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Survey Results: Navigating Social Advertising and Consumer Expectations During COVID-19

Riikka Söderlund Apr 9, 2020 6:34:09 AM

In the uncertainty of COVID-19, brands have had to reevaluate current work structures, budgets, and strategies. While there isn’t a playbook for our current situation, companies are realizing that they must view their marketing approach through an empathetic and thoughtful lense. Especially now, marketing teams must take into account their customers’ desires and expectations when deciding how to execute their social advertising campaigns. 

To better understand how customers are viewing social advertising right now, we at Smartly.io asked consumers what they see on social media and how that is impacting the way they view brands. The good news? The survey revealed that paid media can help buy the bottom-line, with more than one-third of consumers (37%) saying the ads they’ve encountered recently on social media spurred them to make a purchase online. For brands looking to effectively and thoughtfully connect with consumers during the pandemic, here are some things to consider:

Address COVID-19 Directly

COVID-19 has changed the norm in many ways, and social advertising is no exception. According to our survey results, 38% of consumers said they saw more ads from brands telling them to stay inside in the last 30 days; and 37% noted seeing more ads from brands related to health and wellness.  

Even with this influx of humanitarian advertising, consumers feel strongly that brands need to acknowledge COVID-19 head-on in their social advertising strategies. Specifically, 83% of respondents said they would like to see brands react to the pandemic in their advertising, with messaging about preventative measures like social distancing (28%), offering products that are useful to the stay-at-home economy (31%), and using their ads to do philanthropy (24%). 

Offering hyper-relevant products and services is just one way that brands can show awareness during the current situation. Brands should also consider adjusting their copy and creative to project an appropriate and thoughtful tone. With 46% of consumers saying they were more willing to engage with ads now because of the coronavirus pandemic, honing in on the right messaging and creative needs to happen quickly.

Stand Out From The Pack

It’s no surprise that people are consuming a high volume of content during social distancing. Visually-driven platforms are most popular, with 79% of consumers using Facebook, 46% using Instagram and 44% using YouTube. To stand out among all the visual stimulation, brands need to focus on highly visual and captivating content that breaks the mold while consumers are endlessly scrolling. 

According to our findings, the most popular ad formats that consumers are open to seeing are video ads (29%) and photo carousels (27%). Carousels and video ad formats allow brands to put content-rich ads in front of consumers, and right now, while people have time to engage, it’s important to optimize that ad real estate with strong creative.

Know What Matters Most

While certain industries struggle to stay afloat, others have come out even stronger as needs and priorities have shifted during the pandemic. Grocery is one of those industries that has a huge opportunity to use social advertising to drive online ordering - consumers selected grocery as the category they are most open to purchasing, with clothing and apparel coming in second. Further, 41% of consumers said they would spend up to $100 ordering items they saw on social media - a price point that most groceries fall under. Now more than ever, brands looking to drive sales need to reach consumers where they are passing the time. 

Even if brands take all the right steps, it’s critical to realize that the current landscape is changing daily. Marketing teams must understand what consumers are looking for and adapt ads in real-time. With the help of creative automation, marketers can be prepared to scale and pivot campaigns to ensure they properly reflect the consumer experience.

To learn more about how Smarlty.io can help marketing teams keep up with evolving consumer expectations, visit here

Author
Riikka Söderlund

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