4 Reasons Facebook Marketing Is Critical During COVID-19

April 6, 2020

Author: Georgia Townshend

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If the earth were to announce it would stop spinning tomorrow, it probably wouldn’t surprise you right now, and it’s likely the least of your problems. There’s no other way to say it, it’s a scary and uncertain time to be a business owner, marketer, even an employee.

With all the uncertainty around how long lockdown will last and how long COVID-19 is set to impact our economy, business and virtually every other aspect of our lives, it could be hard to know what’s best for your business when it comes to marketing in the now and marketing in the short-term (next 3-6 months). Should you stop your marketing and advertising during the crisis? And if you continue to advertise, how will your message be received by consumers?

The need to make tough decisions is inevitable, and each business needs to make them based on their own unique circumstances and to ensure their survival. If you are able to continue marketing your business (and we suggest you should), even if it’s scaled back, this could be THE thing that holds you afloat through the difficult months ahead.

Before we jump into the reasons why Facebook Ads are so critical for your business during the COVID-19 pandemic and any economic recession, there is one key consideration to be aware of; while this is still a good time to advertise (you’ll find out why below, just hold on), you should note that conversions are NOT likely to roll in as they usually would. In the short term, your campaigns may not generate bottom-line results – but there are other benefits to keeping your awareness campaigns going.  So, let’s get into them:

Digital traffic is at an all-time high

This one’s sort of a no-brainer. Most businesses are closed, and most people are staying at home, resulting in an online surge.

People can’t go out to bars or do outdoor activities, so they’re turning to Facebook and Instagram more than usual, for information, entertainment, distraction. So, what does that mean for you? If search is down, Google Ads may not be the best place for you right now – but via social media, your captive audience is right there waiting for you with available impressions on the rise. So, the capacity for your ads to reach your target audience is on the rise. This will lead to lower overall costs for your campaigns (yay!).

It’s important to be empathetic and tasteful with your ads, but it’s also important to seek out and take opportunities when they are presented to you. Those who can afford to keep their campaigns running for the next 30, 60 or 90 days are doing so in a much more favourable market for attention. You can’t feel guilty about that.

Brand awareness is a low-cost objective

Since conversions are likely to slow down due to larger concerns at play right now, along with the inability to go out and act on purchases, it’s a good idea to shift to a lower-cost objective, like Brand Awareness with your Facebook Ads.

Brand Awareness ads are geared towards generating as many impressions as possible among your target audience in the hopes of generating greater brand recall. Facebook measures this by asking those who were served the ad if they remember seeing it two days after being served. This can be seen as a double dip, because if they don’t remember it, they’ll be reminded through this process.

These campaigns typically generate results for a few cents and are great at keeping brand awareness high. If you need to scale back budgets, or your service is currently unable to be provided, then awareness is more business-critical than conversions at this stage!

Many of your competitors are pausing their campaigns

Whenever there’s a disruption to “business as usual”, the knee jerk reaction of many is to ‘stop marketing’ – ad campaigns are paused, to only restart when the cloud is lifted and cashflow concerns have passed. That is exactly why you should keep your Facebook Ads going (if you can afford to).

With your competitors likely out of the running, your shared target audience will be ripe for the picking! With competition for the same audience now lower, you’ll almost definitely see lower operating costs (CPC) as well, making your ad spend even more impactful.

Analysts are predicting that Facebook’s ad revenue, based on the current situation, will decline by 19% for the year, or around $15.7 billion in total. That’s a huge dip in potential competition!

You have the opportunity to serve people now, and win business later

As we’ve pointed out, there are some obvious reasons to keep Facebook Ad campaigns active during a time like this. What may be less obvious is how your brand will be perceived by its audience as a result of your marketing effort. Given this, we highly recommend considering changing your messaging or offers in order to better serve people, as opposed to hard selling.

Changing your approach, even just a little in the short term, can help you win and keep trust and appreciation of consumers in the longer term.

If cash flow is a concern, cash flow (over profit) may be better than no flow if you’re just needing to keep the wheels turning:

  • Put your product/service on sale for redemption/fulfilment later (post-lockdown)
  • Promote vouchers. For further incentive, add value by adding a percentage more to the purchase price e.g. $75 voucher for $50.
  • Add value to purchases made now, who doesn’t like a freebie thrown in, or complimentary access to a premium service – whatever it may be that you can offer! Be innovative.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves into thinking that advertising isn’t about making money, but we should be sensitive about how we do it and what win-win looks like for your business and your customer. Offering helpful, thoughtful service, or providing increased value in a time of need won’t be forgotten when the crisis passes!

Remember, stay present and don’t feel guilty about it.