Marketers' playbook for recovering from COVID-19
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Marketers’ playbook for recovering from COVID-19


30-second summary:

  • Rather than waiting until the dust completely settles, the savviest brands are looking ahead to what comes next and how to get there, much like the government plans.
  • Every brand will need to send the message: We’re open for business. But waiting until we’re fully back to normal before reaching out to your target audiences is a mistake. Instead, stimulating demand during the reopening process is the key.
  • The reality is, now is a perfect time to connect with your audience. More people than ever are still largely at home, and as a result, they’re consuming more content than usual.
  • While creating demand is the goal, “buy now” messages probably aren’t the best way to connect with audiences. Be optimistic in your approach as we all long to get back out there – join the conversation and be part of the solution.

President Donald Trump recently announced new guidelines for reopening parts of the country, one of a number of positive signs that we’re getting a handle on how to manage the COVID-19 crisis and can begin to safely forge a pathway toward normalcy. For marketers, that means the time is now to be doing the same.

Rather than waiting until the dust completely settles, the savviest brands and marketers are looking ahead to what comes next and how to get there, much like the government plans.

While many brands are doing well to survive this pandemic, the key is to figure out how to return to thriving as the country begins to reopen – and the work toward doing so must happen now.

Even though it isn’t the case for all industry verticals (it will take more time for airlines, hotels, and cruise lines to rebound, for instance), most brands that embrace a forward-looking strategy will be in a much stronger position once we return to a robust business environment that we all long for.

Demand generation is key

The No. 1 priority for marketers as the country reopens is going to be generating demand for their products and services.

Every brand will need to send the message: We’re open for business. But waiting until we’re fully back to normal before reaching out to your target audiences is a mistake. Instead, stimulating demand during the reopening process is the key.

Think about it this way: When an automaker launches an all-new vehicle, they don’t wait until dealers’ lots are fully stocked before revealing the vehicle.

They build anticipation and demand by previewing new models at auto shows or via online reveals well before they ever start producing them en masse – so as soon as those vehicles are built, customers are clamoring to drive one home.

This strategy will serve marketers well as they navigate the pandemic and their response. Even if you don’t know exactly when you’ll be able to fully reopen your businesses or start welcoming customers back in large numbers, you know that you will, and that creating demand is a big part of getting back to work.

It’s about time

The reality is, now is a perfect time to connect with your audience. More people than ever are still largely at home, and as a result, they’re consuming more content than usual. In fact, Nielsen estimates that sheltering at home could lead to a 60% increase in viewership.

What that means is that it’s now a buyers’ market for advertisers. Inventory is more affordable than ever, and noise level from competitors has decreased, creating a strong opportunity for brands to increase their share of voice.

In addition, brands that project an image of stability during an unstable time will surely reap bigger benefits as the economy recovers.

Of course, it’s important to make sure your messaging matches the current environment.

While creating demand is the goal, “buy now” messages probably aren’t the best way to connect with audiences. Be optimistic in your approach as we all long to get back out there – join the conversation and be part of the solution.

Being a good sport

One large part of our culture that will be slower to return to normal is professional sports. The 2020 Olympics are postponed to 2021, and it’s anyone’s guess when or if we’ll see football, baseball, basketball, or hockey again this year.

Even golf, one sport that’s beginning to plan for its return, will be played at gallery-free courses, as viewers will only be able to watch from the safety of their homes.

But while sports are off the air temporarily, all is not lost. Brands that covet live sports audiences can still reach them.

Viewers who would normally be watching the NHL or NBA playoffs aren’t turning off their TVs. Instead, research shows they’re watching other programming like SportsCenter, American Idol and ABC World News Tonight at high rates.

The takeaway here is that the brands that emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in the best shape will be the ones that will successfully let people know that they’re open for business.

The way to do that is through planning ahead, taking advantage of inventory deals when they can be had, and gaining in share of voice when possible – making advertising a key part of the recovery process.

Jon Schulz is the CMO of  Viant and a recognized industry thought leader in automotive marketing, digital advertising and advanced analytics. As the lead marketer within a company focused on leveraging big data and analytics to drive efficient media spend, Jon oversees numerous research initiatives designed to provide actionable data to brand marketers using Viant’s people-based insights.



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5 Motivational Hacks for Working From Home
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5 Motivational Hacks for Working From Home


a quality cup of coffee can be a good motivator to hit the next target.

Connect With Colleagues

Working from home can become lonely for some. Especially those who are used to being surrounded by their colleagues on a daily basis.

Scheduling time to connect with colleagues is a good way to add a social element to your workday. This doesn’t necessarily need to be work-related chat, in fact a purely social call can be more beneficial for motivational purposes than making it purely business.

