The deadly virus known as the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has managed to affect the world in all sorts of ways, from social interactions, public health, and especially the economy. These uncertain times have become worrisome for most people, especially small business owners who are unsure if they’ll be able to maintain their business from running due to this epidemic. Small business owners will need to deal with the sudden change to their campaign performance because of this ongoing situation.
This worldwide epidemic has shifted the way advertising has been running in the past few weeks. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising has seen an influx in recent months, and many people have predicted that Facebook and Instagram will be seeing a downturn in certain areas. With businesses having to adjust their approach, people staying inside their homes more, and the world reacting to this deadly virus, many of them are turning to the news for the answers to their questions and solutions for their current problems.
Quite a few advertisers are already benefiting from the recent increase in new audiences who are finding their way to advertisers sites, and some are even being converted into new customers. On the other hand, the results aren’t exactly stellar, and several strategies will need to be modified. Indeed, now is the best time for most small businesses to continue their advertising campaigns, and many experts have agreed. Let’s go over what’s currently happening with the Facebook and Instagram ad industry.
Online activity is at an all-time high
With the majority of businesses that aren’t considered essentials closed, and most people are remaining inside the comforts of their homes to lessen the chance of spreading the deadly virus, social media engagement has increased to all new highest.
Since most people aren’t going to their favorite hangout spots or engage in various outdoor activities, they are using Facebook and Instagram much more often to stay in touch with one another. This means that the number of impressions is also on the rise, and the probability of your ads reaching out to your target audience is also increasing by the numbers. This means that small businesses will witness an overall decrease in operating costs for their advertising campaigns.
Facebook has seen quite a significant rise in numbers of the past couple of weeks. According to them, they’ve seen several numbers go up, such as:
- The rise of 70% of it’s Messenger group video calls, and their usual demand for video calls on WhatsApp has gone up by double the usual amount.
- The amount of messaging has gone up by more than 50% for both Messenger and WhatsApp.
- U.S. traffic from Facebook to other websites has generally increased by more than 50% on a daily basis.
The increase in activity has yet caused any problems for Facebook’s capability to deal with traffic, but Mark Zuckerberg has commented during a press call that the company is getting ready to respond if they see a spike in traffic surge even further.
“We’re trying to make sure that we can stay in front of this challenge,” he said. “Right now, this isn’t a massive outbreak in every country around the world but if it gets there, then we really need to make sure we’re on top of this from an infrastructure perspective and make sure that we can continue to provide the level of service that people need in a time like this.”
This is excellent news for many small business owners who are currently running advertising campaigns. However, this doesn’t mean we are encouraging everyone to start testing out any new initiatives during this time unless you’re capable of doing so while running your campaign for the next couple of months since you’ll be positioning yourself in a more favorable position for attention.
In the case of Instagram, this social media platform was hit the hardest compared to Facebook. Instagram saw a 14% decrease in engagement rate by followers as the coronavirus epidemic continued to progress. The reason behind this decline would have to do with the number of people using other mediums to receive their news or remain connected with friends and family members, such as Facebook, Another thing worth mentioning is that Instagrams engagement rate has been on a downward spiral as of late, suggesting that this platforms engagement rate will continue to decline compared to Facebooks.
Whenever a disruption occurs to the average business day, the usual reaction for most small businesses is to pause their advertising campaigns, with the idea to restart them once the situation has concluded. While some would consider this a smart move, if you still have the finances to do so, it would be a much better move to continue running your ad campaign during this ongoing epidemic.
Since your competitors are most likely out of the competition for the moment, your shared customer base will be ripe for the picking. As a bonus, since you share the audience lower, you’ll eventually start noticing a decline in operating costs as well, hence making your expenditure more effective.
According to analysts, they are predicting that Facebook’s ad revenue shall see a 19% decline during this year because of the current situation, totaling around $15.7 in loss of profits. This indicates that a large chunk of your competitions won’t be getting in the way of any of the advertising campaigns you run during these trying times.
In a recent blog post on Facebook done by the executives of the social media platform, they disclosed that the company has “seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.” While the platforms total usage has managed to increase during this epidemic, with message rates going up during the past month in countries that were hit the hardest by this deadly virus, although “We don’t monetize many of the services where we’re seeing increased engagement,” Facebook’s Alex Schultz, VP of analytics, and Jay Parikh, VP of engineering wrote.
