Learning from Trends in Advertising During a Recession

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As we rounded out April 2020, paid media advertising spend in the US had seen more than a 50% decline over the past two months.

It makes sense. Media dollars for search engine marketing are meant to drive conversions. And because of coronavirus (COVID-19), many traditional conversions simply cannot happen right now.  Advertising during a recession has historically been tough, and what we’re watching unfold – recession 2020 – is being felt globally.  

If you’re a marketer or business leader, maybe you’ve recently made cuts to your paid media campaigns and marketing strategy, especially when campaign performance started to decline or when you read a trillion blog posts telling you to cut the fat. If your company’s product or service is deemed “nonessential,” it is logical to pull back paid spend.

But how do you sustain your business and livelihood?

Every job sector has experienced major change; many people are out of work. How do you speak to a new customer psyche and promote offerings without offending?

We have some suggestions for empathetically serving your customer base during uncertain times.

Paid Spend Is Down. What Should Be Up?

As overall paid media spend trends downward in the US, what is happening in its absence? What should be happening?

Because of major technological advancements, recession advertising and marketing are going to be different this time around. We recommend placing digital advertising where customers are spending their time, then supporting that with other tactics.

Recently trending digital territory: 

Streaming platforms. Video streaming has skyrocketed over these past few weeks. With quarantine behaviors restricted to stay-at-home best practices, the world is on the internet even more. Conviva reports an increase of 26% in streaming in the past month alone. Because of this, over-the-top (OTT) media services, can be a way to deliver your messaging to internet-connected TV via programmatic technology. Because of its relative newness, there’s no precedent for using OTT advertising during a recession, but it is a known way to reach new audiences. Consult with your trusted marketing agency, as OTT measurability and management can be difficult.

Your usual PPC – but more targeted. You can still run paid search ads and PPC in your chosen networks. But since people are acting in unpredictable ways, make sure you’re targeting audiences efficiently and being sensitive about messaging.

Email and helpful content. Another time-tested and reliable tool is email marketing, especially when it truly helps customers by including useful content you created. Email continues to be one of the most effective marketing channels. HubSpot recently shared that email open rates are 25% higher than pre-COVID-19 averages. If you’re curious about starting or improving your email strategy, start with these email marketing FAQs.

Chat tools. With the influx of internet traffic, your website has quickly become your busiest salesperson and your billboard. When you enable real-time chat or website chatbots, conversations with prospects and customers can continue naturally. Unsurprisingly, the use of chat and chatbots has drastically increased. In April 2020, Intercom reported a 620% month-over-month increase in chat conversations mentioning coronavirus. Businesses are using live chat to direct web traffic to essential content, answer popular questions and create a frictionless customer experience. Those who have an aging website or outdated technology are now scrambling to make up for that lost time.

Sailing Uncharted Waters – with a Good Boat

The above marketing avenues have been both popular and effective over the past few weeks. However, we can’t stress enough that businesses and consumers are in uncharted waters. There is no clear-cut “pandemic marketing plan,” but there are ways to make your digital marketing strategy perform as well as it can.

If you need any help with creating new ideas for your business, answering questions about your industry or beginning one of the methods in this post, Oneupweb is here to help. Please reach out to us online or give us a call at (231) 922-9977.

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