If you don’t have the time to make a personal call to your colleagues, make sure you engage in a little casual chat at the beginning of each work call. You can also take this time to check in on them and make sure they are all doing ok.

Learn

The vast majority of us have a little extra time on our hands at the moment, especially during the workday. Using this time to learn can be a good way to inspire and motivate you.

Reading marketing blogs, taking business courses or even learning a skill from a colleague can give you some great ideas for ways to take your business and career forwards.

Relax

It is easy to get lost in all the content around the lockdown. It seems like every day we are seeing people ‘getting in the best shape of their lives’ or ‘doubling down on business’. This sort of pressure to do something more at a time which is already stressful can be toxic.

Spend some time to work out what your priorities are, both in work and life. Then make sure you meet these. Other than that, it is ok to relax and take some time for yourself.

With seamless software, simple communications and easy to transport computers, practically working from home is very simple. Yet remaining motivated during these periods can be a tricky task. Follow the hacks in this article to help keep you driven and focused on what matters during this difficult time.





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Omnicanality can save stores from closing down during COVID-19
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Omnicanality can save stores from closing down during COVID-19


30-second summary:

  • Omnicanality, which consists in being able to address customers who only buy in a store on other channels (email, SMS, social networks, search, etc.), represents a significant value creation opportunity for companies.
  • The brands that manage to stand out and maintain a close and trusting relationship with their customers are the ones that will succeed in maintaining their business over the long term.
  • Identify your best customers and address similar profiles in your acquisition campaigns in order to recruit immediately your future best customers, those who will generate the most value over time.
  • A key factor in personalizing marketing actions to each consumer, depending on the products for which he or she has a strong preference. With the help of relevant product recommendation templates, retailers can effectively turn purchase intentions into action, directly on their websites.

Against the current backdrop of the global health and economic crisis, companies find themselves faced with an unprecedented situation. With the closure of physical stores as a result of government measures, the resurgence of ecommerce is both essential and crucial for retailers.

The urgency for the latter is to compensate for the total loss of in-store activity by generating qualified traffic and sales on the website.

Increase web traffic without giving in to intrusive and polluting practices

Heavily impacted by government decrees imposing the closure of businesses across several countries, brands must rely on the web as their sole source of revenue.

In such a situation, brands would run the risk of giving in to consumer practices that are irresponsible and therefore not very effective, in the hope of boosting their online sales.

In the past, brands have already tried to compensate for declining in-store traffic through mass marketing and aggressive promotional efforts. A method that only leads to increased expenditure, deterioration of their margin and the relationship they have with the consumers.

Increased communications could lead to a saturating effect on targets, who are already solicited by many brands wishing to bring customers to their websites.

In such a context, the personalization and contextualization of messages and channels is more important than ever.

The brands that manage to stand out and maintain a close and trusting relationship with their customers are the ones that will succeed in maintaining their business over the long term.

By rethinking their marketing approach and adopting omnicanality, they will be able to effectively direct their sales to the web, without having to reduce their margins.

Omnicanality, which consists in being able to address customers who only buy in a store on other channels (email, SMS, social networks, search, etc.), represents a significant value creation opportunity for companies.

We know, for example, that an omnichannel customer spends on average 3 to 4 times more than a customer who only buys in a store. Solutions favoring omnicanality exist to enable brands to maintain their activity in this period of crisis.

Immediately actionable digital solutions to develop ecommerce sales

Broadening the customer base is the first step towards enabling brands to maintain or even boost their sales.

Identify your best customers and address similar profiles in your acquisition campaigns in order to recruit immediately your future best customers, those who will generate the most value over time.

Moreover, to transform store customer traffic into web traffic, individualized marketing is an effective solution. Proximity resulting from the personalization of messages is a crucial factor in the success of campaigns.

Knowing how to identify the needs of each customer and approaching them at the most appropriate time is the added value of data analysis, which is made possible by AI and achieved through individualized marketing.

Data analysis by artificial intelligence offers retailers the ability to detect purchase intentions on their website.

A key factor in personalizing marketing actions to each consumer, depending on the products for which he or she has a strong preference. With the help of relevant product recommendation templates, retailers can effectively turn purchase intentions into action, directly on their websites.

For this reason it is urgent for retailers to rethink their way of doing marketing today and develop adapted marketing scenarios with relevant and individualized messages, which will enable them to maintain ties with their customers and sustain turnover.

David Le Douarin started his professional career in 2001 at Yahoo, as European Channel Manager. He joined the start-up Freever in 2003, specializing in Internet telecommunications services, which was bought in 2007 by Buongiorno. In 2011 he participated in the creation of Lumata, specializing in mobile marketing. In 2014, he met Olivier Marc with whom he founded Advalo, an individualized marketing solution for retail players.



