Is it really a good idea to increase ad spend on social media during lean economic times?
Here’s what we found out:
Social distancing has made social media our connectivity lifeline.
People are spending a ton of time right now using those platforms to connect and cope with isolation.
- Social Media Today reported people are spending 20% more time in social media apps during the COVID-19 lockdowns
- Facebook reported 50-70% increased usage in areas hard hit by the outbreak.
But… many economic experts are predicting a recession, the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes.
So, most businesses are cutting back ad spend, tightening their belts, and moving into defense mode in preparation for a long recovery once the economy finally hits bottom.
Influencer Market Hub completed a survey in late March of 237 brands to see how they are coping with the crisis. Here’s a bit of what they found out:
- 69% of brands expect they will decrease ad spend in 2020
- 74% of brands are posting less on their social media accounts at present
- only one in four companies are set to increase their marketing activities
And… we find ourselves in this very unique situation…
Advertisers are spending less money and effort on digital media but the platforms that provide those services are experiencing record level usage during COVID-19.
Which brings us to another key finding in the survey:
- brands continuing to advertise online have seen the cost per 1,000 impressions (CPMs) fall and the trend in the cost per click (CPC) flat or down. This has resulted in their return on advertising spend (ROAS) trending much higher than usual.
“Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” – Warren Buffett
Fewer advertisers mean there is less competition to get people’s attention and less competition for the ad space or real estate itself. Now factor in the fact that more and more people are home scrolling through their newsfeeds more often. More eyeballs on Facebook equates to more inventory for ad space that Facebook has to sell. The opportunity is two-fold. You can reach more people, more often, and have a potential reduction in pay-per-click advertising costs.
If you have the capacity, this is a great time to scale up on digital media activity and even better for those with the financial resources to spend money on ads. Make lemons out of lemonade. Take advantage of:
- lower digital marketing competition
- record-high levels of social media traffic
- a heightened interest in health-related content, especially when related to COVID-19.
Use these factors to strengthen relationships with existing patients and nurture relations with new audiences. To put it clearly, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for healthcare businesses to gain market share.
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What content should you promote?
No matter what healthcare field you are in, you can find a way to tie it to COVID-19 and deliver content that is educational and helpful. The variety of directions you can go in is only limited by your creativity and if you can incorporate pandemic-relevant keywords, you may even increase organic search results as well.
You don’t have to completely re-create your content calendar but simply incorporate some aspect of COVID-19 into what you are already producing to increase relevance. Later, when the outbreak is no longer the main focus, save time and effort by simply editing your content without the COVID-19 bits and pieces.
When creating ads right now, resist the urge to go for the sale. Instead, focus on brand awareness, reach, traffic, and top of the funnel objectives. Google and Facebook advertising are both producing lower conversion rates right now. People are looking and learning but not necessarily buying. So, spend money where people are willing to go versus pushing against the current conditions. Grow audiences that you can later re-target (video-views, website traffic, email subscriptions, etc.). With a bigger audience and stronger brand awareness, you’ll ready to pivot to asking for the sale when conditions are more favorable with a warm audience.
We know, budgets are tight right now. Here are 5 free ways to reach your audience.
1) Update Your Google MyBusiness Profile.
It’s free and it is tied to Google Maps and Local Search results. Update your hours, add any COVID-19 related services, and create more posts.
2) Write More Blog Posts
Try to incorporate pandemic related keywords in your content. For example, a post about low back or neck pain could be edited to “Avoiding Neck Pain Wile in Quarantine.” Share this on social media and include a subscription call to action in the blog post to grow your audience.
3) Give Facebook Live a Try
Use live videos to answer FAQs or provide advice. These are saved and can be used later to create an ad with the objective of video views that can later be used to retarget viewers.
4) Support Other Local Businesses
Try sharing a different local business, highlighting positive things they are doing related to COVID-19. It creates goodwill among your fellow businesses and with your audience. Don’t forget to tag the businesses you highlight for a larger reach.
5) Just Check-In
Tell them you’re thinking about them. Activity on social media doesn’t have to be mind-blowing. A simple heartfelt note wishing them well with a picture of you is powerful.
When COVID-19 is Over
Eventually, the economy will open up and life will arrive at our new normal. Until then, take this time to help people. Providing resources, information, and education they’re searching for and crave. Guide them through the process of getting to know your organization and build familiarity and trust. Use pixels and tracking to build your audience and get subscribers. Fill your funnel while interest in health and wellness is high and competition for ad space is low. After the dust settles, your brand will be familiar and your funnel will be ready to burst with new business.
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