Media Insights

Marketer’s Guide to Navigating COVID-19 | Edition 1

As the COVID-19 situation rapidly develops, our teams are doing everything they can to help our clients navigate the impact on their marketing programs.

Through that work, we are identifying trends and themes that we want to share with the broader marketing community. To start, we have summarized the trends we are seeing across our client portfolio and captured the critical first steps marketers should take to combat the effect of COVID-19 on marketing investments

1) Store traffic is rapidly declining

  • Pull back investments on store-focused spend such as display ads and local inventory ads
  • Shift investments into channels with a history of strong ecommerce performance
    + Lean into targetable channels, such as paid social and display retention campaigns, that are valuable to drive promo awareness among loyal shoppers
    + Shopping ads are strong ecommerce influencers. Where possible, shift buget from non-brand search to product listing ads
    + Use key affiliate publishers to promote offers and increase conversion rate at the POS
  • Revisit creative and update store-focused messaging

2) New products and search terms are starting to trend

  • Compare your top products and search terms to the same time last month
  • Watch your search queries and do not broad match
  • Decrease bids on store-related queries
  • If you see new products or terms driving strong volume, breakout separate ad groups and product targets to better optimize
  • Edit promo messaging and ad copy to highlight product categories that suit your customers’ immediate needs

3) Brand messaging is shifting in response to changing consumer sentiment

  • Figure out how your brand message can authentically address today’s consumer demand and sentiment – e.g. offer or expand your free shipping policy to encourage continued shopping with your brand
  • Be flexible to change as your customer is changing by the day/hour/minute
  • Adjust ad messaging to support these updated brand goals
  • Leverage targeting abilities in channels like Paid Social to push promotional messaging to known loyalty audiences

4) Markets are not performing as they normally would and are being impacted differently

  • Analyze geo-based performance and adjust bid modifiers based on recent data
  • Suspend geo-split testing
  • Suspend store-specific initiatives, whether they are intended to drive store traffic or measure the efficacy of store-driving media

5) Volume is shifting to tablet and mobile as people stay home

  • Watch your device mix and optimize to device types that best support ecommerce performance

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!

Download the full guide here.


Steve Baxter

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Steve is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. Steve oversees delivery and growth across paid digital media, owned digital media, traditional media, marketplaces, and creative services. He has been with the company since 2010 and launched Ovative’s media practice in 2012. Prior to joining Ovative, Steve worked at Target for 8 years where he led development of... Read More >>

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