9 tips for getting the best value from your advertising spend during a crisis

As the fear of economic crisis looms on the horizon, companies have now had to cut back on their budgets. One of the first places that sees significant financial cuts is the marketing budget. As essential as these functions are for the growth and development of a business, a company needs to manage its marketing spending in line with what it earns. With less disposable income available in the broader economy, it makes sense for businesses to look at ways to shave budget demands that aren’t critical to the company’s basic operation.

Even with this marketing spend cut, companies still want to develop campaigns that keep their products and services within the public eye. The only way for that to happen is to be more efficient in their advertising spend. Getting the most value for the smaller ad budget available should be the most critical of a business’s marketing goals.

These entrepreneurs from Ad Age Collective  are familiar with making the most of a shoestring budget. We asked them to share their insights on how businesses can get the most value out of tiny advertising budgets. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Start with research.

You need to understand what your audience is going through before you launch any ad campaigns. Are they in a position to buy? Are all other systems such as logistics working? It only makes sense to advertise if people can still carry out normal buying activities. Learn about what’s happening with your audience so that you can make better decisions. –  Syed Balkhi , WPBeginner.

2. Focus on results.

This is a crucial time for many businesses and it has never been more important to focus on advertising spend that is directly attributable to a result. This may mean temporarily reducing your brand spend in favor of investments in performance-oriented marketing. Keep an eye on cost per acquisition — it’s everything right now. –  Michael Lisovetsky , JUICE.

3. Amplify earned media.

Find positive articles written about your company or the problems your solutions solve for customers and amplify those articles via social media. This way, you combine the credibility of third-party media with the precision targeting of digital advertising to get the most bang for your buck. By combining them in this way, you’ll fully leverage your public relations efforts and your ad dollars. –  Dan Beltramo , Onclusive (formerly AirPR).

4. Be flexible and listen.

During a crisis — and before — brands need to build in flexibility on their spend and be able to shift messaging quickly. Don’t do something off-brand, but show you are listening and have empathy. Turn to social or earned media in times of crisis to reach your audience quickly and authentically. And if able, realign ad spend and messages to address consumer needs at that time and as they change. –  Maggie O’Neill, Peppercomm. 

5. Invest more in acquisitions and SEO.

With many advertisers pulling back on ad spend and customers spending more time online, now’s the time to invest in acquisition efforts. CPMs are down with decreased demand and increased inventory, so prioritize high- and mid-funnel messages to build brand awareness, recall and trust. Also consider investing more in SEO. A high-quality, relevant online experience will help maximize sales potential. –  Chad Robley, Mindgruve.

6. Do fewer things and do them better.

Focus on a few things and choose them based on areas where you have the highest propensity to succeed. Build in the industries you already have built a reputation. Finally, go for one call to action and pour your heart into it. Remember, if you went on a first date and liked the person, all you’d want is a second date. What is your call-to-action equivalent of a second date? – Arjun Sen, ZenMango.

7. Tie advertising efforts directly to revenue.

Marketers and advertisers often despise sales, preferring to live in the world of ROI based on impressions, awareness and engagement. As antithetical as it may feel, in a crisis you need to make your peace with sales. Tying your advertising efforts directly to revenue in the short term will benefit your organization and give you resources to invest in longer-term initiatives as the crisis subsides. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap.

8. Send the right message to the right people.

With several industries decreasing or eliminating their media spends, budgets can now go further than ever, so without sophisticated audience segmentation brands run the risk of hitting the same customers over and over or delivering ineffective messages to the wrong people (while results look better than before). It is time to segment your audiences more deeply to make the best use of the budget. – Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive.

9. Seize the competitive advantage and connect emotionally.

To win during and after a crisis, brands do two things: 1) As others cut ad spend, they seize competitive advantage to assure their brand’s share of voice is higher than its share of market; 2) They shift messages to connect emotionally at scale, displaying true commitment to serving communities and customers. The lift in brand affinity, purchase intent and, ultimately, market share gains deliver peak ROI. – Sean Cunningham, VAB.

