3 Things Brands Should Do To Navigate COVID-19

From keeping your family safe to keeping your customers informed, navigating COVID-19 is stressful. No matter if you're a restaurant owner letting others know you're delivering food or a business adapting operations to the current situation, communicating with your audience is more important than ever. For the traditional marketer, it's time to think differently.

Here are three things that businesses should consider during COVID-19.

Target your stay-at-home audience with addressable geo-fencing

With consumers asked to stay at home and abide by social distancing, advertising messages are consumed differently. People are spending even more time online while cooped up at home allowing advertisers to land on their screens.

Thanks to GPS data, brands can send display ads to devices found in pre-determined physical addresses. Each physical address chosen is turned into a virtual geo-fence and each device in that geo-fence is targeted with display ads. Here is a visual of what that looks like:

In this example, each device in the building chosen has the potential to see an ad. Addressable geo-fencing allows brands to target messages to specific households. This is a highly effective way to appeal to people who you know will be spending a lot of time in one place.

Here are some ideas of how this could work:

  1. Delivery Services: If your business is starting a delivery service, you're able to tell specific households about it. This might mean that you want to target the homes in a certain neighborhood or even people that you've done business with before.
  2. Home Improvement: For a home improvement service that can abide by social distance etiquette, you're able to help someone working from home check a chore off their honey-do list. This could be pool maintenance, an air conditioning tune-up or even a window cleaning service.
  3. Tax Services: With a new extended deadline of July 15, people have have more time to file taxes. If your company is offering something special and you want to get your message out, sending display ads to all of your past customers could trigger repeat business. All you need to provide is their physical home address.
  4. Auto Dealerships: If you're an auto dealership offering pick up and drop off auto services, addressable geo-fencing can help send ads to the homes of all of your past customers.

This type of advertising is great for loyalty campaigns asking past customers for return business or any brand looking for increased brand awareness and website traffic.

From showing ads to users when they're browsing the internet, or even commercials while they are streaming, addressable geo-fencing takes the guesswork out of how to get your ad out to a specific audience. If your customers are no longer coming in, it’s time you go to them.

Stream your story with OTT/CTV

As the media races to keep audiences informed during the pandemic, they've turned to streaming services. That mixed with the allure of almost an infinite number of episodes to watch has researchers forecasting that streaming will spike by 60 percent because of COVID-19 isolation. Considering that the streaming audience around the world is already vast, 60 percent is significant. But, consumers have traditionally turned to the television during troubling times.

OTT, or over-the-top ads, allow businesses to advertise on both the big screen in the living room and small screens (mobile devices) with household-level precision. Advertisers can target their videos to audiences based on physical location or even behaviors.

For example, if someone in your home is on their mobile device searching for "how to refinance my home" a mortgage lender commercial might appear on your television. This type of cross-device matching allows brands to be precise with television commercial delivery.

So when you're streaming on apps like HGTV, History Channel, ESPN or Lifetime, you're seeing OTT ads. If you have a 15-, 30- or 60-second video, OTT is worth exploring to get your business' message out.

Be conversational on social media - and listen, too

As coronavirus becomes a global pandemic, Nielsen found that consumers around the world are using social media more in tandem with television. When it comes to any type of crisis, social media is one of the first mediums that users turn to.

Social media professionals have a responsibility during any crisis to evaluate how content can contribute to helping one another. Brands quickly shifted from a period where they debated if they should communicate about coronavirus to brands fighting to get their messages out. We all saw the explosion of emails that hit our inboxes about COVID-19.

When you are communicating on social media, consider what customers need and want to hear from your business to best help your brand dodge potential risks. Are you offering delivery? Can you help someone refinance their home? What else can you offer your customers to remind them that you are there when they are stuck at home?

Communication during a time like this is a balance for businesses. They must balance being mindful of what they post online with the need of generating revenue. This has many shifting from self-promotional content to finding how their services can help those who are staying in.

Many businesses are looking for alternate ways to reach potential customers and keep revenue coming in during lockdown. This has them turning to social media advertising.

With Facebook sending home the contract workers who perform ad reviews, the company is relying on an automated ad review system which will possibly cause delays in ad approvals. For the time being, it's suggested that advertisers extend the delivery of existing ads rather than create new ones. This would help limit disruptions in ad delivery.

Remember, that editing an ad will cause a new review to occur, so try to leave ads running as-is if you can help it. Changing the budget allocated to the ad or changing the start and end for an existing ad won't trigger the review.

In the meantime, turn to social media to help others and support your fellow local businesses. Tag someone in a comment, like their post, post a photo of what you bought from them,  share a post or leave a review.

No one knows how long this restrictive period will last, but just the concept of uncertainty has business owners second guessing how to move forward. Brands must pivot marketing strategies in the coming months to keep audiences engaged.

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