Fiction author. Director of Digital Advertising at Consultwebs, overseeing a team of talented social media and paid advertising specialists.
Running a business and knowing where to advertise are challenging tasks, and Covid-19 only complicated things further in 2020. By the time businesses were ready to wrap up quarter one of 2020, they found themselves faced with mountains of uncertainty. Suddenly, everything that was tried and true had changed. Many businesses were forced to move an in-office workforce into a remote setting. Consistent advertising results began to shift as people and the economy adjusted to the new Covid-19 world.
Many digital advertisers cut their losses and pulled back on their efforts; others spent more and took advantage of cheaper CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) and CPCs (cost per click). Everything we knew shifted, and advertisers had to adapt. But 2020 is in the past. We navigated those waters. So, what does digital advertising look like now that things have started to look normal again? And furthermore, how can you use digital advertising to grow your business in the current climate?
In order to spend your digital advertising dollars optimally, you should determine the answers to the following questions:
• Where is your brand now compared to where it was pre-pandemic?
• How have user and advertiser behaviors changed?
• How have advertising platforms changed?
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• How can you be proactive with your digital advertising in the future?
Analyze Where Your Brand Stands
Did your business scale back digital advertising efforts in 2020? Did you spend more? And how did that decision impact your typical position in your market? Look at your top pre-pandemic competitors and compare them to your competitors now. Who is competing with you for top spots on popular advertising platforms such as Google Search and Local Services Ads? Knowing this will help you gauge how much your brand perception has changed. Some platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, offer brand lift study services, which can help advertisers gain a tactile understanding of where they currently stand. This understanding is helpful for moving forward optimally.
Analyze How A Pandemic Lifestyle May Have Altered User and Advertiser Behavior
For example, Facebook may have been a great place to attract clients and customers in 2019, but are those users still on Facebook? Where are they spending their online hours these days? Where are advertisers spending the most cash currently?
Have costs (CPCs, CPMs, etc.) increased or decreased? If so, this is a great indicator that a market has changed. I recommend looking at a two-year, month-over-month comparison of average costs to analyze shifts in market behavior. For example, my company saw CPMs on certain platforms decrease dramatically last summer, which allowed our clients to compete more efficiently. However, those costs have since increased as more advertisers enter the market.
Determine How Changes Advertising Giants Make Could Impact Performance
A quick online search query should answer this. Here is a short list of changes that have made headlines recently:
• How Apple’s iOS 14 update impacts Facebook advertising efforts.
• Facebook’s response to Apple’s iOS 14.5 privacy update and commentary on it.
• Google is beginning to phase out broad-match-modified targeting options for search campaigns.
Make time to read about and understand these changes. They have altered best practices — drastically so in some cases. For example, before you even start advertising on Facebook, there may be additional steps you need to take with your profile and ad account (depending on your situation). Once you fully understand the changes, review your old best practices and compare them to what has changed. Identify steps and practices that you need to update, and start testing.
Consider What Your Brand Can Do To Be Proactive In The Future
None of us know what the future holds, and what works well today may not be here in even a year’s time. Experiment with a variety of digital advertising platforms to determine what works for your brand. Think outside the box and consider CTV, online radio and more in addition to conventional online platforms, such as Google, Facebook and YouTube.
The goal should be to create a consistent message across the internet and leave a lasting impression. That way, if people see or hear about your brand today, they will likely remember you in the future when they need your product or services.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Change
Uncertainty is scary, but change is inevitable. Digital advertising is no exception. This was true prior to Covid-19, and it is true now. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to understand change — in the digital world and the real world. Determine where your brand fits and what steps to take next.