Social distancing and working from home are the new normal, at least until the Coronavirus pandemic continues. Many marketers are working remotely and learning new things day-by-day about themselves, their brands, and their customers. Changes in personal habits, such as staying in for dinner or canceling kids’ play dates, are likely driving all of us to spend more time online.
This can be seen in some new and unique online behaviors: Ecommerce may see an uptick in sales, more ads are being engaged with due to increased screen time, and what those ads look like are changing to accommodate social distancing guidelines.
Despite the uncertainty in the world and rapid changes in behavior, data is still being collected and analyzed. A marketer’s job is to anticipate what a consumer needs before they need it.
When no one really knows what they need or has the answer for how to navigate a quarantine, data can zero in on behaviors and preferences to help guide the way.
Take advantage of this time to slow down, (re)evaluate your current efforts to keep moving forward, and plan for when life is back to normal, lengthy commutes and all.
It’s not hard to imagine how personal behaviors have changed lately. We don’t have to go any farther than our own families to see how we’re working and living differently (regardless of how much toilet paper you have on hand).
For most people, we’re spending more time than ever online, using social media to communicate with one another and online shopping to treat and comfort ourselves.
For some industries, this means a big uptick in website visitors and conversions, while others may struggle. No matter where your business falls in this new spectrum, data can help you understand your audience’s changing habits.
Take this time to slow down, take a break and really dig into what your customers are doing. Talk with your customer experience teams to learn what their interactions have been like.
Journey map website visits on Google Analytics to understand how traffic is fluctuating. With this intensive study, you can track and visualize journey-based metrics to identify what consumers are doing differently.
You can also compare and contrast pre- and post-Coronavirus pandemic behaviors to identify gaps in customer experience, then strategize on how best to address them.
Along with measuring customer journeys, data science can predict what content resonates with your audiences.
For example, a recent AI study examined creative performance for Facebook ads during the Coronavirus outbreak. The AI has seen drops in imagery depicting “travel” and “human connection,” as well as spikes in ads showing sick emojis and using the terms “rest” and “sleep” in ad copy.
People are creating more data points than ever while social distancing, and AI can predict trends and patterns in advertising creative, as well as what will engage your specific audiences on social media. You don’t need to guess what your audience is being attracted to – you can know with certainty.
This is true no matter the brand. While grocery stores and cleaning products are seeing a surge in popularity even without increased marketing, other brands have made major pivots away from previously scheduled campaigns.
Again, now is the time to pause and examine what your audience wants. Adjust your copy and images to fit the current tone of your customers, whether they’re looking for informative, uplifting or helpful content and products.
Data can tell us what will work perfectly for a campaign: For instance, a video of three people walking down a sunny beach with a dog or an image of a crowded restaurant.
Well, those visuals can’t necessarily be captured right now when communities around the world are practicing social distancing. You may not be able to create new ad elements for quite some time. That’s okay.
Look to your existing creative and see what has performed well that overlaps with what your audience is being drawn to now. Freshen up creative with a new timely hook.
Use an old photo with an adjusted filter and a new call to action. Mix and match previous elements to create new ads. This will allow you to keep your creative fresh while utilizing existing assets when you may not be able to create ideal elements from scratch.
It’s a strange time for all of us, no matter where you are or the brand you represent. We’re all in this together, figuring it out as we go. A comforting thought, though, is that even through this rocky time in our collective history, one thing is always clear and reliable when it comes to your customers: Data.
R.J. Talyor is founder and CEO of Pattern89, an artificial intelligence-based software company that optimizes paid social media advertising campaigns. Previously, R. J. was the driver behind ExactTarget’s mobile strategy, including the launch of SMS marketing in 2002 and spearheading mobile marketing during the launch of the iPhone. His leadership was also instrumental when Salesforce acquired ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in 2013, where he became the vice president of mobile products.
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