How to Respond to COVID-19: Your Digital Advertising To-Do List

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is swiftly changing the advertising world: changing consumer habits, changing media consumption and changing how digital advertisers are supporting and guarding their brands. Do you know how to navigate this unchartered terrain? How to take the right next steps during this unprecedented time? We can guide you. Read on to find out what we expect to see in the coming days and get your digital advertising to-do list – all our expert recommendations you should follow and to-do’s you should tackle to lessen your brand risk and improve your brand opportunities ­as you respond to COVID-19. Changing Consumer Behavior Due to widespread coronavirus concern and growing restrictions, normal everyday life has been put on pause for now. Consumers, no longer out and about, are avoiding all but the most essential store runs in an effort to stay healthy. Instead, they’re turning to e-commerce to get what they need shipped right to their door. They’re also turning to digital devices, both mobile and desktop, to connect with others despite the required self-isolation and social-distancing policies. Be it to stay entertained or to get educated on the latest developments, they are logging in to social networks, smart TVs, video game consoles, and their phones more than ever before. Changing Digital Advertising Strategies With variances in consumer behavior comes shifts in media consumption, and digital advertisers are adapting quickly. For example, some advertisers have already taken precautionary measures when it comes to their media including implementing blacklists and increasing negative keyword lists. Digital advertisers are also scaling up spend in channels that align with consumer behavior shifts and cutting costs in channels that don’t. Since sporting events have been postponed or cancelled and once bustling cities have grown quiet for now, smart advertisers are looking for ways to move traditional TV, print and outdoor spend to advanced TV or connected TV. Ad messaging is also shifting during this difficult time. Some advertisers are replacing their usual come visit/shop/purchase/dine/join messaging with health-focused or PSA-style ads, while others are pausing promotional campaigns to refocus on their evergreen branding. Changing Advertising Ecosystem What does the future hold? Advertisers will lean more and more on digital alternatives to offset in-person event cancellations (think video conferencing and virtual events), which will magnify the need for 5G wireless technology. They will also start focusing on high-traffic channels, such as Amazon, paid search and social to follow consumer news and shopping trends. And as advertisers become more cautious about where their ads are running and shy away from keywords that may have a negative brand impact, contextual targeting strategies will likely become more popular. The way ad campaigns are measured may even change too. To adapt to the current market, advertisers may choose to look at longer lifetime value or profitability metrics rather than cost per action (CPA) or return on ad spending (ROAS). How to Respond to COVID-19: Your Digital Advertising To-Do List Consumer behavior, digital advertising strategies and the entire advertising ecosystem are changing fast. But you can deal well with this change and respond to whatever COVID-19 brings by tackling this digital advertising to-do list. 1. Check your vitals. Evaluate all angles of your business health including revenue trends, website traffic, social engagement and so on to understand how COVID-19 is impacting your business. 2. Maintain your brand. What marketing strategies should you activate now? During the COVID-19 pandemic, can your brand serve customers and prospects well? For example, Peloton’s workout-from-home business model fits perfectly into the rising need for social distancing. Or can your brand step in and fill a crucial public service gap? If so, before launching any service-oriented digital ad campaigns like these, make sure your messaging is mindful and socially responsible. Test the campaigns first before rolling them out widely to be sure they don’t negatively affect your brand image or sales. 3. Build strong connections. Make emotional connections with your customers while they’re in COVID-19 crisis mode. Consumers will always remember how a brand makes them feel. And a consumer’s emotional connection to a brand will power brand loyalty and longer customer lifetime value. If you’re not doing this already, pivot to meet customers’ and prospects’ current and ever-changing needs. For example, if you’re a grocery chain, promote delivery services. If you’re a gym, move to virtual trainings. Or if you’re a restaurant, focus on takeout and contactless pickup or delivery options. Keep looking for ways to stay in the game. Providing products and services at a social distance is the new table stakes for business. Set yourself apart in this new climate by offering discounts, package deals or other elevated levels of service, even if just for a short time, to drive interest and more customers. Explore opportunities to build brand connection within paid and organic channels. 4. Evaluate your messaging. Look at messaging receiving positive traction within your website, organic and paid media, and especially social channels. Now is the time to focus on the voice of the customer: Read customer comments, emails or chat. If you’re not getting enough customer interaction through marketing channels, tap into your call center, sales or customer service teams. Monitor calls. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn by just listening for trends. Are you seeing shifts in purchasing behavior across your revenue channels? Shift to align with where you’re seeing positive results. For example, if you’re seeing a shift from retail to online purchase, revise your strategy to increase messaging that focuses on online calls to action. Or start creating positive results. On the other hand, be sure to play good defense with any challenges or problems that crop up. For instance, if you’re an e-commerce retailer and shipping is delayed, be proactive and tell your customers, maybe with a huge banner on your site. Create the right organic or paid messaging strategy to communicate well with your audience while staying true to your brand’s core values. 5. Shift your media channel mix. Maximize changes in consumption trends. It’s no surprise media consumption is changing as more people switch up their daily routines, like spending more time with social media or advanced TV. Shift your media channel mix to align with opportunities in-market and improve performance within your campaigns. 6. Keep an eye on marketing shifts. Each market is operating in a different reality right now. Make sure you’re evaluating market-level performance and optimizing your advertising strategy within each. Analyze where and how your audience is now spending their time. Once you understand where these shifts are happening, you can uncover opportunities to continue to engage your target consumers well. Also, decide whether to focus on acquisition or retention. Is it still profitable to acquire new customers? How are you going about retaining current customers? Developing specific messaging to attain new customers and retain your current client base is equally important. 7. Watch your competitors. Keep an eye on your vertical’s consumer spending trends and your competitors’ messaging and media presence. SimilarWeb or Comscore can give you insights into your customers and the entire consumer journey and how to powerfully improve your targeting and mitigate shifts in brand loyalty to stay ahead of the competition. 8. Know your cutoff. Determine the lines of profitability within your paid media. If you’re netting a loss, consider changing your messaging strategy unless your focus is on maintaining brand equity rather than driving revenue. Now it’s time. Go tackle this digital advertising to-do list (or let’s do it together.) When you do, you’ll be well prepared to respond to COVID-19, able to navigate whatever terrain lies ahead, and rebound – stronger than before.

