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Finding Opportunities in Chaos: 5 Insights from 3Q’s April eCommerce Report

Published: April 20, 2020

Author: Joe Kerschbaum

At 3Q, we preach true partnership with our clients, and this means helping them navigate tough situations effectively. Our Growth Sciences team is digging deep into data and analysis across verticals to help clients identify opportunities to maintain or grow performance in the COVID-19 age. In today’s post, co-written by Sr. SEM Strategist Shawn Grenald and Sr. Social Strategist Jessica Guedes, we pull a few key takeaways out of our April eCommerce report, which you can download in full here.

Lower costs may provide opportunity.

Our data showed late-March CPMs on Facebook and Instagram down 40-45% year over year; eCommerce CPCs on the same platforms have declined nearly 70% year over year. Brands that have budget to spend can be aggressive in engaging with new users; even if people aren’t in purchase mode now, they can be added to a retargeting pool to be re-engaged when online shopping behaviors change.

Holidays may still produce upticks in engagement.

eCommerce advertisers invested heavily around Valentine’s Day as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take shape. Though the landscape is very different now, it’s not too soon for promotional planning around Memorial Day and Independence Day. Retailers should consider pivoting messaging to fit the times, e.g. camp out in your backyard, have a family party on your patio, or celebrate summer responsibly.

Smart brands are doubling down on testing.

Whether brands are experiencing increased or decreased demand, they’re testing to find opportunities, including new audiences, new messaging and creative to address changing needs and desires, different offers (e.g. CPG subscriptions vs. one-time fees), automated bidding to react in real time to behavioral shifts, and new features like Messenger, where people are engaging in higher volumes.

Audiences are reacting to empathetic messaging.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders become widespread, advertisers began to incorporate messaging around “work from home,” “delivery,” “curbside pick-up,” “no contact,” and other themes that reflect customer needs and reassuring safety measures. As the pandemic rolls out and the curve begins to flatten, think of incorporating more optimistic messaging around re-emergence, preparation for outdoor activity, and more. Keep a close eye on the news and geo-specific updates on loosening of social-restriction rules, and prepare messaging around in-store specials and welcome-back deals.

Staying on top of trends is crucial.

The landscape in both search and social is incredibly dynamic. We recommend that advertisers increase frequency of search query reports, check search trends daily for fast-emerging trends, and monitor Facebook IQ for insights and recommendations.

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