How To Tune Your Advertising Strategy During Coronavirus (Hint: Wash Your Hands, But Don’t Call Your Media Buy A Wash)

Ashtan Moore / March 14, 2020

I have one suggestion besides washing your hands: capitalize on this opportunity, but don’t be dense or insensitive about it. That would mean doing things like trying to benefit from the fear-inducing sale of face masks through digital advertising, or pretending that non-related goods such as tea will help. Hard no to all of that. Back to advertising, here are some thoughts that I think will be helpful to you:

  • If you’re terrified of your ads being associated with it, go ahead and block the term “coronavirus” in your advertising campaigns so that you don’t advertise aside coronavirus (understanding that this will likely significantly decrease your reach).
  • If you’re concerned about a drop in attendance, take a clue from the cruise lines who keep chugging along with their advertising to keep the interest high rather than slowing down and cutting their ad spend.
  • If you’re in the Direct-To-Consumer space, think about how consumer habits are changing in your key markets: the Motley Fool believes, for example, that Netflix’s subscriber growth is going to outperform expectations due to folks being stuck at home.
  • Publicis and the New York Times are calling for lower-than-forecasted media buys due to the state of affairs, but with glass-half-full goggles it screams “opportunity” for advertisers looking to increase their media buy at a better-than-usual rate.
  • If you’re in the Business-To-Business space, think about ramping up your online webinar and presentation game. As a lot of folks are likely home, pushing advertising dollars to drive attendees could potentially revert in lower-than-usual Customer Acquisition Costs.

This may sound obvious, but I’d personally suggest not to add coronavirus to your advertising language unless your copywriter is really, really sure about it. It’s on everyone’s mind — there’s no need for a reminder. Use your ad budget to push awareness of a value that you provide in a gap that’s been created, rather than remind people why the gap was created.

And as a last value-add to this piece, I have a blurb from our Advertising Analyst, Phil Norris, who says on this topic: “Internet traffic is expected to be going up but advertisers are buying less. That means CPMs should be hitting rock bottom. Amplifying the need for those small/mid-size businesses to capitalize when usually they would be fighting with those major ad buys.”

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to chat through any challenges that you have. You can email me directly at [email protected] to schedule a time for us to discuss the mysteries of life in the digital world.

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