4 ways to adapt your social media campaigns right now

by Ophelie Lechat
April 20, 2020

With more people at home, mobile phone usage has increased by 50%. Meanwhile, 70% of social media advertisers have paused or adjusted their ad spend.

That’s a huge change. It’s also a big opportunity: with more people online and fewer businesses wanting their attention, you have a better chance of reaching your audiences with a compelling message.

We know from looking at historical data that the organisations that grow after recessions are those that continue their marketing investment. So use this opportunity to adapt your campaigns to the new context and reach people even more effectively.

Here are four ways to adapt your social media campaigns right now:

1. Change what you’re saying

While it’s important not to overdo your crisis messaging, COVID-19 is top of mind for your audience. It’s absolutely unavoidable at the moment, and any messaging that isn’t mindful of the context will be jarring.

A great example of this is ChildFund Australia’s sanitation campaign. It closely ties together what we see and hear in Australia to what they’re doing overseas.

ChildFund Australia's sanitation campaign

Source: ChildFund Australia/Facebook

Want more guidance on this? We wrote a whole article on adapting your messaging to COVID-19.

2. Assess the strength of your ‘ask’

Australians are still giving during this crisis. If your service recipients are directly impacted by COVID-19 or the economic decline, you have a strong case to run conversion-based campaigns.

And, with fewer advertisers competing for visibility, you’ll likely see lower CPM and CPC for your campaigns.

For those who may not have an obvious, immediate ‘ask’, take a closer look at your campaigns and consider shifting gears to higher-funnel activities and messaging. Objectives like reach, awareness and subscriber acquisition will give you more bang for your advertising dollar.

You’ll be building a pool of new leads to nurture and activate down the track, when things begin to settle.

We love this campaign by the Heart Foundation, promoting their heart disease and COVID-19 email updates. In just a few weeks they’ve created a simple new product that will help them acquire new subscribers, build loyalty, and (we predict) see better fundraising results once the crisis stabilises.

Heart Foundation's acquisition campaign Heart Foundation's acquisition campaign

Source: The Heart Foundation/Facebook

The key takeaway is: this is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Assess the strength of your ask, and adapt accordingly.

Our free whitepaper can help determine how you can adapt your approach based on how your services are affected.

3. Test, learn, adapt, repeat

Now more than ever, successful campaigns are those that test and learn, not set and forget.

We’re in an unstable environment. If you were reviewing campaigns once per week, move to twice-weekly reviews and optimisations.

Consider a growth mindset: are there new markets or locations you can pursue?

For one of our clients, we’ve seen success in targeting a younger demographic as this group has flocked online.

With lower advertising costs, now is a great time to test new demographics, locations and messages.

Remember, we’re in different times. Keep in mind that performance may be unusual, and test results may not be applicable to business-as-usual standards.

4. Ramp up the moderation machine

One more change: you may have noticed more comments on Facebook posts and ads. This is because Facebook has changed their approach to comment moderation: with (human) moderators unable to work remotely due to security concerns, they are relying on artificial intelligence for moderation.

That’s causing a few issues, with AI moderation flagging legitimate comments as spam, and being unable to identify and hide as many abusive comments.

So while your engagement rates might be going up, the comments on posts are more likely to need attention.

That means your team needs to monitor and moderate comments on both posts and ads at least once per day. (Here’s how you can view Facebook ad comments.)

Because if you’re not moderating these comments, you could be advertising negative messages. Left unattended, these comments can quickly take on a life of their own, and affect your audience’s perception and trust in your brand.

We’re outside of business-as-usual, but advertisers have been presented with a great opportunity to update their social campaigns.

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