The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is today at the centre of all concern and speculation as the epidemic has tragically spread its web across the Globe. A health disaster but also a real financial virus for businesses, COVID-19 today tends to temporarily paralyze the world economy. All sectors are impacted and advertisers are suffering the brunt of this real tsunami in the digital ecosystem, trying to maintain their growth while waiting for a return to the normal.
COVID marketing digital
It is surprising to note the speed of the phenomenon, the situation changing the context and the figures daily. On the most impacted sectors (events, restaurants, travel and tourism), we observe a drop in conversion, sales and transaction rates, with CPCs also degraded according to verticals, for traffic which remains more or less iso. Others (drive, catering delivery, hygiene product, global health player or even general e-merchant) welcome a spectacular increase in traffic with very high conversion rates and a demand from Internet users, reduced to confinement, very present. The continued activity of the logistics and delivery platforms will also play a crucial role in the pursuit of this growth.
Google side, the statisticians of “Loop Capital Markets”, indicated that the Giant should expect to record a drop of minimum 20% of advertising revenue compared to N-1 for the sectors most affected. As for Facebook, the drop in budgets already observed in recent weeks in the travel, retail and entertainment sectors should represent a negative impact of up to 45% on their overall revenues. Under confinement and with the obligation to reduce our trips to the strict minimum, it is the players in online entertainment such as distance learning platforms, music, games or streaming who benefit from the traffic brought down from closed stores to the web, with an increase of around 20% since the start of 2020.
CASE STUDY: trends observed among advertisers
Tourism comes in pole position among the most impacted sectors. The reason: the closure of borders, the confinement of populations in several countries, closed holiday complexes and bitter travellers who have no other choice but to cancel their trips for lack of means to get there. Contentsquare records a decrease in the conversion rate around 8.5% when overall purchases on the travel and tourism websites are at -20.8%.
When classic hotel sites fared slightly better with slightly weaker conversion rates (-0.7%), the number of transactions fell by around 9%. For our part, our players in tourism (transport, camping, holiday village and group travel) feel this drop in overall conversion on their site coming from almost all channels, SEA is not yet fully prescribed with brand awareness and generic campaigns still active to try to make a difference. If the budgets are reassessed at -20, It is interesting to note that no matter the typology of the brands of this vertical, if the conversion rates fall, the traffic remains almost iso compared to N-1.
Retail is one of the other sectors hit hard, with + 25.7% of time spent searching for articles online at the start of the phenomenon. If retailers, particularly in the fashion and luxury sectors, did honourably at the start (+ 7% conversion rate), the trend has been reversed in recent days with traffic still increasing by + 6% but conversion rates which drop to almost -15%. For our retail advertisers, they are facing the closure of stores, having only digital to make a difference, while absorbing the problems of logistics, deliveries, and imports of goods sometimes from China or Italy. We observe an average drop in budgets of around 40%, with no to and red thread campaigns still active for the moment.
LARGE DISTRIBUTION & E-COMMERCE: + 20%
While today consuming in supermarkets is more of a test of Amazon than of traditional shopping, we are not surprised to see absolutely positive statistics for players in mass distribution and general e-merchants (Like Amazon,). Because who says confinement, also says more time to surf the net (+ 45% time spent), when the conversion rates benefit them from a recovery of about + 20%. A trend which should increase in the coming weeks provided that the logistics centres and delivery players obviously continue to maintain their activity to the maximum.
With our advertisers, we, therefore, see no reduction in spending on campaigns, and even an increase in budgets for some. Example of an e-merchant specializing in garden equipment products who recorded last weekend, a 40% increase in its transactions.
HEALTH: + 27%
Unsurprisingly, the overall health sector has seen a predictable increase of + 27% in conversions. There are pharmacies here, but also e-shops specializing in health products (survival kit, mask, hydroalcoholic gel, disinfectant products, etc.) and also para pharmacies. Their site visits benefited from an increase of + 10% and it is interesting to note that although the latter was shorter ( -23% of browsing time), the number of conversions increased by + 27%. Internet users, therefore, seem to have very intentional profiles with a specific product search at their head.
In the advertisers we support, some have medical offices abroad and if the traffic on their site is currently very strong. For our clients in the medical insurance sector, some have increased their budget by + 90% in light of the increase in traffic on the site. Finally, our advertisers for teleconsultation of doctors from a smartphone, are undergoing such a demand (+ 150%) that the campaigns have been reduced to a minimum to successfully manage the demand in terms of available doctors.
5 tips to adapt your web-marketing strategy
1: ensure business continuity
If in these times of crisis, the current context is not favourable to conventional businesses, digital meanwhile is doing well with an increase in traffic in many sectors. Here, we draw your attention to the importance of not giving in to panic by cutting all of your resources from web marketing. Indeed, periods of crisis make it possible, on the contrary, to be opportunistic, by capitalizing on the most digital levers, in order to make sure to capture consumers in search of distractions, during and after the storm. Despite conversion rates which fall for certain sectors, we nevertheless observe fairly stable CTRs, which clearly indicates that Internet users visiting the sites are still potential future buyers interested in your products/solutions but in some cases postpone their purchases until the situation calms down. So do not cut your campaigns but prefer short-term Roiste devices to maintain maximum turnover.