Instagram has also witnessed a decline, as previously mentioned, but that doesn’t mean the decline in audience engagement won’t remain effective. Plenty of people are still using Instagram to post their news and any other things that can help them make it through these trying times. They even ran a hashtag campaign called Stay At Home to encourage their users to remain home and receive the latest news from the people they follow and use the hashtag in the meantime. This offers an excellent opportunity to share information about your business’s brand and advertise your products/services when they search the Stay At Home tag.
Instagram has also recently monetized its IGTV, although this monetization option is only being made available to specific channels during the beginning of the month. In-stream advertising shall begin running near the top of the most popular video creators content. According to a report done by Bloomberg, the creators of those programs shall receive over 55% share in the advertising profit on IGTV, which is considered the same rate that YouTube pays out to their content creators.
At the moment, IGTV is slowly growing in popularity, and the capability for creators and influencers to monetize on the platform is crucial for its rise in popularity. This will attract more creators and make them consider spending more time on the platform while trying to onboard their user base to this platform. Since they are already fully capable of generating revenue on both YouTube and Facebook, this evens out the playing field and offers Instagram the chance to compete against these two platforms.
With IGTV allowing advertisers to run their campaigns on the channels of the content creators will allow you to gain an edge on your advertising. Small business owners can have their ad campaigns run on these channels while people search through the various content, providing a chance for them to stumble upon the ad and clicking on them to see what it’s all about.
Another neat feature that is being published is the capability for Instagram users to stay up to date with the latest posts. Since users aren’t exactly the greatest fans when it comes to dealing with social media algorithms that show content out of order, even if it means they are seeing posts that end up being currently relevant to them. Small businesses aren’t fans of this as well, especially if it means their content is missed out by not being on top of a user’s feeds. Instagram plans to deal with this by adding a feature that’s known as the “latest post” feature, which should allow users to remain up to date. This is a feature that will be displayed over a user’s main feed alerting them that a new post was made and allow them the opportunity to catch up with the content.
As a small business, you’ll need to ensure your brand remains active to gain new audience members and increase engagement rates. Studies have revealed that people should consistently post only 1 or 2 times a day. This will ensure your feed remains fresh and relevant since you have an even higher chance of attracting a higher audience amount to your daily content. Being aware of what hours are the best moments to publish a post on your account is crucial, especially when you are dealing with the platform’s algorithmic timeline.
The recommended time you should post your content has varied amongst experts, with most agreeing to different hours. Some of them have stated that the best time to make a post is between the hours of 8 am to 9 am or 2 pm to 5 pm for the first post of the day. This type of inconsistency can cause confusion to occur amongst the audience and yourself.
In truth, every business will have to experiment what times they see the most views on their page since one strategy that works for a clothing brand, may not work for a service provider. To find out what suits your daily posts best, you should make it a habit to check in on the insights feature that is available under the Instagram Business or creator account. This should be capable of providing you with the information you need to identify the peak hour your audience is most active and allow you to schedule accordingly, ensuring your post starts to appear on top of their feed daily.
This is fantastic news for small businesses that are struggling to engage with their customers on Instagram and are struggling to have their content appear towards the top of the user’s feed. If Instagram decides to roll it out soon enough, it can become a crucial part of your advertising at peak posting times. This additional bump in visibility will allow small businesses to create engaging posts, which then allows them to bump in the algorithm at a later date well.
Don’t make fearful posts
Unfortunately, some people have been trying to capitalize on this current epidemic by making ads that prey on the fears of the people. Facebook has already forbidden ads which are attempting to profit on people’s concerns over the coronavirus, and they are planning to expand that to target any adverts and commerce listings on a face mask because of large profiteering pushers, and Facebook plans to extend this coronavirus ad restriction further by including all listings on hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, and test kits.
Instagram has also gotten involved in the banning of these types of ads on its platform. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri provided some additional context for the decision through a twitter post:
“Supplies are short, prices are up, and we’re against people exploiting this public health emergency.”
Facebook and Instagram are both witnessing a surge in people engaging on their platform. This has given small businesses an excellent opportunity to ensure they can get the word of their brand out there. But you should still take the time to consider your strategy and what you can do to adjust your advertising campaign accordingly. Right now, the iron is hot, and this may be the only chance you have to strike it.