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How COVID-19 is affecting notifications and ads in newsletters
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How COVID-19 is affecting notifications and ads in newsletters


30-second summary:

  • Customer engagement platform Airship reports an 18 percent growth in mobile messaging volume on its platform from February to March, when COVID-19 began to really take hold.
  • Airship also found a 58 percent increase in web site visits over the previous month, resulting from direct opens of notifications on web sites.
  • Email marketing platform LiveIntent has similarly released data about how ads in publishers newsletters distributed through its platform are being affected by COVID-19.
  • Advertisers in the tech and computing industries are seeing a huge jump in conversion rates – 460 percent. LiveIntent says this is driven by software that helps consumers find and apply discounts for online shopping.
  • Advertisers in the Hobbies & Interests category are seeing a 32 percent more efficient cost-per-acquisition, while advertisers in Education are seeing a decreased cost-per-acquisition of about 60 percent.

With marketers just beginning to get stats about how COVID-19 is affecting consumer behavior – in such areas as media consumption, time on devices or video streaming – new data is now indicating the effects on notifications and ads in email newsletters.

Customer engagement platform Airship (formerly Urban Airship) reports an 18 percent growth in mobile messaging volume on its platform from February to March, when COVID-19 began to really take hold.

This represents a 58 percent increase over the growth rates for the same time next year.

“People are so tuned in,” SVP Mike Herrick told ClickZ, attributing the increased tune-in to staying at home.

Open rates for push notifications in mobile apps grew 22 percent over the same two months, compared to a minus 3 percent drop in the same period last year.

Web sites, message centers

But it’s not just messaging or app notifications. In March, Airship found a 58 percent increase in web site visits over the previous month, resulting from direct opens of notifications on web sites.

Opt-ins for web notifications grew by 14 percent in March over February, compared to 4 percent growth over the same time last year.

As for in-app message centers, where app users can read messages at their convenience, the number of delivered messages jumped 42 percent, compared to the same February-March period last year.

Email marketing platform LiveIntent has similarly released data about how ads in publishers newsletters distributed through its platform are being affected by COVID-19.

From March to April, food and drink marketers increased ad spend in newsletters by 43 percent.

That investment is paying off, LiveIntent said, as the click-to-conversion rate almost doubled in that period, because stay-at-home consumers are looking for buy groceries online and have them delivered.

Tech, travel, education

Advertisers in the tech and computing industries are seeing a huge jump in conversion rates – 460 percent. LiveIntent says this is driven by software that helps consumers find and apply discounts for online shopping.

Two categories’ results are unsurprising. Travel ad spending dropped by 100 percent, while ad spending for Law/Government/Elections increased by 88 percent, obviously driven by the coming election and by governmental notices about COVID-19.

Finally, advertisers in the Hobbies & Interests category are seeing a 32 percent more efficient cost-per-acquisition, while advertisers in Education are seeing a decreased cost-per-acquisition of about 60 percent.

The reason, LiveIntent said, is that consumers are “hungry for distraction and self-improvement.”



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Google trends in COVID-19 times and how to use them in your content strategy
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Google trends in COVID-19 times and how to use them in your content strategy


30-second summary:

  • Google Trends can be an invaluable tool, as it helps to uncover opportunities for ecommerce brands, publishers, and local businesses.
  • The real benefit to Google Trends is that it can help us understand and predict consumer behaviour post-pandemic. Additionally, we can see how categories are evolving.
  • Some things the search trends have shown is that consumers need help finding resources they often rely on salons for.
  • leisurewear is king and we have seen an abnormal increase in demand for sweatpants over the last month.
  • Consumers also want to know “how to look good on zoom”. That term has increased from 0 to 100 from March 14th onward.
  • As a “topic”, interest in instrument playing tutorials has increased by 72%.
  • Small business loans are seeing more search demand than ever before, with an increase of 2111%.
  • Director of SEO at Stella Rising, John Morabito shares lots of insights and shines a light on how businesses can use these trends in their content creation.

With the coronavirus pandemic now nearing its peak in many parts of the U.S., search trends are rapidly evolving in ways many search marketers have never seen before. Changes are happening almost daily, and traditional search volume as a monthly average metric has become practically useless. Google Trends, however, offers useful, daily analysis of what’s trending in search. At present, Google Trends can be an invaluable tool, as it helps to uncover opportunities for e-commerce brands, publishers, and local businesses.

In this post, we’ll cover ways that search marketers can use Google Trends and other tools to discover opportunities in today’s fast-moving landscape, and review how the team at Stella Rising has been using Google Trends to inform our strategy during the pandemic. 