Source: https://insights.newscred.com/tips-getting-best-value-from-ad-spend/

Coca-Cola joins Facebook boycott with a pause on all social media advertising starting July 1st

New York City Lights Up In Support Of The 50th Anniversary Of The First Gay Pride March

The Coca-Cola Company is pausing all digital advertising on social media platforms globally for at least 30 days starting July 1st, the soda giant announced on Friday evening.

The move is part of a broader boycott of Facebook and Instagram organized by the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and other organizations called the  “Stop Hate For Profit” campaign. Coca-Cola is going one step further than some of those companies and banning all ads globally on social media platforms, not just Facebook and Instagram. That would suggest the boycott will hit Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms as well.

“Starting on July 1, The Coca-Cola Company will pause paid advertising on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days,” reads a statement from Coca-Cola Company CEO James Quincey posted to the brand’s website. “We will take this time to reassess our advertising standards and policies to determine whether revisions are needed internally, and what more we should expect of our social media partners to rid the platforms of hate, violence and inappropriate content. We will let them know we expect greater accountability, action and transparency from them.”

Earlier Friday, Unilever joined Verizon as the two largest companies participating in the boycott prior to Coca-Cola’s involvement. On Saturday, multinational beverage company Diageo said it also would “pause paid advertising globally on major social media platforms” as of July 1st.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced a series of policy changes that, while not explicitly in response to the boycott,  appear designed to try and address many of the criticisms the company has faced of late regarding its lack of moderation of violent threats, hate speech, and misinformation posted by President Donald Trump and other controversial accounts and pages.

“This continues a significant trend of major brands — including Unilever and Verizon — committing to pause Facebook ads for at least the month of July,” reads a statement from progressive nonprofit Color of Change, one of the organizers of the boycott. “Since Color Of Change and its partners, including the ADL and NAACP, launched the campaign on June 17, over 100 brands have signed on.” Color of Change President Rashad Robinson said on Friday that chocolate brand Hershey’s is also joining the boycott.

Yet while the boycott may be creating a wave of bad press for Facebook and Instagram, it’s unlikely even major advertisers pausing ad spending for one month will have a substantial effect on Facebook’s bottom line, as a majority of the company’s ad revenue comes from direct-response ads from small and medium-sized businesses.

“We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. “We’ve opened ourselves up to a civil rights audit, and we have banned 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram. The investments we have made in AI mean that we find nearly 90 percent of Hate Speech we action before users report it to us, while a recent EU report found Facebook assessed more hate speech reports in 24 hours than Twitter and YouTube. We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM, and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight.”

The Stop Hate For Profit campaign launched last week, starting with popular sports and outdoor lifestyle brands like The North Face and Patagonia. It has since gained steam with mainstream corporate America after picking up support from ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s and film distributor Magnolia Pictures. On Friday, Honda announced it was joining the campaign as well, and would halt advertising on Facebook and Instagram in July. “This is in alignment with our company’s values, which are grounded in human respect,” the company tweeted.

In an open letter posted Thursday, the ADL provided more concrete details regarding the changes the boycott seeks to produce in Facebook’s policies and its approach to moderation.

“Today, we are asking all businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July,” read an ad the Stop Hate For Profit campaign ran in the Los Angeles Times earlier this week. “Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/26/21305065/coca-cola-pause-ads-facebook-social-platforms-july-boycott

Nike Once Again Dares to Take a Stand, Boldly Addressing Racism Head-On in New Ad

As the country continues to reel from racism—the American Psychological Association issued a statement calling racism a pandemic —brands appear to have taken a silent or measured approach in their response.

Today, however, one of the world’s most iconic and impactful brands, Nike, has taken the boldest step so far with a new ad.

Instead of tiptoeing around the subject, the 60-second ad “For Once, Don’t Do It” from  Wieden + Kennedy Portland puts the scourge of racism squarely in the spotlight with simple, powerful statements like:

“Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America.”

“Don’t turn your back on racism.”

“Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us.”

“Don’t make any more excuses.”

“Don’t sit back and be silent.”

The ad launched at about 7 p.m. Friday, when Black Lives Matter protests were taking place nationwide.

“Nike has a long history of standing against bigotry, hatred and inequality in all forms,” said a Nike spokesperson. “We hope that by sharing this film, we can serve as a catalyst to inspire action against a deep issue in our society and encourage people to help shape a better future.”

