Digital Advertising in the Post-Corona Landscape

april 17, 2020

How reduced budgets and decreased demand has presented some of the best opportunities in years for efficient advertising.

Much like the stock market, the best buying opportunity is when everyone else is selling. This article will show you how to get the most our of your marketing efforts in a time of cut budgets, reduced agency involvement and decreased demand.

Using your marketing budget wisely is more important now than just a couple of months ago. Marketers need to increasingly analyse that everything spent is going to bring ROI – preferably short-term. This does not however mean to avoid planning for the long-term but rather adapting to the post coronavirus situation.

According to a Conductor survey, many marketers are anticipating that their budgets will be reduced slightly during the Covid-19 crisis.

With many budgets reduced, marketers have to do more with less time, money, and resources. Creative solutions on how to be cost efficient will lead to coming out of this crisis stronger than before. 

This is a unique time for advertisers where we on one side may be moving toward a recession and on the other side have more people online willing to consume online services and products. 

Even though the coronavirus is impacting a majority of businesses negatively, there are opportunities to be seized. The cost of advertising is lower than just a couple of months ago. For those who have the opportunity to invest in their brand – this is the time to do so. Marketers investing in the brand now can pick up market share at a fraction of the cost just a few months ago.

This article collects examples of great marketing effective campaigns, tips, and exclusive insights revealing interesting opportunities with digital advertising.

How to convince your boss to keep your budget

The opportunity to maximize marketing investment is greater than ever before. Prices for social media advertising and premium ad inventory have fallen to record lows. 

Digital marketing has been impacted by the coronavirus and marketers need to take action to adapt to the situation. There is a window of opportunity to gain market share through cost efficient advertising. 

Across all digital channels prices are falling – even though there is an increase in online activity. Facebook’s CPM rates fell between 15% to 20% in March as advertisers are stopping planned campaigns.

Facebook’s worldwide average CPC rate dropped 19% from January to March.

The same trend is being seen with Facebook’s global average CPM rates. Cost-per-thousand impressions fell to an all-time-low in early April and are now at around one dollar.

Source: Gupta media analysis on global Facebook CPM rates

Similar effects by the coronavirus have also been seen with Twitter. With an increase of 23% in daily usage as people flock to get the latest updates, but ad revenue dropping over 20%.

Programmatic display advertising

Data collected by Match2One shows that CPM (cost-per-thousand views) and CPC rates (cost-per-click) are much lower than before. A YoY comparison shows that April 2020 has 32% lower CPM prices than April in 2019.

CPM rates April 2019 to April 2020

CPM and CPC rates continue to fall after March as marketers come to terms with the corona crisis. Advertisers will most likely see their lowest prices in years in the month of April. 

For the Swedish market, there is a clear opportunity to maximize media investment with CPC down 47% since March.

CPM prices are also showing the same trends with average prices for the Swedish market falling 41%.

Display advertisement can be very effective at this time with prices being low combined with more people online.

We are seeing more dramatic trends with CPC rates, where there is a drop of 56% on the Swedish market from the high of the year-end in 2019. 

A global ad rate index shows that ad rates have been falling since the beginning of March. For the past 4 years, ad rates have been between 40 and 60 points – the chart below shows a drop to just below the rates of 2016, around 37 to 40 points.

Cost efficient advertising done right

What is cost efficient advertising? 

Simply put, cost efficient advertising ensures that every dollar spent is maximized and contributes to growth through ROI. 

Efficient advertising can be split into two main components; 

  1. Effectiveness in your target audience through content and, 
  2. Reaching as many people within the target audience with as little as possible.

Creating strong content  

The Swedish broadband company’s campaign for it’s fiber broadband was highly successful with wide organic reach. By focusing on content, were able to get extensive reach and maximized every cent. 

The Youtube video that creatively conveys the speed of their fiber broadband has over 6 million views and the campaign resulted in 30 million SEK worth of media spend.

Focusing on perfecting a full funnel marketing strategy

The B2B financial brand Cetera applied a full funnel marketing campaign to reach their target audience. Cetera Financial carefully selected channels and used data such as job title and company size, to ensure that ads were only shown to its most coveted audience. 