The obvious Google Trends

Medical suppliers will be aware that, amidst the overall demand for masks, behaviours have shifted from favouring N95 masks to surgical masks. The CDC recently revised their recommendation. In this case, we see that search demand for masks is already starting to decrease.

Surgical Masks (7 Day View) – Down 68% (April 5-11th vs Feb 16th-22)

COVID-19 Google Trends

Full Year View

 The less obvious: Search evolution in unexpected places

The real benefit to Google Trends is that it can help us understand and predict consumer behaviour post-pandemic. Additionally, we can see how categories are evolving. For example, at first glance, one might not think that the beauty segment would find success in a pandemic. However, social distancers are turning to self-care. “Peel masks” are seeing a huge increase in interest with a 58% increase in over the last few weeks. Google Trends - Peel masks search

Searches for skincare are skyrocketing, as are those for foot care. Consumers need help finding resources they often rely on salons for. Note the following trends from Spate:

Search trends - Foot care search graph by Spate

Source: Spate.nyc

Hand moisturizer has similarly seen an even larger increase, jumping up 156% since February (April 5-11th vs Feb 16th-22)

COVID-19 search trends - Moisturizer Leveraging the trend

When it comes to the growth in demand for skincare products, skincare brands have a number of options at their disposal when it comes to their content efforts. Make sure your product pages are being listed in Google shopping’s new free listings, and ensure that you have robust on-page content for each of your skincare product or category pages. Lastly, in a time where making returns is not an easy task, and consumers want to minimize contact with the outside world, content that helps guide users to the right product selections can be extremely valuable.

For example, this article from Bucklers Remedy, a skincare brand ranks top three for “choosing the right hand lotion”. In another example, we see a Vaseline article about how to deal with dry cracked hands ranking for a total of 1,100 keywords.

Example - Vaseline hand moisturizer search trend

For apparel companies

Apparel companies should shift their messaging as consumers browse for clothing on their devices. Right now, leisurewear is king and we have seen an abnormal increase in demand for sweatpants over the last month. 

COVID-19 Google Trends - leisurewear is the king

Consumers also want to know “how to look good on zoom”. That term has increased from 0 to 100 from March 14th onward. 

"how to look good on zoom" search trend in COVID-19 times

Leveraging the trend

Everyone from publishers to apparel and beauty brands can get in on the need for Zoom/video conferencing related content. If you fall into one of those categories, consider producing looks and tutorials for your captive audience.

For instrument makers

For instrument makers like Fender and Les Paul, there has never been more interest than now in learning how to play the guitar. 

instrument related search trends

Leveraging the trend

Fender and Les Paul both offer instructional content, but now is the perfect time for them to ramp-up efforts and even consider partnering with musicians who are out of work and can easily produce tutorial content on their behalf. 

People are also interested in learning about all sorts of topics. As a “topic”, interest in tutorials has increased by 72%.

Leveraging the trend

If you’re a brand with a product that has any sort of instructions or bares any type of explanation in how to use it, I would recommend using this time to produce tutorial content for each of your products or for the things your products help people to do. For example, makeup brands can not only product tutorials on how to use a specific product which can help them to rank for both nonbrand and branded terms, but they can also target things like “zoom makeup looks” which can help them to rank for an even broader set of nonbrand terms.

Sometimes, search trends are influenced by necessity. We’ve seen more interest in “how to cut your hair” than ever before. 

The not so fun part

While there are search trends dealing with keeping consumers busy, there are also new trends around more serious subjects. Some of our clients at Stella Rising are writing about these. One of our clients in the small business formation space is writing about how their customers can get loans and stay in good corporate standing. Small business loans are seeing more search demand than ever before, with an increase of 2111%.

Estate lawyers may want to consider online-only services as “get a will online” has seen a steep rise. 

How to get started

Now that you’ve seen some of the ways that search trends are evolving—and how to check—start by inspecting your website’s most valuable target keywords and see how searches are moving for those items. You may be surprised by what you find. Finding interesting trends can be tough, so think carefully about how behaviour will evolve in the future, not simply how it has changed today. 

Bonus tool tip

Explodingtopics.com is a tool that shows exploding topics using Google Trends data and provides two key metrics: gradient and exponent. Essentially, the exponent is a mathematical expression that defines how much like a “hockey-stick” a curve is. The tool breaks up Google Trend data by category and presents which topics are “exploding” versus which have peaked in interest. This analysis is useful when wishing to stay relevant with content writing.

John Morabito is Director of SEO at Stella Rising. John has over nine years of experience in SEO, PPC, and other digital marketing channels. 



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What Readers Want During COVID-19: B2B Edition
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What Readers Want During COVID-19: B2B Edition


I couldn’t believe the response to my last post about coming up with content ideas in the B2C space during COVID-19. Thank you to all who read and commented — I truly hope it was helpful.