It’s too early to tell how public reaction will play out, especially from the White House. In 2018, Donald Trump tweeted that Nike was “getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts” after the brand launched its seminal Colin Kaepernick spot that September.

However,  sales and the athletic giant’s stock price increased. The campaign that sprang from the initial ad further illustrated Nike’s commitment to social issues and highlighted one of the brand’s most visible athlete partners in that space.

As for the latest ad, which flips the brand’s long-standing “Just Do It” slogan, Kim Sheehan, director of the University of Oregon’s Master’s program in Advertising and Brand Responsibility, said she was “glad to see Nike quickly addressing how to respond to recent, horrific events,” adding, “This is authentic for them, given their support of Colin Kaepernick.”

Source: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/nike-boldly-takes-racism-head-on-in-new-ad/

Real estate pros are using this time to connect to prospects and past clients online. Building brand awareness using social media ad platforms may be cost-effective and could pay off in the long run too, according to a new study from Evocalize, a provider of marketing technology solutions for the real estate industry.

Evocalize, a 2019 member of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Second Century Ventures tech accelerator Reach program, analyzed more than 160 million ad impressions and behaviors generated over 70,000 leads from listing ads on Facebook apps and services. The analysis covers a month-over-month comparison between February to March.

Researchers found a 29% drop in media costs from Facebook advertising. “This is due to the increased amount of supply (available ad impressions) generated from the massive amount of people working from home and surfing Facebook,” the study notes. For example, the amount of video views on Facebook Live has doubled in just a week.

Also, the study notes a decrease in overall advertiser demand. Brands are reducing their marketing expenditures or halting them completely during the pandemic. The drop in demand has resulted in a drop in media rates too, the study notes.

Engagement and click-through rates have dropped somewhat during this time, the study notes. Researchers say this could because in-market buyers and sellers may still be browsing and viewing the ads but have less intent and are, therefore, clicking through less frequently.

Still, “the significant decrease in media costs, with the fluctuation in engagement and conversion metrics, leads to a near ‘business as usual’ approach to lead generation,” the report concludes. “The 15% increase in [cost per lead] means that for every $150 the average real estate agent spends on lead ads, they used to get about eight leads and now they are getting about seven leads.”

The significant drop in media costs could create an opportunity to “start building new relationships with clients and prospects,” the study notes.

Source: https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2020/04/28/is-now-the-time-to-boost-your-social-media-advertising?hs_profile=realtormag&hs_sid=87dce57a-f6a6-4a33-977a-6bbfdd730d41&hs_social=twitter

Ways Brands Are Getting Creative With Their Ads as Quarantine Stalls Production

From Burger King and Nike to Panera and Potbelly, marketers are finding clever ways to create content

There is no doubt that we are living in historic times. And brands, in common with all businesses, have found themselves scrambling to adapt to the newfound reality we all suddenly find ourselves in.

Today, the idea of spending months developing and shooting an advert feels like a pipe dream from another era. But that hasn’t stopped major brands from rising to the challenge with nimble, creative workarounds that pack a big punch.

Burger King: ‘Stay Home of the Whopper’ – Agency: FCB

This TV spot, which tells people to stay home and order delivery, was created by agency network FCB using footage that was actually shot before the COVID-19 pandemic for an unrelated ad concept. In the spirit of creative re-use, the agency team realized the footage could still work for a campaign specific to the quarantine era.

Burger King has launched a number of timely global initiatives during the pandemic, including the build-it-yourself  “Quarantine Whopper”  from Paris agency Buzzman for Burger King France. While outlets there have been closed, the brand showed consumers how to make their own Whoppers and other popular Burger King sandwiches at home using store-bought ingredients—a trend that many other brands would soon follow by releasing their signature recipes to the public. 

The brand also rolled out a social media campaign doling out free Whoppers to students who can answer tricky math, science, and literature questions.

Nike: ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ – Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland

This 60-second spot by Wieden + Kennedy Portland was compiled using still and video footage of  people exercising at their own homes during lockdown. 

While it featured megastar LeBron James, as well as Nike-backed talents like Somali boxer Ramla Ali and beach volleyball star Sara Hughes, this ad focused on everyday people doing their best to stay fit indoors.

