This post is part one of a two-part series about how advertisers can leverage data during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, we look at metrics advertisers should monitor in the midst of COVID-19 outbreak and how to use them to stay front-of-mind. Check back next week to hear how to use these same metrics to prepare for the future.
Right around the time the novel coronavirus started spreading across the country, shutting down schools, businesses, playgrounds, national parks, and entire counties and cities, advertisers and marketing managers shared a collective unfamiliarity. To say there was collective uncertainty over what to do next is an understatement. Where do you even begin the conversation? The unofficial rules of marketing went up in smoke while creativity and out-of-the-box thinking ruled the day. McDonald’s attempt to separate their iconic golden arches to promote social distancing received mixed reviews. Ford Motors spoke directly to customers by giving them an opportunity for a break from their payments. Kentucky Fried Chicken launched, and then immediately paused, whatever this is. All this in an effort to stay relevant to consumers.
However, believing that new, culturally sensitive creatives is the only way to connect with target audiences during the quarantine is shortsighted. Not all advertisers need to search high and low for the perfect creative messaging. Sometimes the answer for how to best connect with people who enjoy what you have to offer rests in your own data.
With that said, here is a look at four campaign staples that advertisers should monitor during the COVID-19 pandemic and what they can do with the information to make sure they maintain those valuable relationships.
- Landing Pages – A thorough analysis of your website’s landing page traffic is a quick and easy way to understand how people want to interact with your content and what you should focus on while people are under quarantine. Look for patterns and trends in the data on which you can act. For example, if you see jumps in landing pages associated with interactive content, then you may want to consider leveraging free media, such as e-mail and organic social, to direct people to these pages on your website.
*Visualization tip – try building a line graph of daily landing page sessions, segmenting out each landing page as a different color. You will end up with a whole mess of lines, but the ones performing well will stand out.*
- Tactic/Platform – It has been well documented that people are spending more time online than ever during this quarantine. Getting a firm grasp on how people are responding to your outreach efforts during this time is crucial to informing how you should interact with them. But simply monitoring these trends is not enough. You should seek to compare the performance now to the performance from the balance of 2020. For instance, advertisers have been flooding inboxes across America with e-mail messaging. Is your audience currently interacting at the same rate, worse, or better than prior?
*Pay close attention to your Channel Groupings out of Google Analytics and see how they change during the quarantine. You may see some noteworthy shifts.*
- Key Performance Indicators – For many advertisers, the key performance indicators that once gave an indication of the health of their advertising efforts are not realistic or valuable for as long as consumers remain careful about how they spend their time. Depending on your industry, metrics such as sales and bookings may no longer be a reliable indicator of the effectiveness of your communication. Therefore, it may be time to consider a new (possibly temporary) KPI to measure against. While landing page views from your social content, or page views and bounce rate from your website, may not translate to revenue for your business, a vigilant eye on these metrics can provide early indications that consumer attitudes are shifting.
*Be wary of nationally published benchmarks for these key metrics. These benchmarks oftentimes do not consider your industry vertical and can be overinflated. The help of your media agency to sift through the noise can be invaluable here.*
- Audiences – For any advertiser continuing to leverage paid media, keeping an eye on how audience responses to your messaging has changed can help you identify who you should continue to target and who you should consider avoiding for the time-being. Daily habits across the country are in flux and there is a chance that who you should consider your best audience is no longer who it had always been.
*A strong media partner can help you explore different audiences and make a strategic plan for you on where to focus your media efforts.*
If you have any questions or concerns about how to best leverage these insights or would like to have a conversation about what metrics or dimensions are best to monitor for your business and industry, reach out to Insights@mayoseitzmedia.com.