One piece of feedback we received was an ask to see some B2B content ideas, which, frankly, is an excellent subject. At first I was stumped about how to determine this, but then I decided that a different tool could do the trick.

Exploding Topics, the new tool by Brian Dean (Backlinko) and Josh Howarth, explores topics that are surging in popularity but haven’t hit their peak.

This time around, rather than focusing on specific keywords, I focused on overall trends so we can identify which categories might be of interest to your target businesses and their audiences. Then, you can examine whether these trends make sense for your niche and draw inspiration from them for your content.

All things remote

This trend obviously applies to B2C as well, but it’s an important consideration for B2B. Nearly everything has been either canceled, paused, or moved into the world of the virtual. For many companies and industries, this is uncharted territory, and they need guidance.

There is another category I could have included here that focuses on website and app development, programming, and the open source tools that help people build those types of assets as they lean more into digital.

If you’re not one of these B2B providers, there are still ways to gain inspiration from this data. Consider if your brand can provide:

  • The logistics of how to set up remote platforms
  • Best practices on how to make anything remote more successful and engaging
  • Comparison guides for different tools and solutions
  • The platform for people to lend the help and support they’re hoping to (like in the case of virtual tip jars)
  • Communication tips and solutions to help people stay productively connected

Shipping and delivery

Consumers are interested in having things shipped directly to them, but not everyone has the infrastructure to deal with shipping to begin with, let alone an increased order volume with the (understandable) safety limitations now in place.

Consumers and businesses alike are curious about how to make the shipping and delivery process more effective.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Guides for small businesses who’ve never had to ship product before
  • Tips on how companies can message shipping updates and delays to consumers
  • Advice on how to improve the delivery component of a business
  • UX or language tips for updating delivery messaging in apps or on websites

Transactions and payment

As we’re all staying six feet away from each other, we’re also trying not to hand off credit cards (let alone cash). Companies used to brick-and-mortar business models are also needing to adapt to fully digital payment systems.

Not all of these searches apply to business (like Venmo), but they do point to a concern everyone’s having: How do we pay for things now?

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Answers about privacy or security questions people have regarding digital payments
  • A detailed list of all the payment options available
  • Advice on how to optimize storefronts and purchasing processes
  • Explanations of how payment processes can impact sales, and how to optimize them

Design tools

This section speaks to an overall trend I touched on before: Professionals now build their own assets if they can’t afford to hire web developers, designers, etc. More and more people are trying to figure out how to keep their businesses going when they can’t keep on as much staff or hire as many contractors.

Perhaps you can identify what your target audience might be struggling with and suggest free or inexpensive online tools to help.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A list of tools that can assist your target audience in communicating, organizing, creating, etc.
  • Design advice to help them get up to speed as quickly as possible
  • Resources in how to complete tasks on a smaller team
  • Recommendations for what should be prioritized when money is tight

Ethical trends

This is perhaps the most fascinating trend I saw arise. The four brands below have something in common: they all have to do with either sustainability or a transparent, mission-driven approach.

My theory is now that people don’t have as much disposable income, they’re becoming more mindful in their shopping choices, selecting items they believe match their own values.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A greater level of analysis on this potential trend
  • Research into how the consumer perspective has shifted during COVID-19
  • Advice on how to potentially shift marketing, branding, and advertising messaging
  • Tips on how your target audience can better understand their marketing during this tumultuous time

And finally (*sigh of relief*), marketing

Yes, as I was doing my research, my instinct that marketing would remain crucial during this time was confirmed.

That doesn’t mean you won’t lose business. We’ve had clients pull back because even though they’d like to keep marketing, keeping the company afloat by fulfilling their product orders and services and paying their employees will always (and very understandably) come first by a long shot.

But for businesses that can still afford marketing, they’ll likely need it, and they’re looking for the tools and insight they need to thrive.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Marketing 101 tips for smaller businesses
  • Specific how-to guides for different aspects of inbound or outbound marketing
  • Tool recommendations to help people get marketing tasks done quickly and cheaply
  • Advice on the kind of marketing that’s most successful during an economic downturn

Conclusion

Remember: This is only for inspiration. What matters most is what your target audience needs and wants. Put yourself in their shoes to be able to best address their challenges and concerns.

But hopefully some of these concepts spark some ideas for how your B2B brand can provide value to your target audiences. Companies around the world are looking for guidance and support now more than ever, and if you’re in a position to provide it to them, your content can go a long way in building trust.



