Rethinking Your Acquisition Spend?

These are indeed uncharted and challenging times. We realize that some businesses might not have the means to spend on digital marketing during the economic turmoil that coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic – managing costs and serving existing customers is much more of a priority. It’s also difficult to give a one-pronged answer to this question, given that a D2C brand delivering “direct to your doorstep” might be thriving more than a company that relies on in-store foot traffic right now.

So, are you re-thinking your acquisition spend?

An opportunity to adapt

Hashtag Paid recently released a great report on how consumer behaviour has changed since mid-March. They mention that there’s a surge in e-commerce sales right now with consumers expecting delivery to their door, without interaction, and some even want confirmation that their package was sanitized. For the brands that can offer delivery services, don’t have supply chain interruptions, or those offering online services, we’d suggest maximizing your digital marketing spend until you hit your CPA goals. Across the board on social, we’ve seen CPM’s decrease significantly in March & April (sometimes as much as 40%!) as lots of advertisers are pausing ads, which makes it a great growth opportunity for the rest of us. In addition to the success we’ve seen with our own e-commerce clients, consider the ads you are seeing personally on your feed (Warby Parker?, Casper?..maybe that’s just me)’ll notice a whole lot of active DTC brands.

For other brands that may not have the ability to sell online, or not as successfully as pre-pandemic, we’d suggest pivoting your strategy. We had one client who turned their in-store business into a delivery service within a week! This could also mean gaining the goodwill of prospects by offering a 30 or 60 day free trial. Sharing useful content or coupons during this time. Show empathy, put your community first and focus on long term over short term goals, if possible.

Revisit your goals 

A change in your strategy also means a change in your KPIs. If you’re now focusing on your top of funnel campaigns, consider using reach, CPM and brand lift as metrics of success. 
CPA and LTV might be meaningless right now – cancellations, refunds, defaults are all up, so medium and long term ROAS horizons need to be taken with a grain of salt. The best you can do is actively review campaigns, budgets and your product/service supply.

Cut inefficient spend 

We’d recommend reducing as much inefficient spending as possible right now (aka. Cut whatever isn’t driving your KPIs). Consider cutting artificial growth targets over the next few months. This might mean focusing more on your remarketing and “warm” audiences rather than cold prospecting audiences. Yes, this is a bit of a double-edged sword since you’ll later have a smaller remarketing audience to advertise to.  

Consider other channels as well that you previously didn’t consider. Media consumption is at an all-time high, and people are using different mediums to connect. Personally, I never thought I’d be scheduling a surprise birthday party on Zoom for my best friend.
For mobile, the ECDC reports a surge in hyperlocal social networks, games and even dating apps (hello Tinder ads!). While news readership is significantly up, be cautious to ensure you are running against brand-safe content. Reach out to your account reps to ensure you have content and site blacklists in place.
However, other verticals have seen a decline in activity from COVID-19, like music streaming (likely due to decreased commuting), travel, events and sports.

Leverage support

Again, another post coming specifically on this topic, but there’s likely a lot of resources available that you can leverage. Check with the marketing platforms you are running on as some have already released grants for SMBs and/or reductions in CPMs or CPCs.

There have been signs of a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s hard to say when things will return fully to normal. We imagine these acquisition strategies will apply for the next few months, but we are crossing our fingers on a sooner picnic-ing in the park date. Stay safe all!

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