In this week’s roundup, our Client Director, Sarah Fieldhouse, talks us through do’s and don’ts for marketing measurement during a pandemic and whether social distancing will accelerate a trend toward home as headquarters.
Client Leadership Digital Roundup
What are the latest updates in the world of digital marketing? In this weeks’ news, I’ll be discussing how to measure marketing during a pandemic, some tips for best practice marketing, and whether social distancing will accelerate an already present working from home trend.
Do’s and Don’ts for Marketing Measurement During a Pandemic
How do you measure your marketing efforts in a time of upheaval? In an article posted earlier this month, Google’s Head of Strategic Analytics for Marketing, Avinash Kaushik, discusses how and what should be measured since the COVID-19 pandemic has upended – well, everything. The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of everyone around the globe, both personally and professionally, so should we even be measuring our marketing efforts during these unprecedented times?
Kaushik identifies five marketing strategies that Google have chosen to pause for the moment, and five that continue to provide value:
Putting the brakes on…
- Matched market tests. With social distancing protocols affecting regions, states and geographies causing multiple changes in user behaviour, stability will be heavily impacted. Google have also chosen to pause geo-experiments and ROPO (research online, purchase offline) tests for the same reason.
- Short-term campaign KPIs. While current circumstances may tempt marketers to change their long-term performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on short-term KPIs, Google has stated that they are resisting the urge to do so. As Kaushik sums up, “because these circumstances are so unique, you might not hit any of those short-term KPIs. It’s more than likely, anything you learn from the success or failure of short-term KPIs won’t be usable in the future.”
- Major strategic projects. As marketers, we’re fully aware of the major changes in consumer media habits, as well as responses to those shifts. There has been a significant increase in the consumption of online news and linear TV, and increased demands on streaming services which have led to companies like YouTube and Netflix reducing video quality in an effort to reduce bandwidth usage. We’re unsure as to whether these habits are long-lasting or temporary, but this is not the time to build learnings related to media approaches in a post-coronavirus world.
- Face-to-face measurement. For the safety of everyone involved, Google has requested all agencies and vendor partners to stop any and all face-to-face interviews.
- Unrealistic timelines. If a business-critical timeline is driving a campaign launch, Google suggests proceeding without worrying about the optimal measurement of that campaign. Optimal measurement takes additional time to plan, evaluate and implement, so now may not be the best time for such an approach.
- Measure critical campaigns and channels. While Google have opened the debate surrounding how marketers should measure their marketing efforts, it’s clear that measurement can’t be stopped altogether. Even in tough times, ensuring that you’re investing responsibly remains important. For campaigns with material budgets, Google are applying pre-flight data checks on media plans, analysing live results to do in-flight optimisation, and carrying out thorough post-campaign analysis.
- Leverage remote creative pre-testing. It’s important to understand how ads are being perceived tonally, especially during these uncertain times. Any missteps could have a lasting impact on brand image, and normal pretesting remains crucial for all of us. Google recommend retesting creative that was used before COVID-19 to ensure it is still effective and relevant – and that it doesn’t run the risk of striking the wrong note.
- Focus on strategic, cross-marketing meta-analysis. Business moves fast, and as a result, analysts get caught in the “trees view” of data. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the team at Google are scaling up their efforts to look at the “forest views” hidden in their data sets. This move will allow them to focus on the effectiveness of digital channels in delivering value across marketing initiatives and clear cross-channel cause and effects of tactics they deploy.
- Take advantage of think time. Halting a lot of activity that you are usually part of means you have something you usually find in short supply: time to think. This may be the perfect time to invest in planning and upgrading your analytics strategies for 2021, and beyond.
What do you think? Will you be utilising any of these marketing strategies as a way to measure your marketing efforts? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting @clickthrough.
Best Practice for Digital Marketing During Coronavirus
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is overturning a lot of conventional wisdom around digital marketing and media consumption, with many consumers being stuck at home and eager for reputable news. And yet, as Polly Wong notes in her article on best practice for digital marketing during coronavirus:
“Publishers are seeing ad revenue drop because of brand-safety prohibitions on pandemic-related content. Health and wellness products are thriving at the same time as people are looking for the comforting familiarity of junk food and escapist entertainment…for digital marketers, the current environment is rife with potential pitfalls, but likewise with alluring opportunities for reaching customers in a captive state.”
Here, then, are some of the critical best practices Wong outlines for adjusting digital marketing campaigns in the context of an ongoing health crisis:
- Account for a shift in digital consumption. Shift spend away from channels that have seen a decrease in customer engagement (e.g. event marketing) and evaluate channels such as video, podcasts and email.
- Review creative across all digital channels. Identify anything that is untimely – and fix it fast. This includes any emailed that are triggered or transactional.
- Create reporting based on the most up-to-date results. Comparing yearly or monthly reports will not provide an accurate picture of digital marketing performance given current circumstances. Instead, build a day-over-day report beginning from the 9th of March. Evaluate higher funnel metrics at a channel and campaign level, so that you can quickly establish what is working and what is not.
- Treat your customers with care and respect. This pandemic is, first and foremost, a humanitarian crisis.
- Show that you understand what people are going through. More than ever, advertisers need to be customer-first, and this means understanding what people are going through. Customers are working from home, focusing on their workspace and worrying about life after the crisis subsides. Brands should be aware of their headlines and offer messages that gently push sales, while considering current needs.
- Be transparent about the effect on inventory and shipping timelines. Acknowledge that deliveries can be something to look forward to, and perhaps offer a complimentary upgrade to 2-day shipping if feasible.
- Add value. A large majority of consumers are using their computers at home, and open email rates are showing strength. This opens up an opportunity to foster a relationship with your engaged subscribers and add value with thoughtful campaigns.
- Build trust. Like the rest of the world, we in digital marketing are “all in this together.” The future is uncertain, but the world keeps turning and business activity will, eventually, resume.
Will social distancing accelerate a trend toward home as headquarters?
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, large numbers of people are finding themselves working from home for longer periods than perhaps they ever have before. Many people are using technology to make the transition, but it seems that this trend was already underway before the coronavirus pandemic.
In his article, will social distancing accelerate a trend toward home as headquarters, Justin de Graaf notes how working from home allowed people to make better use of their time, whether it be missing a lengthy commuting or the queue at supermarkets.
With so many advances in technology, such as high-speed internet and web conferencing apps, more people are transforming their homes into workspaces.
Source: Global Workplace Analytics
Interestingly, the primary driver for working from home is better quality of life. In its Global Workspace Survey, flexible workspace provider IWG found that:
“80% of workers in the U.S. would choose a job that offered flexible working over a job that didn’t, and [30%] of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in vacation time.”
With the increase of people working remotely, it’s no surprise that shopping patterns have changed, too. It’s also no surprise that growth in searches for grocery delivery and pickup services has increased by 130%.
In the short term, marketers will need to find helpful ways to support people by meeting their most basic needs. And in the long-term, we’ll all need to work to understand what it means for all aspects of digital marketing when home becomes peoples’ new headquarters.
If you’d like to discuss any of the news I’ve included in this update, get in touch with our digital marketing experts today. You can also tweet us @clickthrough.