A Message From Our CTO – What’s Going On Out There?!

Mar 18, 2020 | SF News

Social Fulcrum is working hard to help our clients and partners adapt their social media strategies to the rapid changes brought on by COVID-19.

For all companies today, the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens must be of the utmost concern. Now is the time for every organization to think first about the health and welfare of their employees, families, and customers, and to take steps to protect and serve them in this time of uncertainty.

To Social Fulcrum, this means working closely with our partners to develop a new way forward for their marketing efforts in a time of great uncertainty. 

As part of that commitment, we wanted to share some observations and recommendations for how to proceed with adapting your strategies (You can sign up for future updates here): 

What are we seeing across clients?

Overall Performance
Is weaker, but not explosively so. Day-by-day performance for all accounts is jumpy, but not awful.

CPM
CPMs are down 13% on average this week, across our client base. This is likely due to increased usage, which in turn has led to an increase in supply of buyable impressions. This increase in supply is leading to a drop in ad pricing (CPMs).

CTR
CTRs are down an average of 18% for our non-grocery clients.

CPC
CPC is up 5% systemwide. This is driven by the drop in CTR being larger than the drop in CPM.

Onsite Conversion Rates
This is the biggest change we are seeing. Onsite conversion is down 39% systemwide.

ROAS/CAC
On average, ROAS is down 46% currently. CAC is up 31%. This is being driven almost entirely by the (39%) drop in onsite conversion.

Timing
Last week the CPM drop actually drove a few days of above-average performance for a handful of accounts. Later in the week, the conversion rate impact kicked in and our top accounts were “average” and a lot of our accounts were down 30-50% in terms of ROAS (or CAC). Last weekend showed a bit of improvement for most accounts, the majority of accounts had “normal” to “marginally weaker than normal” weekends.

Why are we seeing this?

The CPM drop is being caused by more usage of Facebook. The drops in CTR & Onsite conversion are being driven by low customer motivation, and low customer urgency. Our clients who are seeing the largest performance impact are the ones whose purchases are more “optional” (i.e. luxury subscription, fashion). 

Things TO DO right now:

Assume you will be in touch with your agency at least every 48 hours
Things that used to wait should now be discussed more often. Keep the line open.

Reallocate ad spend to things that ARE working
E-Commerce ads are suddenly vastly outperforming relative to historical averages. Look for pockets of performance and triple down quickly.

Think of alternative funnels that capitalize on very low CPMs
CPMs are low and will probably fall further. This may mean that certain “deferred purchase” funnels start to look attractive.
Potential ideas:

1. Video view campaigns to large future prospecting audiences to “prime the pump” for later prospecting.

2. Email capture campaigns to gather emails for future campaigns.

Think about ways to create customer urgency
People are still clicking on ads; they just are purchasing half as often. Strategies that work to increase onsite conversion become really important:

1. Promos with end-dates to create urgency.

2. On-site content that addresses buyer concern, including:
• Adding a FAQ page that’s easy to access
• Talking about why product is safe
• Saying “yes we are shipping still”

Think about ways to make your product attractive in a locked down environment:

1. “Save a trip to the store, get delivered online to you”

2. “Save time when you are busy”

Things to NOT DO right now:

Don’t schedule high stakes tests
Postpone any lift tests, or exotic audience/funnel tests.

Don’t spend money on R&D
Now isn’t the time to test that new landing page. Simpler accounts with fewer tests adapt to changing ad dynamics much faster.

Don’t do ANYTHING that would appear to be “epidemic profiteering” 
This includes making sure your dynamic ads have not all started to show nothing but N95 masks and hand sanitizer, which they are all auto-defaulting to right now.

Don’t bother making advertising plans for anytime longer than 72 hours from now
Ad prices and ad performance are changing dynamically. The key here is to stay reactive; don’t bother being proactive.

Don’t make blanket “ads on/ads off” decisions
Work to figure out what is working and reallocate budget. Don’t panic pause your ads, as plenty of things are working well right now.

Don’t assume that every ad has to somehow reference Covid-19
We launched some custom ads for some accounts and have not seen strong performance.

Our goal is to keep you informed and prepared every week through further updates like this one.

Please reach out to discuss how we can help support your business and your customers during this difficult time.

Thank you,

Noah Freeman
Co-Founder & CTO

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