Covid-19 lockdown is mutating from the shock and novelty it once was into the new everyday reality for marketers. Working from home, talking through a webcam to cagey and erratic clients, trying to save the now while keeping an eye on the medium to long-term. If you’re reading this it means you’re still keeping on keeping on and haven’t lost your drive (or, touch wood, your job). At the beginning of this crisis, we posted this roundup of some articles we found to be oases of calm and wisdom in what had become a scary world for marketers.

Three weeks on, we wanted to bring you some more pieces with real data on the situation as it has developed and advice as to how to respond. Let’s hope three weeks from now, we can declare the glorious return of the world as we once knew it. (Wishful thinking?)

And a spoiler for MonkeyFlux partners (a positive one), YouTube and Google Display Network are safer bets than ever! Something to be thankful for.

Millions lost in ad revenue but digital consumption never higher

The first article in our roundup is perhaps the most data-driven and practical. Studying trends that are emerging in the devastating wake of COVID-19, it identifies disruptions and offers actionable advice.

  • Store visits non-existent? Get your e-Commerce online.
  • COVID-19 dominating Google searches? Adjust your campaigns to alleviate “the risk of attracting unsavoury or irrelevant searches and wasting your campaign budget.”
  • Your customers migrating from mobile back to desktop in confinement? Migrate your spending accordingly.
  • Google Search traffic falls? Diversify and find your clients elsewhere. They’re out there in even greater numbers, you just need to look for them in places you didn’t beforehand!

And as we mentioned at the top of the article, there is good news for our partners using MonkeyFlux to boost their Google Ads campaigns in the article’s rallying cry to “Dive into display and YouTube”

“With so much of your audience spending more time online, now it’s easier than ever to find them while they browse the web, scroll their social feeds, and watch videos online.”

Drop in CPM price: why YouTube could benefit

This article from SEJ has a similar message about the importance of YouTube during this period.

“As digital media buyers and strategists navigate the unknown in the coming months, one possible platform winner may be emerging: YouTube.”

Why?

According to SEJ, the fall in CPM prices is “the natural consequence of advertisers pulling back ad dollars until the situation is more under control and consumer confidence is restored.”

The good news is what appears to be causing this drop:  “a drastic increase in user consumption, providing more ad revenue than there typically is.”

This situation, coupled with the fact that YouTube’s creators are not going to be as hampered as big studios are by COVID-19 mean that it likely to see a surge in creative output.

The article finishes with a note of caution, advising brands to remain prudent but not silent:

“With an unknown timeline ahead, businesses must balance their offerings and staying top-of-mind with consumers with the need to be conservative to weather whatever future storms could arise”

Truth, Hope and Guidance

This point is one that we highlighted in this post a few weeks ago and one that is powerfully driven home by the same author, Erik Haggblöm, in the last article in this roundup.

In this, our personal favourite, Haggblöm warns that “brands are being judged by their response to the crisis.”

“Are they spectators, self-isolating in their boardrooms until the crisis ends, victims like British Airways, or are they one of the brands that have successfully offered reassurance, hope and truth?”

He is clear on the things that people expect from brands during this time. They must, he insists be truthful (BBC as a reliable source), be useful (Sainsbury’s, Tesco “elevated…to the importance of government”) and to have a voice (McDonald’s “clear communication and quick decision-making”).

In other words:

“At times like these brands are so much more than the products they sell.”

Not all brands are doing as well as they should. Haggblöm draws our attention to the below graph and Amazon’s relatively poor position on it. A company that now has all conditions in its favour should be leagues ahead of the competition, but “negative news surrounding unsafe working conditions, extended working hours and a failure to clampdown on profiteering has badly affected the reputation of the brand.”

The relative silence of brands like Nike and Coca-Cola also receive his criticism. Silence, as his title proclaims, is not always golden.

“Benjamin Franklin famously said: ‘Out of adversity, comes opportunity’. Now is an ideal time for brands to recognise this, offering the three things people need most at this time: truth, hope and guidance.”

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