This multi-channel approach was set up strategically to accomplish effective advertising. In the upper funnel, Cetera successfully increased relevant site visits, conversion rates, and clicks using targeted display ads and social media.

In the lower funnel, display ads and email were used to nurture previously known as well as new prospects. Cetera managed to combine the use of targeting those who submitted their email on site and through accurate retargeting.

“The results we’re seeing right now are a product of adding display and social advertising into our overall nurturing strategy. We can reach prospects anywhere online and make every interaction with them more personal and relevant throughout the buyer’s journey.” 

Eric Hansen – Director of Demand Generation Marketing at Cetera

Using data and targeting potential customers based on the sales funnel is key to using the marketing budget wisely. Focusing on targeting and efficient advertising resulted in the campaign driving $1 million in new business.

How to efficiently invest your marketing budget

1. Find the right advertising channels

Look at the marketing trends and your target audience more than usual. Investigate where others are spending less and if your brand can increase market share through cost efficient channels. 

The coronavirus has resulted in lower advertising costs. This combined with higher online activity makes programmatic, search, and social media cost efficient channels. 

2. Be spot on with your targeting 

The effects of the coronavirus are that we may be moving into a recession. However, consumers and businesses are online, and at the moment, there is still a lot of purchasing power in many segments.

Investigate further how to improve your targeting of potential customers and in retaining existing customers. Increase marketing effectiveness by reviewing the purchase process and the steps along the prospecting journey to maximize your brands relevancy.

To avoid unnecessary costs, re-determine what channels are relevant to your target audience and where ROI is highest. This may also have been changed with the increase of online activity.

3. Focus on content and re-use old content 

Once you’ve identified the right channels most relevant to your adjusted strategy your marketing efforts will be more effective.

Adjust your content marketing to engage your target audience. Content marketing should always strive to produce measurable results in proportion to the resources committed to them. 

Brands can improve their content based on the data they already own or common best practices. Sparking an awesome idea is not limited to budget, the creative process is in each marketers mind.

Great online content is one aspect of marketing that can have a strong impact on how many you reach for each spent dollar.

With that said, being successful with great content marketing is easier said than done. Marketers need to find a balance between high engagement and financial return. Whether it’s brand building, SEO, or conversion, always have a clear purpose with your content before jumping into the creative process.

4. Test your campaigns before launch and use the insights

Updated previous content that has earlier proved to be successful is also a quick and effective way to apply content marketing with good results. 

Using efficient advertising techniques and testing the impact of your campaign before launch is the best way to start your campaign. Programmatic advertising, social media, and PPC campaigns allow marketers to test effectiveness before investing a big chunk of their budget. 

These are also channels where you can measure direct ROI, optimise in real-time, and make use of precise targeting.

Digital channels are advantageous for marketers with smaller budgets that require high ROI. You will instantaneously get feedback which makes it easier for you to ensure a successful campaign.

Set up your display campaigns to be relevant for each step of the customer journey. This way you have the possibility to lower acquisition costs by using spot on content for the right audience.

Once you identify a successful campaign, use that information to scale and grow your campaign. The insights from a campaign can then be used to refine target audiences, content, and channels. 

Adapting your digital advertising strategy to the corona crisis is a must. Doing so with rigorous testing of content and target audiences will lead to a cost efficient campaign with higher impact.

Finding ways for efficient marketing is one of the best ways to adapt to the current situation when ad rates are, in most cases, lower than ever.

Lär dig mer om hur du kan starta kostnadseffektiva kampanjer
Jonathan Olsson

Jonathan Olsson

Head of Marketing

Leave a comment


Annette skriver:

John, this is a great write-up; do you have suggestions on how to optimize in real-time? I feel like a student driver who’s yanking the wheel left and right just to stay in the lane… We want to be as efficient with our CPM/CPC buys without overreacting to micro trends in the average buys. Are there guidelines for staying afloat when we’re not trying to challenge or chase our core keywords, but just to maintain relevance? Thank you for your time.

Cyngus Technologies skriver:

Thanks for sharing. It’s very useful, especially for those who are struggling during Coronavirus. This can help them plan their expenditure better.