With brands having to reevaluate everything in light of current market disruptions, adjusting to new realities that are constantly evolving, we have compiled some of the real-time recommendations we are making to clients looking to make real-time decisions in paid media.
Below are the top 3 questions we’re fielding from our clients about how to approach paid media planning during the current crisis and beyond. Our answers include recommendations for how to prioritize and optimize spend, establish new success metrics, and apply insights and data to inform paid media and search strategies.
BRAD ROBERS, Associate Director, Intent Marketing
JEFF DANIEL, VP, Media, Social & Analytics
“How should paid media plans shift to reflect new realities?”
Many brands are asking whether it makes sense to cancel, pause, accelerate, or revise their current media activity. Though longstanding best practices around precision targeting, optimization, and measurement still apply, the current upheaval that brands are facing has prompted the need for new media strategies. An effective response now hinges on several factors: rapidly changing media consumption habits, purchasing activity shifting online, and supply chain and inventory realities.
- Scarcity: If you’re experiencing supply-chain challenges, pausing paid media may be necessary until inventory has been restored. We’re working with our clients to employ real-time geo-specific in-stock/out-of-stock data to help guide how pauses are implemented and lifted with precision. And as supply chains adjust, shifting campaigns to reflect new online restocking behaviors can ensure that your brand joins the digital cart in the future.
- Audience-based targeting: If you’ve seen a large bump in sales, these may be attributable to new buyers switching as a result of inventory realities. Applying data sources to identify those new buyers will allow you to potentially re-message these new shoppers to retain them and build loyalty.
- Community support: If you have goodwill messaging to share, consider switching from promotional or product-centered ads to messages that spotlight those efforts with a focus on the tangible progress that your brand is contributing to.
- Consumer benefit: As your marketing and brand teams innovate to meet new consumer priorities, paid media support can be redirected to promote new usage occasions, product benefits, and simplified purchase options that promise real utility to consumers facing multiple new challenges.
“We’re working with our clients to employ real-time geo-specific in-stock/out-of-stock data to help guide how media pauses are implemented and lifted with precision.”
“What does media success look like right now?”
A successful media strategy hinges on how accurately your plan and messaging reflect your consumers’ current needs and priorities. How does the brand fit in their lives in this most unusual time of change and uncertainty where their day-to-day lives may look radically different than only a few weeks ago? If your brand can be a source of meaningful assistance, tap into a new priority, and solve a problem, media success hinges on showing up with the right message in the right place to communicate these benefits. In short, an agile approach to consumer understanding will ultimately guide how you allocate dollars in such a rapidly evolving environment.
- Baseline metrics: To track effectiveness now and moving forward, identify a set of pre-COVID-19 baseline media metrics in order to assess and measure changes as behaviors and marketplace dynamics in your category change over time.
- Vendor insights: For additional insights, tap into your media vendors, many of whom are tracking channel-specific consumption, traffic, and engagement trends.
- Agile research: Partner with your internal insights team and external research partners. Consider a quick and efficient online survey of your consumers to gauge their current mindset and explore needs that your brand may address as they adapt to new realities and plan for the future.
- Purchase behavior: With shopping behaviors widely affected by both stay-at-home orders and newly transformed in-store experiences, messages may need to be shifted to reinforce options such as curbside pickup and other transaction-focused changes.