Facebook ads during Coronavirus — What should a business do?
This was one of the many requests I received during the weekend from our clients.
Coronavirus is a pandemic, affecting businesses, the stock market & life around us.
A unique situation we are witness to for the first time in our lives.
As a general rule, during a recession, people don’t spend but save.
Add to it the self-imposed quarantine & the reduced ability to get goods delivered; people are stuck.
In this post, we’ll summarise the Pros & Cons of Coronavirus, whether you should be running ads and how to keep your audiences engaged & cash flowing.
Disclaimer: This post doesn’t encourage monetisation of the pandemic. It investigates & suggests measures to help businesses sustain & plan for the future and still keep customers happy.
Pros of Coronavirus w.r.t Facebook ads
Fewer Advertisers — Businesses are cutting their marketing expenditures. Reduced advertisers mean you can get more for the spend. Reach more users for every $ spent.
Increased Screen time — People have more time on their hands than they ever did. What does one do? Open their phone & browse Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the other apps designed to kill boredom (also Tik Tok)
Cons of Coronavirus
Reduced Purchasing Power — In a recession or a crisis, people tend to save what they have. Essential expenses become the priority over discretionary & self-gratifying purchases.
Business Operational Issues — Businesses that rely on the physical presence of human being at any stage of the transaction, will suffer during this time.
Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap — The Bible, Galatians VI (King James Version)
Times are uncertain. But we shouldn’t just sit. Times like these are when you lay the foundation for the rewards you reap in the future.
Should you pause your ads?
Note: Facebook algorithm resets after a campaign is paused for more than 7 days
What that means is the data that you’ve collected by running your ads all these days is rendered partially useless.
When you resume these ads, they go into the ‘Learning’ phase again. They ‘reset’.
That said, the return to stabilisation is quicker compared to a campaign starting from scratch.
What businesses remain unaffected?
If you run an online business that does not involve the customer getting in touch with you to make a payment, keep going!
Industries like e-learning, casino, digital goods among others remain comparatively unaffected.
On the contrary, they are likely to see an increase in business.
What businesses are most affected?
Travel, hotels, event management, local services will be the most affected.
How to assess the situation for my business?
Follow & consult the local official bodies
Look out for news updates, tweets, Facebook posts from the official organisation in the regions your business operates in & where your customers reside.
Assess the number of cases, the panic level & logistics in those areas.
2. Watch Google Trends
Regularly review search trends for your business.
Things are changing very fast. I recommend looking at hourly & daily trends
3. Watch the financial market
See what the people at Wall Street are doing. If they are shorting stocks of companies that affect your business, you need to reevaluate your business strategy.
4. Monitor Social Media Chatter
Hear it from the horse’s mouth. What your customers say is what you should do.
If they are worried about stocking up on toilet paper, then an ad about buying your colour changing mug is a bad idea.
5. Keep an eye on the competition
It’s new for everybody. Everyone is trying to find ways to sustain this.
Mistakes will be made. But many positives will also emerge.
See what your competition is doing. Look at how people are reacting to it. Learn from it.
Use the Facebook Ad Library.
6. Read the news (not the fake one)
Don’t believe anything that doesn’t come out from an officially designated organisation.
Institutions like the WHO & your respective ministries of health & other departments should be your go-to source for authentic COVID-19 information.
Any other source of information (even from Doctors), should be looked with scepticism.
What can & should you do?
The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets. — John D. Rockefeller (American business magnate)
Ruthless, but true. Everything’s on sale. And this one’s even bigger than the biggest Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaign in history.
Company shares are discounted, travel is cheap, and so are Facebook ads.
1. Run Reach Campaigns
Brand building at this time is crucial. If you sell discretionary products or products that are affected by the COVID-19 virus. You can run Reach campaigns.
Reach campaigns allow your ads to be shown to your audience once daily.
They are cheap & still gets your point across.
Generate Leads & nurture them
My recommendation for this period.
Get people to opt-in to your Messenger, opt-in pages, Whatsapp, Facebook/Telegram groups.
Any place that either offers them a sense of community or keeps them busy.
Send them follow-ups, value-based articles, show them you care.
And when this whole thing is over, you’ll see the revenue pouring in from these same leads.
Engage the audience
People are on their devices more than ever. Publish posts that encourage encouragement in the comments.
Empathise, not monetise
In these tough times, the worst turn-off for any customer is the monetisation of their fears.
Avoid creating panic to sell your products & services. Instead, join in the conversation about COVID-19 from the context of your business & how it affects your customers
Always make it about them, not yourself
Pause your ads
That’s always a solution. You can wait it out. Watch the situation & decide later.
Or you could take this as an opportunity to explore avenues you had forgotten in a To-Do list on Trello.
Test new approaches
Costs are low. You’re getting more value for your spend than ever before. Take risks, be brave.
After all, Facebook ads are all about that A-B-T — Always Be Testing.
Good luck & don’t forget to wash your hands.👏