“To those playing in living rooms. To those playing in kitchens. To those playing in bedrooms,” the ad reads. “We may not be playing to giant crowds, but today we’re playing for 7.8 billion people.”

Apple: ‘Creativity Goes On’ – Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab

With an initial rough cut assembled over a weekend and the entire production process completed in a whirlwind two weeks, Apple’s “Creativity Goes On” captured a fascinating cross-section of what creativity looks like in this moment of global quarantine.

The spot uses only “found footage” created by everyday users of Apple products and celebrities alike, but the uplifting tone of the spot avoids putting undue emphasis on the brand. Instead, it celebrates how innovation can thrive in the face of isolation.

Domino’s: ‘We’re Hiring’ – Agency: CPB

The idea of using Zoom as a primary means of workplace communication, let alone to film an entire ad, is one that just wouldn’t hold water until quite recently. But Domino’s and agency CPB have proved you don’t need fancy equipment to create an effective and topical ad.

“We’re Hiring” features real Domino’s franchisees sharing two messages: that they’re open for business and that,  perhaps rarest of all, they’re hiring.  The spot urges those seeking full- or part-time work to visit jobs.dominos.com to find current openings.

Jeep: ‘Same Day’ – Agency: Highdive

Waking up every day in this quarantine moment really can feel like Groundhog Day–which Jeep perfectly encapsulates in this series of social media shorts that reprise the classic 1993 film Groundhog Day,  featuring Bill Murray. 

“We understand that every day is starting to seem the same,” begins one video as an alarm clock strikes 6 a.m. Sonny and Cher begin singing “I Got You Babe,” and Murray wakes up once more in a Punxsutawney, Pa., bed-and-breakfast.

McDonald’s: ‘Unskippable Ad’ – Agency: Leo Burnett Moscow

Leo Burnett’s Moscow office created an “unskippable” preroll ad for McDonald’s Russia, with a simple but well played premise. The spot shows someone washing their hands for 20 unskippable seconds–the amount of time recommended for proper hand-washing.

Launched for Russian viewers on March 23, the ad has been viewed more than 120 million times, according to the agency. It’s a great example of a concept that’s  simple, but effective, and highly relevant to the present day. 

Panera: ‘One Neighbor to Another’ – Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Delivery drivers deserve our gratitude. While the world has paused, they keep things moving in our communities by dropping off essential goods including food. Panera taps into this reality with three social video shorts featuring its delivery drivers Leigh, Theodore and Velinda. 

Created by agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners to highlight the bakery chain’s service but with limited production capabilities as a result of the coronavirus, the agency had the drivers shoot the commercials themselves inside their cars.

The spots, which the agency turned around in five days, were largely unscripted and and shot entirely on drivers’ smartphones. The drivers offer positive messages, including: “Stay safe. Stay inside. And I’ll bring dinner for you.”

Lego and 10 Downing Street: ‘Stay Home’ – Agency: A+C Studios

The British government has been grappling with ways to keep people from leaving their homes during lockdown and a looming four-day Easter bank holiday weekend made the challenge even greater.

So it enlisted the help of Lego to help get the message across in an animated video released on social media last week in advance of Easter Sunday. The production firm behind the video,  A+C Studios, commissioned one stop-motion artist, who worked from home to position the figurines for the the creative while being supported, remotely, by a team of animators and post production specialists.

Source: https://www.adweek.com/creativity/10-ways-brands-are-getting-creative-with-their-ads-as-quarantine-stalls-production

Media Together: Advertising and Sales

As with all industries, the spread of Covid-19 has put strains on all facets of the media industry, including marketing, advertising and editorial teams. As part of an ongoing project, Adweek has solicited stories of those who have been furloughed, laid off or otherwise affected by the pandemic. If you’ve been affected, please consider submitting your story here.

What’s your experience been like during Covid-19?

Covid has been challenging. I’ve been laid off for three weeks now and just trying to stay grounded, but I do have moments of anxiety and discomfort. I understand that its a competitive job market so I’ve been patient, but NYS unemployment has been extremely difficult to navigate and bills need to get paid. It’s a delicate balancing act managing my emotional and mental well-being while applying for unemployment, relevant jobs and networking on LinkedIn.

