Five tips: What works for paid advertising during this exceptional time?

Five tips: What works for paid advertising during this exceptional time?

We help our customers to ensure the continuity of their e-commerce business. Thus, during the exceptional period caused by the corona epidemic, we have received a record number of questions about advertising, campaigns and the adaptation of advertising to the prevailing market situation. It is good to note that the external market shock has treated e-commerce unequally. Some have benefitted hugely and others have stalled completely stalled sales figures.

The situation is changing rapidly and next week seems to be far away in the future. In the bigger picture ecommerce sales are growing and this is supported by all the data we have collected. So how do you reach customers in a situation like this? We have actively monitored how visitors operate in our customers stores and assisted with customer acquisition. In customer acquisition, it has been clearly noticed that both channels and ads are working different ways than usual.

Find five up-to-date tips for exceptional paid advertising. Please note that there are market-specific differences in different channels and situations can change rapidly during a corona epidemic.

1. Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is clearly the number one channel for paid push advertising, which has also raised its head with more wide demographic segments. It is much more than a channel for young women today. Reaching out to men in particular has become easier in recent weeks. Using Stories requires the merchant to provide channel specific ad material including super short copy texts. Stories has previously been noticed as a good retargeting channel, but now it is also an important channel for acquiring new customers. How to produce channel-specific content and what kind?

In a few seconds you should say a lot and arouse interest. In the best examples, movement is brought to the ad level, especially at the edges of the screen. One actual idea is to put a button in the ad, which is practically just a gimmick to get people to print the ad. With text, on the other hand, less is more. It is especially important to take into account device-specific differences in terms of screens. We therefore recommend a larger and easier-to-read font for ads.

What kind of tricks to stand out from the competition? One clothing store made an ad popping into the store and showing a selection of the best-selling product category. So, it was actually a video recording of their landing page visit just recorded and edited as a 3 seconds ad. The ad worked very well and was a success with conversions. Another merchant conducted a location-based campaign in where ad copies and backgrounds were adjusted to fit specific geographic areas. It worked great and turned out to be best ad ever based on both conversions and direct sales.

2. Facebook LIVE

More and more brands have also made live appearances on Facebook. In this way, push notification is sent to the followers of the page. This is a great way to engage existing customers and bring personality to communication. Some of our merchants have taken this opportunity and received positive feedback in a very short period of time.

For example, live videos can ask present customer feedback on products or describe the brand’s philosophy during difficult times. The best way to make the most of this channel is to be open, transparent and as honest as possible with your customers.

You can also take example from world biggest direct-to-consumer brands by combining live sessions into sales. This is accomplished, for example, by offering customers discount codes or other benefits during Live. Lives work best if they provide two-way communication with customers. Best of all, live videos will be saved in your account. They can then be redistributed, either organically or through paid advertising, to reach an even larger mass.

3. Smarter email marketing

This is not really about paid advertising, but it is a critical part of ecommerce marketing channels in terms of business continuity. While inventory bulges or sales don’t hit the records, it’s important to stay calm with email marketing. As a worrying example, one of Finland's best-known clothing brands has gone almost to the level of spam, sending an average of three e-mails a day to ecommerce newsletter subscribers instead of the normal few weekly messages. The consequences and damage from such can be long-lasting.

A positive example of email marketing during this time is a healthy food store, which was constantly changing the content of messages with active email automation. Normal offer-driven content didn’t seem appropriate for the situation, so key posts were updated on the content to provide tips for doing things together and having fun. Content was produced for both newsletters and the on-site blog. Although the messages did not have a direct commercial edge, the messages were opened at record percentages and eventually the sales of the messages were at the level of the best promotional campaigns.

Not all marketing has to be directly sales-driven. In support of marketing, an indirect commercial approach can be taken with good and up-to-date content. This way, you can be a degree more relevant to your customers. This is also easy to apply as part of ongoing paid advertising.

4. The return of Tricky Trickster

The time people spend in front of their screens has grown to record levels in last few weeks. How to benefit from this and provide timely content with a positive perspective? The key is to maintain a good relationship with your customers and offer something recurring.

As an example, one of our clients makes a weekly ad with a positive angle and incentive for each week. The advertisement ends up on a content page, which tells about the brand's desire to influence those most affected by the situation in Finland. Finally, there is a small commercial incentive in the form of a discount code that works for a limited time.

Content can be produced weekly or even daily depending on resources. The key would be to produce content with relevant angle. And not only for organic marketing, but also for paid marketing. Advertising angles that typically work in marketing may not be relevant right now or hit the sweet spot. On the other hand, for example, campaigns can be adjusted to fit the time.

5. Activate customers to produce content

The challenge for many is the content calendar, which has had to be wiped out over many good plans due to a special situation. Planned content producers are not reached or the studios are closed. Now would be the latest time to invest in customer-generated content. Many direct to consumer brands have been collaborating with the most loyal customers for years. The content produced by the customers has honesty, fun and a little edgy roughness that some are looking for.

When collaborating with customers to produce content, the best pieces can also be used to support paid advertising. At its simplest, you can start with references and customer reviews, but this can be deepened, for example, so that the customer produces content directly to the company’s social media channels. One of our customers selling sports products has included various incentives to get potential customers to follow their role models eagerly.

The key is to remember to take good care of legal issues and document any cooperation agreements. At its best, the content produced by customers is very authentic and is not slowed down by the limitations caused by this state of emergency.

Mikko Rekola, lead growth hacker / Woolman


Feel like your business could use some more tips and tricks for paid advertising and customer acquisition these days? Contact us:

Konsta Saarela

Managing partner
+358 400 250 716


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