The COVID-19 outbreak is having a significant impact on daily business and consumer behavior, and as a result, these are times when small business owners and advertisers need to find opportunities that will help them build personalized and lasting relationships with their audiences from a safe distance. Unprecedented times call for adjustments to your online advertising, and we can help.
We’ve compiled six strategies for running Facebook and Instagram ads effectively during the pandemic:
- Stay consistent and extend your high-performing ads
- Build brand awareness with your online audience
- Find new leads and build your email marketing list with lead ads
- Focus on remarketing campaigns
- Test new ad creative and audiences
- Try Facebook and Instagram Live
1. Stay consistent and extend your high-performing ads
Facebook recently warned advertisers that due to recent staffing changes there will likely be some delays and errors as they increase their reliance on automated systems to review new ads and commerce listings. This means that when new ads are submitted or edited (e.g., changing copy, headlines, images, audience targeting), it will cause the ad to undergo a new review policy. To avoid disruption to your ad, Facebook’s Director of Product Managemet Rob Leathern, recommends that brands extend the delivery period of their best performing ads, as new campaigns will be subject to a new review:
2. Build brand awareness with your online audience
With more consumers at home, we’ll likely see more consumers browsing online to pass the time. In fact, this effect is already taking place, as Verizon recently reported a 20% week over week increase in web traffic. With more impressions and shifts in competition, your CPM is likely to decrease—which presents a good opportunity to capture more reach from your budget on Facebook and Instagram. So far, we’ve seen a 12.7% drop in CPM month over month in our in-house Facebook account—and we’re watching it daily to see how it evolves.
If you’re able to, plan out your ads in advance—this is the time when people will be looking for content to consume. Content should revolve around the value your product or service provides, and how it will benefit them when they’re ready to purchase and/or want to plan for the future.
Be sure to also keep your audiences engaged with the latest news about your business and highlight how they can help you during these times with business activities like:
- Shopping online during a promotional sale.
- Purchasing gift cards.
- Writing positive reviews online.
- Shopping online and/or via phone.
- Ordering delivery/curbside pickup if available.
For small and local businesses, especially, this is key.
3. Find new leads and build your email marketing list with Facebook lead ads
If your business is a service-based, online, and/or local based business, chances are you send emails to keep your audiences engaged and up to date via newsletters. If your business is slow or closed right now, this could be a great time to shift your strategy to collecting new leads and emails in place of promoting sales.
With a Facebook lead ad campaign, you have the opportunity to:
- Pique interest with content.
- Increase leads and signups for email newsletter campaigns.
- Create an audience to remarket to at a future date.
For example: If you’re in the fitness industry, this could be a good opportunity for you to promote a 30-day challenge that your audience could subscribe to. Or, if you sell products, you could have your audience subscribe to be the first to know whenever there are any upcoming promotions, new product launches, and any other important business updates.
A few things to note:
- When creating your lead gen form, less is more. Consumers are more likely to opt out with the more information you ask from them. General best practice rule is to leave it no more than two fields, such as name and email address.
- Integrate with your CRM provider and set up your welcome newsletter to ensure that you immediately follow up with them with content related to your advertising campaign.
4. Focus on remarketing campaigns
According to Barilliance, over 75% of shoppers will abandon your site without completing their purchase. With increased browsing, now is a good time to re-engage with previous website visitors and get them back to your site with an incentive like ‘free shipping,’ and special promos.
This is especially true for businesses experiencing increased traffic right now, like the at-home fitness and healthy delivery options.
In addition to website visitors, you can also drive new potential leads and sales by testing engagement custom audiences, which allow you to target users who have engaged with your content across Facebook and Instagram.
This includes remarketing to those who have liked, commented on, shared, or interacted with your Facebook and Instagram business page, watched your videos, or viewed/filled out a lead form. Remember, the more relevant you can get, the better engagement you will see, so segment your audience as much as possible.
5. Test new ad creative and audiences
Have you been wanting to test new ad creative to see if your audience engages better with specific imagery and messaging? If your business has slowed down or closed, now might be the time to test out a new creative on a variety of audiences to gather information that will make your future campaigns more effective.
When testing new audiences, consider creating a new ad set rather than updating an existing one so that you can better understand the true impact. For new ad creative, you’ll want to test against an already high-performing ad. This way you can compare the results directly to an ad that you know performs well for your specific business, saving you time when analyzing results.
Pro Tip: You’ll only want to test out one element at a time for a more accurate analysis. For example, if you want to test new imagery, don’t make any changes to the headlines or copy. Give it a couple days and monitor performance.
Here are a few things you can try testing.
- Audience targeting, demographic, interest-based, or custom audiences.
- Ad copy, including headlines and CTAs.
- Landing pages, including copy, design, and messaging.
- Ad creative, like images vs. videos.
And other media strategies bring me to #6…
6. Try Facebook and Instagram Live
For local businesses who are hurting more than ever before, we suggest that you think about how you can shift your business strategy to offer your products and/or services online to adjust to these unprecedented times. If that’s not possible, getting online and in touch with your customers and prospects on Facebook and Instagram Live can still help.
With live video, you can connect with your audience in a more direct and genuine way. Plus, we know that effective video marketing can result in higher conversions: Facebook and Instagram Live videos receive 3x higher engagement than pre-recorded videos. So grab your phone and start streaming to engage with your customers.
People who are self-isolating or practicing social distancing will be seeking opportunities to connect with more people face to face. While this isn’t in direct contact, it is a current solution offering the interaction and online experience your audience is craving. Try answering questions in real-time, offer online check-ins, webinars, online demos, and more to keep your audiences up to date with the latest your business has to offer.
To execute a successful live event, make sure that your broadcast is as clear and high-resolution as possible. Try a practice round beforehand, but don’t stress too much. The point of live stream is to provide a real, genuine reflection of your brand.
Overall, there’s a positive and empathetic angle your business can take to become creative in a world of social distancing, so use this opportunity to get creative, and explore new ways of expanding your reach via Facebook and Instagram.
More resources for online advertising and COVID-19: