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Should E-Commerce Brands Pull Back Ad Spend Amidst A Distracted Coronavirus Audience?

It’s no surprise that the coronavirus has completely dominated headlines, social media feeds, news-stations, group text messages and every day conversations, leaving the world –– and your target audience more distracted than ever.

Many economists are no longer debating whether we’ll have a recession because of the coronavirus…the questions now are 1) how bad will the recession be and 2) how quickly can we recover. And for e-commerce brands, and the global economy as a whole this means coming up with a plan to ride out the storm while keeping long term goals in mind.

So, is it really worth it to spend precious marketing dollars to promote Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads to a disengaged, frazzled audience right now?

The answer is maybe. And solely depends on your e-commerce business, product and goals.

Every brand is going to be a little different, but as a rule of thumb brands should not panic about their business or ad spend. Instead, monitor your ad campaigns closely and use appropriate tactics to keep short term and long term goals in mind during these uncertain times.

Dialing In Your Budget Strategy

E-commerce brands should keep a fluid budget, and keep seasonality and product demand in mind year-round. The idea of adjusting your ad budget relative to your desired results shouldn’t be a new concept, but it’s more important than ever right now. When you are hitting above your target ROAS, your ad budget should be set up to scale your business. And when you’re not reaching your goals, it’s important to access where you could be wasting money, and pull back as needed. This is hopefully not a new concept. In the Coronavirus era (errr.. couple day period?), tweaking your ad spend to get the best results, while pulling back where needed is what you need to do to ride out the next couple of days, weeks or months. I strongly recommend pulling back as needed and saving budget for when it will yield better results, while not panicking and maintaining your digital strategy to grow your business.

Scaling Back On Your Top Funnel 

The audience that’s typically the hardest to convert is your cold top-funnel audience, who hasn’t likely heard of you before and might or might not have a need for your product. If you need to pull back on your ad spend to maintain results, this would be a good place to look at.

Focus On Your Ad Creative And The Problem You Solve 

E-commerce brands with cut-above the noise ad creative and great product-market fit shouldn’t see their advertising efforts come to a screeching halt. Focus on the problem you solve, and trust the reason your product exists and know there is still demand for it. In this over-crowded social space, delightful ad creative might even be appreciated.

Scaling Your Retargeting Efforts Based On Website Visitors 

If your website isn’t getting as much qualified traffic as it normally does, your retargeting efforts might be a place where you could pull back your ad spend. All things equal you want your retargeting advertising to reach people enough times to get in front of them without annoying them, and your budget is the variable that creates this outcome.

In conclusion:

*Like you shouldn’t panic and pull all of your money out of the stock market, don’t panic and stop all of your advertising efforts

*If it’s not broken don’t fix it. Many of my clients are still getting above average results even over the past week, and if you’re still doing well don’t pull back just because.

*Consider pulling back on your budget to reach your cold audience and focus more on your core audience

*Show compassion to your customers, neighbors, friends and family during these uncertain times.

*Create a customer service plan for possible delays in shipment and a FAQ about how your business is dealing with the Coronavirus

*Don’t spread paranoia, wash your hand, work from home, be kind.

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