There's never been a better time to market your brand than right now. How can I say that with certainty when there's so much chaos afoot? Let me be clear that it does not hold entirely true for every brand across the board, but for the most part, expanding your brand presence will gain you market share during the current safer-at-home conditions.
It's important to tip my hat to several of our contemporaries and collaborators here in Los Angeles who've been compiling meaningful data, like MuteSix and TradeDesk, among others, which I'll be pointing to later in the article.
Before we get into why it's so important to set yourself apart now with a resonant brand narrative funnel filled with targeted traffic and followed up by strategic outreach where necessary, I want to check in with you on one thing.
How's your digital funnel shaping up?
I'm asking because we've consulted on, designed, and built countless digital-focused funnels for clients. That could include ads to fill-in a form and learn more about an investment, or to register for a webinar followed by an educational email drip, or to download an app or purchase a product.
But our funnel…? Well.
I kid my team saying, "you know, the plumber's sink is always running, except in a pandemic." I think it's funny.
We finally launched our funnel! Like, really launched. Podcast, Webinars, Newsletter, all increasing engagement on social posts because our fans like what we're doing more than recommendations we can make or outside articles we can share.
Our funnel was something we were "working on" for…, years? *Checks notes* Yes, years.
And it's not like, "oh, we launched, now we're done." No. It's work to keep it fresh and growing. But it's so much more focused than the terrestrial networking we were doing so much of before.
We started with our Podcast, "Test. Optimize. Scale." which I'm really proud of and happy to share with you. We've got several episodes up and several more in the queue. I'm excited about our Podcast for several reasons.
The guests who've recorded so far definitely brought their "a-game." Each episode has gems and nuggets that inspire or inform on a level I hoped to achieve and was still blown away by each time. IF you have a suggestion for a future guest, let us know. We're interested! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: "Test. Optimize. Scale. Guest Proposal."
We're hosting the episodes on all platforms where people listen to podcasts (nearly, all), as well as a video version on our fledgling YouTube channel.
You might find watching the Podcast is fun because you can see the conversation unfold, and we're able to include a bit more information on each guest in the sub-titles.
Quick side question: Have you ever heard a small voice in your head saying, "don't send people there, they'll see no one has been there and never come back?" Me too. But so what. The only way around that is to share it and let the people who love it stick around or come back for more. So, please visit our YouTube channel and do all the things (like, subscribe, comment, share, thank you). You could be one of the first hundred and then think of how you'll feel when we hit our first thousand!
I am interested in your feedback. Let us know how we can improve on delivering high-quality marketing guidance that helps you surpass your goals.
We've also launched a webinar series where we partner with experts across verticals to showcase how concentrating efforts, especially now, can yield exciting results. There too, we've been thrilled with the quality of guests who've joined us, and those who've had us join as well. I really enjoy speaking to groups and I'll be launching a booking site, veeery soon.
Also, if you'd like to join our newsletter, (a key funnel element) sign up at the bottom of our media library. We're sharing monthly case-studies, our new articles on Forbes Agency Council, updates on upcoming webinars, and resources like the ones in here.
I bring all this up before looking at the state of the advertising landscape because I want you to have at least one possibility in front of you -- it's essential to identify your goal or hope in all this. Then, you will see these data-points for the opportunities they represent.
Okay, now for the meat and potatoes.
I want to share some statistics and trends with you that our partners and collaborators in the space have prepared.
Before we share other people's statistics, you might find ours interesting:
All our Equity Crowdfund campaigns are up by 3x - 21x ROAS (return on ad spend).
All our E-commerce campaigns are up by 3x - 28x ROAS.
Our YOY Revenue is on target to hit projections for May.
June was a dip from projections but matched last year in revenue.
What this means to me is that the marketplace is healthy; people are responding to advertising, and brands who put marketing first will outlast this pandemic, plain and simple.
The other side of that is, brands not advertising now, may not make it through this.
I don't mean to sound dire, so let these data-points from our respected partners paint the full picture.
I found these statistics related to stimulus money from MuteSix very interesting:
The 14 days of ad spend, post-stimulus shows a complete recovery of March dips across our portfolio. (MuteSix)
E-commerce stands to benefit as a category since an estimated 50% of non-food spending will occur online (up from 30% today). (MuteSix)
And from our friends at TradeDesk (I'll try to summarize, but they nailed it in a recent email):
Avails and CPMs
A large increase in availability (avails) of inventory across nearly all channels, except Audio down 14%, probably because of less commuting.
Importantly, although inventory has increased, the average CPMs have only gone down 1-4%. Many agencies have asked us if more inventory opportunities mean advertisers will see a drop in their CPMs. The answer here is that with more opportunity, you can be more selective, but if campaigns are left as-is, no real change will be noted around CPMs.
How are other Advertisers/Industries handling COVID-19?
We've seen many advertisers throttle spend, and many others pause entirely, but Retail/Ecommerce clients have been the most interesting to track. Of the two largest retailers in our portfolio, this week has brought both the highest conversions and sales revenue we've measured all year.
At home, shopping appears to have rebounded very strongly over the past two weeks (April 7th-21st)
Automotive advertisers have been among the most pronounced to cut ad spend. However, due to the Fed borrowing rate being so low, auto brands and their finance counterparts are likely to take advantage by offering 0% APR auto loans to consumers. GM has been the first to market, offering 0% for 84 months across all of its brands. This could have huge implications on auto sales when the stay-at-home recommendation is lifted.
We believe linear TV spend will be hit the hardest as upfronts will be severely impacted, both logistically in holding them, as well as a result of large advertisers not wanting to make long term commitments due to uncertainty about how this will all play out.
We further anticipate that canceled sporting events will further contribute to cord-cutting, and lead to a larger increase in CTV adoption, especially across free services like Pluto.TV, Xumo, Tubi, etc.
Lastly, there are two resources below:
Advertising During Uncertainty: This deck covers high-level trends from historical times of uncertainty and how some brands took advantage. Many slides are easily repurposed for potential client presentations or proposals.
Inventory Fluctuation Breakdown: This deck breaks down inventory and CPM fluctuations by channel and can be used to support responses to your advertisers around these trending topics.
I wanted to share all that from our partners because it's useful to me, I'm sharing these resources with clients and colleagues, and shows how the market is shaping up around the new conditions.
I also want to encourage you to tackle digital funnel elements right away. There's no time like now to share your message with the world in a personal way. Remember, authenticity is always unique, and everyone connects to it.
We say that "people connect with brands on a human level." Bring your humanity to your brand and market like you mean it. You will gain significant market share by conducting campaigns properly while no one else is.
Now is your time!
- Jason Fishman