CORONAVIRUS: How E-commerce Should Be Responding To Media Buying & Marketing

Not everyone sees budget-cutting as the answer.

The coronavirus is now impacting almost every country.

As concerns rise that the virus that started in China could significantly influence consumer behaviour, especially in retail and e-commerce space.

As a result of panic buying, the supermarkets, in particular, may become increasingly crowded. In addition, as shoppers avoided retail outlets, there may be a shift to online shopping to avoid the risk of catching the infection.

To help e-commerce businesses understand the current situation better, we’ve put together this article.


First things first.

Not everyone sees budget-cutting as the answer.

Some of our clients accounts showed an increase in ROAS since the beginning of March. Of course, there’s no direct explanation to what is the real reason for such shift but after seeing a clear pattern on several frontiers, there’s no doubt people spending more time in front of their screens and therefore are more inclined to use online shopping.

Some media buying still project an annual increase of 7.1% in global media spend this year. That’s based on an expectation that marketers will simply shift budgets to the second half of the year, which will drive up competition and prices for media.

So what practical steps e-commerce businesses can take to not only avoid significant dips in ROAS but also stay flexible in these challenging times.

Leverage The Current State Of Facebook Paid Reach (In An Ethical Way)

These are my thoughts based on our client accounts performance and media research done over the last few days.

Facebook reach is at its peak times which means one thing – more eyes for the same ad spend. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will see your CPMs down (significantly) but you can certainly be sure that your social proof and CTR will be increased.

However, it’s not applicable to all product categories. In fact, if your brand falls under non-essentials, you have probably already noticed your CPM and CPC going down like never before.

So what to do if you’re non-essential?

First, you would want to find a way how to adapt your marketing efforts for the at-home audience and current situation with coronavirus.

For example, brands such as Igloo and Hook & Albert started to support a variety of Coronavirus funds, donating full or a share of their profits.

Second, your brand can also start encouraging a thing like social distancing, launching “stay calm and carry on” campaigns, both through organic and paid content.

Now is your chance to win your audience and cultivate those relationships ethically, without coming across as someone who uses global epidemic solely in its own interests.

At a later stage, you will have built a more loyal audience who would also become more engaged with your brand.

Third, offer discounts on products where you can still break even or produce small margin. Don’t forget that Facebook Ads is a customer acquisition tool. Your back end, however, is your customer retention system. I hope I don’t need to explain further.

Lastly, the good news is eMarketer, Retail Dive, and The Drum all report e-commerce may soon fair better as consumers turn from in-store to online shopping.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

No doubt many businesses may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. A little financial support can go a long way, so Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.

Credit Card Relief for Cononavirus Affected Businesses

Fortunately, most major credit card issuers are responding by offering assistance to their customers. Goldman Sachs, which issues the Apple Card, is allowing customers to skip their March payments without accruing any interest fees. Amex and Capital One are following suit with similar programs for eligible cardholders.

In Summary

For brands, the key to mitigating the impact of coronavirus lies in putting the customer at the heart of marketing and keeping an eye on changing customer behaviour, particularly in response to changing e-commerce trends.

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