What Our Goodway Pros Know: 10 Working-From-Home Tips

A 15-second commute from your bed to your desk. Your only coworkers of the furry variety. No more valiantly waging a thermostat war. Escaping your cubicle for the comforts of working from home sounds like a dream. And the reality? It is – at Goodway, we should know: We’ve been working remotely for 12 years and can say without a doubt remote work works. And you can make it work too. Read on and learn what our Goodway pros know – all the working-from-home tips and tricks you need to succeed: 1. Get ready for work. Start your day early and find a good routine. For instance, build in ample time to leisurely walk the dog, tidy up, work out, shower and make coffee. Or how about watching TV or listening to a podcast while filing your emails? Once you get a few quick wins for the day, when you sit down (or stand up) at your desk, you’ll be ready to focus and work. In the U.S., the average one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes, so round trip, that’s over 52 minutes a day. Since you no longer have to hit the road for work, save these precious minutes just for you – explore a new hobby, read, take classes, meal plan or see more of your family and friends. Seize these extra minutes (and the day!) to master any skill. Not sure what to learn first? Let this handy list help you decide. The couch is comfortable when you want to relax. But a  separate work space, or ideally a room of your own, will make you more productive. Get a desk, a nice keyboard and mouse and invest in a good webcam and an earpiece to keep echoes at bay. Consider an external monitor, noise-cancelling headphones and an ergonomic desk chair (or even a posture corrector). Your body will thank you. Then order all those addicting office supplies (you know you want to!): notebooks, Post-It Notes and so on, so you have everything you need to be effective. Once you have to get serious and buckle down, treat the time you spend in your home office as working time. Act as you would in a traditional office environment; avoid distractions. One tip? Create the right signals. For instance, put a sign outside your office door so your family knows when you can and can’t be disturbed. But remember to have a little fun too. Embrace what you normally can’t do when you’re in a regular office: light candles, throw an afternoon dance party or destress for a few minutes and play with your pet or visit with your family. Pajamas, slippers and a baseball cap may be your uniform of choice, but look professional when it matters. Set up video calls as much as possible. You can gain a lot from and contribute much more to a conversation face-to-face. Seeing and talking with everyone is a good way to have more social interaction (and kick loneliness to the curb), improve communication and deepen relationships. And you won’t be tempted to multitask. Make your calendar visible and stay on your colleagues’ radar. In a remote work environment, it’s important to overcommunicate and inject all you write and say with more personality than you normally would so people can truly “see” you. Send and quickly reply to emails and participate as much as possible during meetings. Keep a to-do list and share it regularly with your team so they always know what you’re working on, and your progress. And be sure to set your work hours and tell your team. Having a set start time and end time can help you draw boundaries around your workday. Then once the day is through, mentally leave work behind, either by putting your laptop away or simply shutting your office door. When you want to stop procrastinating and get more done, remember to eat the big frog first. Tell yourself to try a dreaded task for just 5 or 10 minutes. You’ll probably  discover the hard part was simply starting, and you’ll more than likely push through until it’s done. Are you an extrovert who likes to talk on the phone? An introvert who shudders at the thought and would rather a billion pings from messaging software? Tell your coworkers how you like to communicate and keep in close contact with them. And when cabin fever hits, stave it off, if possible, by working elsewhere – at a coffee shop or at a coworking space from time to time. A change in scenery may be all it takes to stoke your creativity and rev up your productivity. Also, focus on team bonding to build comfort and trust. Our best advice? Take an hour or so each month to hop on a call and have a good time together as a team, without any thought of work. Play games (we like Drawsaurus, Family Feud and Kahoot!, to name a few), try some ice breakers or simply enjoy a virtual happy hour, whatever it takes to find the fun! Weave together your personal responsibilities  and your work obligations. Color-code your work and personal tasks on your calendar and sync it to your phone so you know at a glance what needs to get done. Block off time for lunch and breaks to stay sharp and productive. Need ideas for your downtime? Step back from your screens and rest your eyes. Cook. Knock out some housework while listening to your music playlist or audiobook. Exercise or catch up with family and friends. If work still calls, hop back on later to wrap up projects or knock out email. In a remote environment, set clear expectations, communicate goals, aspirations and preferences. Keep track of your accomplishments and progress and have the courage to manage your boss, or your boss’s boss to improve your career prospects. Wondering how to go about this? Check out these insightful reads, Manage Your Manager, It’s OK To Manage Your Boss and Suddenly in Charge. Now that you have these 10 working-from-home tips, you know exactly what our Goodway pros know about working remotely – everything they’ve learned along the way that you can use now to stay happy, healthy and productive, no matter when you’re on the job at home. Want even more virtual workforce insights? Find all our helpful best practices, webinars and more resources at