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Metrics Matter More During COVID-19 Than They Ever Did
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Metrics Matter More During COVID-19 Than They Ever Did




Metrics Matter More During COVID-19 Than They Ever Did









































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Snapchat Up During COVID-19, Data Shows How User Behavior is Changing
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Snapchat Up During COVID-19, Data Shows How User Behavior is Changing


Snapchat gained 11 million daily active users in the first quarter of 2020, bringing the total count to 229 million.

An additional 11 million daily active users (DAUs) represents a 20% increase over last year.

Engagement hit record highs as well.

On average, more than 4 billion Snaps were created each day in Q1 2020.

As people flock to Snapchat to stay in touch amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has published data about how users’ online activity is changing during this time.

Here are some key highlights from the report.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Snapchat Users

Engagement hits all-time highs

By far, people are turning to Snapchat as a way to stay connected with people face-to-face.

Time spent voice and video calling has grown by more than 50% during late March compared to late February.

During the same period, group chat engagement reached an all-time high.

The number of snaps sent between friends reached new highs as well, exceeding Snapchat’s typical peaks on Christmas and other major holidays.

Time spent with Snapchat’s unique features is up

Users are finding new ways to stay occupied on the Snapchat platform.

Time spent with games, AR lenses, and Snapchat shows is all up.

“We’re seeing highly elevated engagement in Snap Games, with our highest figures since launch for overall time spent, player count, and usage of in-game social features like Voice and Chat.”

Users are spending more time playing around with with Snapchat’s various lenses, with usage up 25% during late March compared to late February.

Time spent watching Snapchat Shows is higher than ever, the company says.

In particular, content within the News, Health & Wellness, and Gaming categories are seeing increases in engagement.

What else are Snapchat users doing?

Snapchat released data on what their users are doing off the platform, according to survey and location data gathered in mid-March.

Snapchat users are staying inside:

  • 73% Lower University and School Attendance
  • 29% Fewer Bar Visits
  • 22% Fewer Air Travelers
  • 59% Fewer Music Venue Visitors
  • 41% Fewer Gym Trips

Snapchat users are changing their habits:

  • 62% are streaming more
  • 21% are shopping more
  • 38% are gaming more
  • 23% are ordering more food delivery

Snapchat users are consuming more content:

  • 39% are consuming more online news
  • 39% are watching more TV
  • 29% are spending more time on social media

Ad Revenue Declining

Despite Snapchat usage reaching all-time highs in several categories, ad revenue is down month over month.

Snapchat’s year-over-year growth in ad revenue from January and February reached 58%, which dropped to 25% in March.

As Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel notes, advertising is down due to the pandemic:

“While many advertising budgets declined due to COVID-19, we experienced high revenue growth rates in the first two months of the quarter which offset our lower growth in March.

These high growth rates in the beginning of the quarter reflect our investments in our audience, ad products, and optimization, and give us confidence in our ability to grow revenue over the long term.”

Spiegel remains confident, however, saying the company will shift resources as necessary to better serve advertisers.

Sources: Snapchat (1, 2)





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The Pandemic In-Box | Email Marketing Strategy During COVID-19
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The Pandemic In-Box | Email Marketing Strategy During COVID-19


The rapid onset of Covid-19 forced many businesses to quickly halt or adapt their existing email marketing strategy. Content needed to be evaluated for appropriateness, execution and segmentation strategies reconsidered for a disrupted market. For many, the fast-fix was a letter from leadership discussing how their company specifically would manage the challenges of the pandemic. 

The Email You’ve Probably Already Sent Out

Fast Company explains that the unprecedented upset Covid-19 had on commerce created “a tidal wave of automated emails from every single company you’ve ever bought anything from in the history of your life”. The online magazine categorized the first batch of Covid-19 corporate emails into three tiers. Which one of the following did your company send out?

The Service Orientated Email:

Emails that explained how the pandemic would tactically impact customers. Southwest disclosed how they would handle flight cancellations, Starbucks shared that the store is switching to drive-thru only mode and TJ Maxx informed customers that they were temporarily closing both their online and brick-and-mortar stores.

The Brand Friend Email:

Fast Company calls this the “We’re in this together” email. “This is where brands who have built a direct line of communication with customers feel obligated to at least acknowledge the situation.” The content’s sole purpose is meant to evoke a feeling of camaraderie.

The Obviously Auto-Generated Email:

Referred to in the article as “the ones that belong in inbox hell” these emails were scheduled before the pandemic hit. For example, a drip mail containing language or promotions that might have been well received in better times – but fell flat during the pandemic. 

3 Things to Consider Before You Send Your Next Email

Email marketing strategy can be one of your strongest tools right now. Shelter-in-Place brings with it a level of isolation that makes us value inbound communication. However, it’s also a time when patience is limited and the tolerance for time-wasting or tone-deaf content can quickly alienate targets.