2: Minimize disruption by communicating with your customers
Observed among many advertisers, internal and logistical reorganizations can be favoured, causing sudden ghosting of the databases and a lack of communication. You will understand, this is the false good idea in the face of this crisis which certainly has a strong impact on brands, but also on users in their consumption habits. In fact, be particularly vigilant about the attention paid to existing customers in terms of communication, be present. If the urgency also seems to be in acquiring new consumers to boost sales, do not take your existing pool for granted. There is no shortage of resources, remember to navigate these troubled waters while keeping in touch with your community, push promotions or new products, challenge them and invite them to interact with your content, especially in your visibility strategy on networks social. If it was still necessary to call her back, a new customer costs twice as much as a loyal customer, and it is especially the latter that will lead you through a delicate episode like the one we are currently experiencing. Also, ensure your visibility and your presence on all channels too, beyond advertising memorization, promote interaction, and ultimately, trigger the purchase or re-purchase on your site.
3: reassess your conversion journey
Favour a performance lens in the invested dollar. The objective: to stand out and work on its visibility in a quantitative way, yes, but above all in a qualitative way to ensure that you optimize potential profits during this period. With the closure of businesses and the flap of traffic directly on digital, the increase in requests will be a nice opportunity to convert, provided you simplify your purchasing journey as much as possible to ensure the best ROI. First, identify the different phases of the user’s journey to adapt it and prepare the actions to be taken, as well as the discourse to adopt. Attention, who says investment on the levers also says the creation of dedicated content. Whether through videos, banners or specific landing pages, bet on the Wow effect to which the creative part contributes. Work on your ecosystem to present an optimal synergy between your multi-lever and multi-channel content, and count on your creativity to strengthen your chances of distinguishing yourself from increased competition. For certain sectors, make sure to cover at least the foreseeable increase of 10% of CPCs as well as 11% of requests, this is the time to be ambitious not to miss CA and the acquisition of new consumers. Finally, we obviously advise you to pay particular attention to the known friction points for this new phase of your strategy: landing pages, contact forms, registrations, etc. Be sure to simplify and optimize them as much as possible to ensure conversions., but also to preserve your budgets by limiting your costs by acquiring sales vs new consumers.
4: Concentrate your investments
If you are strongly advised not to cut your advertising campaigns, it is important, however, to focus on the essentials by re-arbitrating your budgets by the channel during this period. Also, make an inventory of all the levers at your disposal and their added value in your overall marketing strategy. In this way, you will be able to define more effectively those on which to capitalize on priority to reach your audience in the coming weeks. Beyond getting started on Amazon Ads (which advertisers will surely come out on top of this crisis), also think about covering your basics:
Search, the most intentional
To ensure an optimal presence on strategic and value-generating queries by taking into account generic keywords to widen your visitor base, if you want to maximize your conversion opportunities. Do not hesitate to capitalize more on the audiences worked previously to cover the very large part of the requests coming from people who know you as well as by developing personalized ads. Once your presence is assured, make sure that your message is clear and precise. Remember to properly customize the wording of your ads and extensions, according to the audience to which they are addressed thanks, among other things, to the ad customizer such as the IF function, to display your best offers. This will be much more impactful and will give you better CTR. Remember to use Dynamic and Responsive ads to anticipate requests and maximize your share of voice. Finally, to increase interest and create a sense of urgency in relation to your offer add a countdown to your ads. Do not hesitate to use all the ad extensions which will allow you to add additional information (price extensions, site extracts), to redirect Internet users to deep and specific pages (extensions of site links and promotion), while extending the visibility of your ads.
Your Shopping campaigns will certainly be a major asset during this period. It will be essential to create or reactivate your Smart Shopping ads since it has been shown that they generate more Conversion Value than conventional campaigns. If you also have an acquisition objective, consider adjusting the target ROAS of the campaign downward, to ensure greater reach while seeking performance. If you want to go further in your profitability goal, create different smart shopping campaigns segmented by Tops and Other Products or Products generating the most margin vs the least profitable products. Also in the context where consumers use Search to find inspiration, Showcase shopping ads (accessible via classic shopping campaigns) will help differentiate your brand and highlight your products. This will provide a taste of your product selection (when they are not sure what they want to buy and what brand they want to buy).
YouTube, the most interactive
Pioneer of online video, YouTube is the benchmark lever for combining branding & performance! With targeting methods that are as varied as they are precise, video campaigns are a major asset in arousing the interest of consumers looking for distractions. With an audience comparable to TF1, YouTube offers an extremely wide scope to start reaching the Internet users likely to be interested in your offers. YouTube is already one of the most popular platforms for Internet users looking for entertainment in these times of confinement. An audience is available and ready to listen, therefore.
5: Prepare for your return to normal
The light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, in all these new devices, the important thing is not to lose sight of the return to normalcy. To welcome this future return to growth, plan your marketing action plan well in advance so as not to lose any opportunity during the very strong economic recovery that will follow the epidemic. Indeed, historically, after events of such an impact, the boom in demand will offer many boost overall in all industries, especially with the approach of the summer period. It is therefore advisable to proactively prepare the development of post-crisis mechanisms: increase your recovery budgets, review all of your creative assets to mark your audiences in search of lightness, prepare commercial actions to celebrate this return normal, diversify your levers, anticipate the reactivation of your drive-to-store campaigns, At the same time, we capitalize on the Google Merchant Center, we optimize its product flows, we work on its audience and remarketing lists in order to capture the attention of internet users with high potential when the storm has passed.
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