While the Covid-19 pandemic is still far from over, it’s safe to say that the U.S. economy is well on its way to reopening, and the global economy is following suit. The pandemic has had varying effects on brands throughout all verticals and industries with some marketers experiencing wild success as consumers transitioned to buying their goods almost exclusively through digital channels. However, this was not the case for everyone. Marketers within industries that were completely halted by the pandemic, such as travel, live entertainment, and in-person dining, struggled to stay afloat over the past 18 months. Similarly, small businesses and startups may have had to take a step back from advertising for financial reasons. Regardless of the reason, all marketers have had to adapt to the changes that Covid has thrown our way. Whether your business is on the rebound or flying high, we’re going to discuss what’s important to consider when relaunching or revising your paid marketing strategy.

Consumer Habits: Off and On Again

Consumer buying habits have dramatically changed over the past year and a half, which means the audience you were marketing to prior to March 2020 may be drastically different today. For example, folks who had been grocery shopping in-person for their entire lives may have transitioned to ordering their groceries via an app for pick-up or delivery to avoid exposure. It’s vital to consider how consumer trends such as these may have affected your business and how they will now impact how you communicate with consumers.

Although much of the U.S. has reopened at this point, international restrictions are still scattered across the board. Canada and E.U. countries, for example, have just recently started allowing vaccinated travelers from certain countries to enter their borders. Details such as these are important for geo-specific marketers, such as airlines and those in the travel industry, to ensure the countries you’re advertising to are accepting domestic and international travelers. Additionally, it’s important for these marketers to understand, incorporate, and regularly update restrictions and travel requirements within marketing materials.

When it comes to small businesses, Covid may still be impacting your day-to-day operations. If this is the case, it can be beneficial to continue advertising pick-up specials or online offerings to ensure your customers are aware that your goods or services are both accessible and safe. To put it simply, marketers need to understand and respect their audiences’ physical and emotional limitations in order to successfully communicate and engage with them.

Messaging: Hard or Soft Sell?

After the hardships businesses have faced over the past several months, it can be tempting to jump headfirst into advertising with direct conversion-focused messaging. However, it’s crucial that marketers remain mindful of what consumers have also endured throughout this pandemic. Although the U.S. has had access to a variety of Covid-19 vaccines for months now, the job and housing markets continue to cause widespread stress. With 1 in 5 Americans being behind on their rent and another 2.8 million being in mortgage forbearance, a pushy marketing campaign may not be the most effective way to communicate with consumers.

Instead, marketers may consider a more empathetic approach when speaking to their target audiences. This can include a variety of tactics such as inclusive messaging, creative assets centered around safety, and more. More than anything, marketers must ensure their ads are not alienating consumers who are struggling financially or otherwise – after all, the pandemic’s effects on the economy may very well be felt for months and potentially years to come.

Ad Spend: Prioritize Testing

One of the few things that haven’t changed in the wake of Covid is the need for marketers to test and measure their ads’ effectiveness to determine the amount that needs to be spent to drive results. Regardless of the budget, it’s typically best to start small, measure results on a weekly and monthly basis, and then adjust accordingly. Given our limited knowledge of how the U.S. population plans to spend their money post-pandemic, testing is a marketer’s best friend. This test period is not only limited to budget – it’s also wise to test various messaging, creative, and distribution channels to understand where consumers are spending their time and money.

For those marketers looking to minimize the risk of blindly spending budget without driving profitable results, the performance marketing model may be your best bet. Instead of paying for clicks or impressions, performance marketers only pay once a conversion has been achieved. There are various payment models that can be employed to drive a variety of conversions including but not limited to sales, sign-ups, app installs, and form-fills. In a time where uncertainty seems to reign supreme, performance marketing continues to drive tangible results and increased ROI. Learn more about how your marketing strategy can benefit from the performance-based Cost-Per-Acquisition model.

Whether Covid drove your business through the roof or put a damper on operations, these tips can help you develop an ad strategy that will resonate with consumers and the current state of the world. By closely studying consumer buying habits and crafting relevant, empathetic messaging will allow marketers to meet consumers where they are. This will entice consumers to not only engage with but also buy from marketers who are most in tune with their lives and the current state of their communities. In order to ensure you’re not overspending on ads, marketers must take the time to carefully test a variety of language and graphics across various channels. Working with an experienced network partner can be invaluable when conducting tests and gathering consumer insights; account managers from tenured networks often offer suggestions and optimizations, as well as real-time analytics to bolster campaign performance. Those who invest the time in testing will both drive the results and efficiently make the most of budgets.

Looking to optimize your marketing strategy while also maintaining an efficient spend? Named the #1 CPA Network Worldwide by mThink since 2015, Perform[cb] is here to help you do both of those things with the continual goal of scaling your business. Reach out today to learn how we can scale your marketing campaigns on a pay-for-results model.