  1. Avoid Covid-19 Oversaturation:

    Take into consideration that your target has likely been hearing, reading and talking about Covid-19 for the past month. Unless you have new information to share about the subject, such as a newly launched philanthropic campaign supporting pandemic efforts, let it take a backseat. Focus on ensuring your messaging is relative to the headspace your target audience is in without overtly discussing the pandemic or be prepared to get roasted on social media.

  2. Don’t Fatigue Your Audience:

    Many of us are operating from a place of fear as we navigate this new period in history. Sending out a high volume of emails undermines your status by conveying to your target that your organization is fearful of losing their business. Take the time to read the email delivery strategy Marketo’s Carmi Lopez-Jonarmi lays out and consider turning down the volume in favor of fewer, more meaningful emails.

  3. Understand That Your Audiences’ Experience Differs:

    The demographics and psychographic data that you used to segment your emails don’t guarantee a shared experience when it comes to Covid-19. While there are certainly portions of your audience that would appreciate a boredom-buster email, others are out of work or working the front lines as essential personnel and may not. Review content to ensure that your organization is being sensitive to each target’s unique situation.

Limited, strategic, and relevant email marketing is valued now more than ever. Invest the time and audit your ongoing and scheduled outbound marketing campaigns. Lastly, make sure drip campaigns, subscription confirmations, and other auto-send emails are appropriate as well.





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11 Free Ways to Reach Your Audience Online During COVID-19
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11 Free Ways to Reach Your Audience Online During COVID-19


The financial burdens of COVID-19 have put many SMBs in search of affordable ways to market their business. The good news is that more people are spending time online than ever before, and there are plenty of simple ways to reach your customers digitally without spending a dime.

how to reach your audience online during covid19 shop local

Here, I’m sharing 11 free strategies to expand your reach on four popular online platforms:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter

Reaching your audience on Google

One quick note before we begin this section: As of writing this post, Google My Business profile editing capabilities are varying from day to day as Google suppresses and adds features in response to COVID-19. If you get stuck on any of the below suggestions, skip them and be on the lookout for capabilities to return.

1. Update your Google My Business profile

Your Google My Business profile is the free listing that appears for your business on both Google Maps and Google Local Search results. Due to special hours, physical closings, and limited travel, consumers are performing even more “near me” and “open now” searches on Google during COVID-19. They’re also searching for specific criteria such as delivery and online payment options. That being said, you should make the following updates to your profile to continue reaching your audience on Google:

  • Verify your hours (or mark your business as temporarily closed).
  • Modify your description (a.k.a. “From the business”) to include relevant COVID-19 offerings.
  • Have a category selected, as this will allow you to indicate industry-specific attributes, such as curbside pickup, drive-through and delivery for restaurants.
  • Create posts (more on this next).
reach audience during COVID update GMB listing

Note: Google is using blanket labels right now such as “hours and services may differ,” but you can still set your business up for success for when they lift this label.

2. Create Google posts

Just like with social media platforms, you can publish posts to your Google My Business listing for free. But unlike social media platforms where users are leisurely scrolling, consumers on Google are actively seeking. GMB posts enable you to get your updates and special offers in front of consumers who are ready to engage, making this is a great way to reach and retain customers during COVID-19.

how to reach your audience online during COVID-19 GMB post example

This salon is temporarily closed, yet its online store is reaching a vast Google Maps audience through this GMB post.

And with GMB’s new COVID-19 post type, you can be even more effective at reaching your audience at the right time. This is a great alternative to the Q&A section (“Is your business open during COVID-19?”), which is temporarily not appearing on profiles.

how to reach your audience online during COVID post gmb

3. Write relevant blog posts

The internet is saturated right now with COVID-19 content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still strive to show up on the first page of a Google search. The trick is to target long-tail keywords highly specific to your niche. For example, a chiropractor could write a blog post “At-home Lower Back Exercises” or “Avoid Neck Pain While in Quarantine.” This content costs nothing to create other than your time, which you might have more of at this point, anyway.

how to reach your audience online during COVID-19 blog posts

The very first results for “prevent neck pain during quarantine” is none other than a small PT business in Cambridge, MA.

You could even tie in your geographic area for more effective targeting, like with a list titled “Best Places to Walk Your Dog in Bethesda.” These coronavirus-relevant pages will garner traffic in and of themselves right now, but they’ll also boost your overall website SEO for the long term.

Reaching Your Audience on Facebook during COVID-19

Social media is key for building relationships, and with usage increasing during isolation, you can reach more of your audience on Facebook during COVID-19. Here are three ways to do that.

