to educate the audience and maintain their relationships. They can develop informative and educational content to build and retain trust with the audience. They can discuss the impact that COVID – 19 is having on their industry and how they foresee the future to be post-pandemic. Conducting AMA sessions or writing informative content on LinkedIn are a few ways to educate customers and stay connected with them during the lockdown.
4. Change the communication to keep it current
Uber Eats discarded their planned campaign for St. Patrick’s Day and instead focused on communicating on how they are keeping small businesses alive during the pandemic. People are understandably not in a celebratory mood. Thus, brands must pause their planned campaigns and focus on keeping the conversation relevant to COVID – 19.
As an ad tech company, we understand how challenging it is for marketers to navigate through the current pandemic with tightening budgets. But as the famous saying goes – this too shall pass. The resurgence of traditional social media could be a much-needed opportunity for a marketer to introspect and re-plan their marketing strategies. A silver lining for advertisers comes from eMarketer’s data which shows that the best use of ad spends currently is PPC (Pay Per Click). So, this can be the right time for marketers to find ways to optimize their budget and spend it more judiciously. Some tools can assist marketers during this downturn. AroScop, for example, provides a real-time bidding platform that enables buying and selling digital advertising inventory in real-time. It’s about spending the money wisely and where it could have maximum impact. That’s where such insights will allow marketers to prepare for their future campaigns even on a tight budget.