Bernice Veloz

What’s your hope for the media industry post-Covid-19?

The industry is quite fascinating right now, ripe with innovation and ideas. My hope is that brands shift the narrative to forge a more authentic relationship with audiences. We’re all in this together. It’s been great to see brands pivot to address this.

What is your motivation behind working in the industry? What are some memorable experiences you’ve had during your employment in the media industry?

This industry is my calling. I am a multicultural marketing guru in training that loves shaping the narrative of how brands connect with this unique and special audience. My entire career has been quite memorable, both good and bad. One of my favorite memories is working the Latin Grammy Awards with Univision on behalf of Metro by T-Mobile. The event is grandiose; the collaboration and camaraderie among all the brands, agencies, media platforms to bring the night of life was incredible to experience firsthand.

Source: https://www.adweek.com/digital/media-together-advertising-and-sales/

Consumers ‘pay more attention’ to ads next to coronavirus news content

An increasing number of marketers are pulling back from advertising around news related to the coronavirus outbreak, yet there is evidence to suggest they should in fact be seeking it out.

Words relating to the Covid-19 pandemic have fast risen up brands’ keyword blacklists, yet there is evidence to suggest they should actually be actively placing ads next to coronavirus-related content.

It will come as no surprise that people are paying more attention to the news in the current climate, with national and regional publishers seeing record numbers of digital readers. But people are also paying significantly more attention to the advertising around it.

According to eye-tracking specialists Lumen, print advertising is currently generating 21% more attention than the norm for the medium. Some 88% of press ads run during the week of 18 to 25 March were viewed compared with an average view rate of 75%. Two-thirds (66%) of viewable digital ads were noticed compared with an average of 55% for desktop digital tests conducted in the past six months.

“It’s not that you should be doing ads and avoiding coronavirus, it’s the other way round,” says Lumen’s managing director, Mike Follett.

“There is this general belief that you don’t want to have your ads next to any form of controversial content. Brands become tremendously worried about the juxtaposition of those, and this is just another thing they want to block. The blacklists in this sense should be reversed. What [brands] should be doing is not blocking that stuff but searching it out.”

Advertising attention on the up

Dwell time – the amount of time spent actually looking at the ads – has also remained relatively strong. The average dwell time with digital ads in tests run last month was 1.5 seconds, slightly down from the Lumen average of 1.9 seconds. Dwell time with print advertising, meanwhile, increased slightly from 2.1 seconds to 2.2 seconds.

These two metrics can be combined into a single number that estimates the total aggregate attention an ad will receive per 1,000 impressions, known as ‘attentive seconds per 1000 impressions’. This reveals a slight dip in aggregate attention to digital advertising, but a dramatic increase in attention to print advertising.

Lumen estimates advertisers and media agencies could expect to generate around 1,600 second of attention per 1,000 print impressions usually. In the test period, 1,000 newspaper impressions would generate an average of 1,936 attentive seconds, an increase of 21%.

The discrepancy between the performance of print and digital advertising can, in part, be traced to the impact of interest in coronavirus. Some 60% of the press ads tested were sited next to news stories about coronavirus, while only 23% of the digital ads tested in the period were sited next to coronavirus-related content online.

What is clear, however, is that the analysis of the attention patterns within newspapers shows that the ads that appeared closest to coronavirus content outperformed ads next to other subjects.

“People are still engaging with advertising and even more than ever, so you’re going to get more bang for your buck from pretty much any form of advertising at the moment,” Follett explains.

“People look at ads in proportion to how much they engage with the editorial. The more people engage with the articles or social content, the more they engage with the ads. People are engaging more with coronavirus-related content than anything else and therefore they are engaging more with the ads around that.”

While the research can’t decipher whether the engagement is positive or negative, a  recent investigation into the impact of ‘hard news’ on advertising responses suggests hard news has no negative impact on advertising content, responses to ads or brands.

According to the Newsworks and Neuro-Insight study, the average ad dwell time is 1.4 times higher in a hard news environment (45 seconds versus 32 seconds).

Ads in both hard and soft news environments were found to deliver strong engagement (personal relevance), emotional intensity and, importantly, elicit strong levels of memory encoding.

Source: https://www.marketingweek.com/marketers-advertiser-coronavirus-news/