4. Hop on Facebook Live

More people are watching live videos right now than ever before. In fact, Facebook Live viewers have increased by up to 50%. There are many obvious uses for this free Facebook marketing feature, such as answering COVID-19 customer questions, providing relevant advice, or leading a quarantine workout. But remember also that Facebook Live videos can be saved. With viewership at an all-time high, this is a good time to run live sessions on your traditional and evergreen topics, which you can repurpose down the line once the coronavirus has passed.

How to reach your audience online during COVID19 FB live

This non-coronavirus-related DIY tutorial is helpful now but can also be repurposed later on down the line.

Navigate the changing online advertising landscape with this free small business guide to COVID-19.

5. Do a lucky draw giveaway

If you’re open and delivering, it’s a good idea to add some extra delight to your deliveries. It’s an even better idea to add some mystery to the mix. As with the Facebook example below, you could run a giveaway where all orders placed within a particular time frame qualify for a free treat—and one lucky winner gets a gift card. Not only can this encourage more audience engagement, but it will boost their spirits, as well.

How to reach your audience online during COVID19 FB giveaway

6. Check in with your community

There’s a plethora of COVID-19 posts on social media, but that doesn’t mean you need to come up with an earth-shattering post to stand out to your audience. A simple, heart-felt post with no intention other than to wish your community well can go a long way. After all, genuinity is authenticity.

hoe to reach audience on facebook during covid19 check in with community

Reaching your audience on Instagram during COVID-19

Instagram is great for storytelling, and everyone has their own unique COVID-19 stories to share. Here’s how to reach your audience for free on Instagram during COVID-19.

7. Use COVID-19 hashtags

Hashtags are a free and yet powerful way to expand your social media visibility.There are, of course, many trending COVID-19 hashtags circulating around. But broad Instagram hashtags like #COVID19 aren’t going to give you much visibility. The key is to use location and industry modifiers. For example:

  • Instead of #COVID19, try something like #covidfashion #covidpetsafety or #covidhomeschooling.
  • Instead of #wereinthistogether, try something like #portlandstrong.

Some other ideas for COVID-19 hashtags you can use or modify for your business are:

  • #DIY (think #diyhomedecor or #diyhaircut).
  • #boredombusters
  • #athome (like #athomeworkout or #athomelearning).
  • #quarantineedition
  • #quarantine (Including #quarantineparenting, #quarantinecrafts, #quarantinerecipes).
how to reach your audience online during covid19 hashtags

Of course, if you’re just looking to sprinkle in some friendly and uplifting hashtags, that’s fine too! Try COVID-19 hashtags like #wereinthistogether, #wellgetthroughthis, #allinthistogether, #thenewnormal, #alonetogether, #stayhome, #saferathome, and #sixfeetapart.

8. Write COVID-friendly captions

There are a number of purposes your COVID-19 Instagram posts can serve. Here are some writing guidelines for Instagram captions to appropriately reach your Instagram audience:

  • When boosting morale: Keep captions light and not too specific; everyone is experiencing it differently.
  • When offering health and safety tips: Check captions for accuracy.
  • When providing updates: Keep captions concise with essentials only.
  • When promoting pivoted offerings: Include words like “curbside pickup”or “still available.”
how to reach your audience online during COVID instagram caption

For more copywriting guidelines during COVID-19, head here.

Reaching your audience on Twitter during COVID-19

Twitter takes on the conversational nature of Facebook but the quicker consumption pace of Instagram. Here are three free ways to obtain visibility and resonate with your audience during COVID-19.

9. Repurpose reviews

Part of Roger Smith Hotel’s Twitter strategy is that of taking quotes from positive customer reviews and creating tweets out of them. They have continued this tactic throughout COVID-19, and I must say, it works. The tweets don’t ask you to leave a review or book a stay, but the positive words and attractive images do leave you feeling pretty good.

how to reach your audience online during COVID roger smith hotel

Create tweets out of your most uplifting customer feedback as a way to reach followers during COVID-19.

10. Take up #supportsmallbusiness offers

There are plenty of consumers on Twitter right now who are offering to promote local businesses in their area. Run a hashtag search like #shoplocal, #supportsmallbusiness, #shoplocal[yourcity] or #smallbusiness and see if you find any offers.

how to reach your audience online during COVID retweets

11. Support other local businesses during COVID-19

In the example below, Connected Kent offers to share five different local businesses for every one tweet about their services. Why not try this strategy for your business? It’s a great way to reach new audiences on Twitter while also helping out other local businesses struggling during COVID-19—all for free.

how to reach audience on twitter during COVID connected kent

These free methods of digital marketing are great strategies for reaching your audience and alleviating economic hardship during COVID-19, but they can be adapted for use even after the pandemic has passed. Try them out and how knows, maybe you’ll come out of this pandemic with a stronger online presence than ever before.



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