How Are You Reaching Consumers Impacted by the Pandemic?Katie Pray
I was at the grocery store the other day and as I was waiting to check out (six feet behind the person in front of me of course) I caught myself staring at the cashier. I was thinking that he looked familiar, but I could not put my finger on who it was or how I knew him. The more I kept looking at him trying to figure it out, the more I realized that he was doing the same thing to me. Now, for me not to be able to place a finger on how I know someone is unheard of. I might not remember someone’s name, but you can bet that I can remember how I know them, so this whole process was driving me nuts. When I finally got up to the register, we were still looking at each other and trying to place it. Finally, it clicked; it was my next door neighbor! I have seen this kid every day for over 4 years, but because he had his mask on, I couldn’t tell who it was.
It has been a year, right? I have heard the words “unprecedented” and “social distance” more times in the last 8 months than I have in 33 years combined. Also, if I had a dollar for every time I have said “Oh shoot, I forgot my mask”, I would be on a white sandy beach with a margarita. I have gotten used to elbow bumps, not shaking hands, and not standing next to people too closely. While we have all had to make changes in our personal and professional lives to accommodate for COVID-19, businesses owners have had their lives flipped upside down with all of the mandates that are provided on capacity, staffing, procedures, etc., but another thing that they have had to shift their mindset on, is advertising.
There are so many ways that business owners can advertise their business with digital advertising. They can utilize strategies on the more traditional side with product like Google Pay-Per-Clicks ads or Display Ads, or they can get a little more targeted with sophisticated products like Amazon Targeting and Mobile Conquesting. One of the more popular products that is out there is Mobile Conquesting, and there is good reason for it being as popular as it is. This is a product that allows for advertisers to reach consumers in multiple ways like Behavioral Targeting and targeting them with Online Behaviors and Offline Behaviors, Address Targeting, Geo-Fencing, and Cross Platform Targeting.
The first step with Mobile Conquesting is to determine the geographic area that you would like to reach. One of the great things about digital advertising is that it can go anywhere and you aren’t limited to the town or city that your business is located in. So if a business has started selling online, due to COVID-19 restrictions for in-store visitors, they might want to reach on a more regional or even national level. You can target by certain cities, zip codes, states, or even by a radius around a particular location. This is where it gets fun because you don’t want to target EVERYONE in that designated area, so the next step is to determine who we want to target by using Online Behaviors and Offline Behaviors. Targeting by Online Behaviors is where we are targeting people who have shown specific behaviors online, or are in a certain demographic. For example, Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1976), Discount Shoppers (people who shop at discount stores), Veterans and Military (people involved with Military forces at some point), and Young Professionals (working professionals under 35 years old). Offline Behaviors are targeting people by where they have been tracked with their phone recently such as a location, business, or specific brand name stores in the last 30-90 days. Some examples are Agricultural Construction, Animal Shelters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Holiday Inn. If someone is within that geographic target area and has shown specific behaviors or has been to certain locations, they now have the ability to see your ad.
One thing that I mentioned above for Offline Behaviors is that we are looking at people who have recently been to certain locations in the past 30-90 days. Now, I don’t know about you, but the past 30-90 days I haven’t ventured too far from the living room, kitchen, dining room, basement, or bedroom, so what good is it for advertisers to target people based on where they have recently been the last 30-90 days since people haven’t been able to go many places due to the pandemic?
Just like business owners have had to shift gears to navigate how to continue to run their business in this time, the Mobile Conquesting exchange has done the same thing and they have added new categories into the mix that are based around peoples activity during the pandemic. These categories were created to compare how people moved in January to mid-February 2020 compared to now, and then updated in real-time as things open up. The new categories are:
- Shelter-In-Place: High Movement: Comprised of individuals whose devices show that they are moving at or near pre-stay-at-home order activity levels. Indicates that users have been active, moving at near pre-shutdown visitation levels.
- Shelter-In-Place: Moderate Movement: Comprised of individuals whose devices show that their movement patterns are beginning to trend upward, approaching pre-stay-at-home order activity levels. Indicates that users are becoming more active, reemerging toward pre-shutdown visitation levels.
- Shelter-In-Place: Low Movement: Comprised of individuals whose devices show that they are moving at a substantially suppressed level relative to the pre-stay-at-home order time period. Indicates that these users are limiting their activity as much as possible.
So how can these new categories help business owners? Using these categories can help highlight portions of your business that are going to be attractive to consumers based on their movement history over the last few months. For example, targeting people who have high movement is a great way to let people know you are back to business and that you are open. These are people that are getting back a sense of normalcy and are looking to physically get back in stores, so you can use this as an opportunity to promote in-store specials.
If you are a business that has adopted curbside service, targeting people that have shown moderate movement is a great way to promote your that particular service. These are the people that are starting to show that their movement is increasing, so maybe they are looking to get back to shopping and eating out, but don’t necessarily want to physically go into stores. Curbside pickup at retail stores is a service and convenience that has surged during the pandemic, and it is likely here to stay, so even as things get back to normal, it is a great service to promote to let consumers know that it is something that you are offering.
For businesses that are offering delivery services, you are going to want to incorporate targeting people with low movement into your advertising. These are people that are not moving too much with their devices, so a service that they might interested in would be delivery. Pre-Covid-19, local businesses largely distinguished themselves through the value of their products and services. They may have offered delivery as an add-on service, but traditional, in-person service was likely a core tenet driving their operations. This is another example of how businesses have had to pivot to figure out an angle to keep business running as smoothly as possible under the circumstance. Just as with curbside service, delivery service is something that is on the rise with businesses and likely isn’t going anywhere. Some of the industries to really thrive during the pandemic with delivery services is not only restaurants, but also meal delivery services, and grocery delivery. People don’t want to go to the grocery store, so they are turning to having meals delivered to their house or their groceries delivered.
Another way to utilize the new categories that have been added to Mobile Conquesting is Cross Platform Targeting. By using this strategy, advertisers can still target people that have shown low movement, moderate movement, or high movement, but that same person can then see your ad while they are browsing online, across ALL their devices – not just their mobile phone, with a regular Display ad, Native ad, Video Pre-Roll ad, or while they are on Facebook and Instagram. The way that it works is you select your geographic area that you want to target, you select the behavioral targeting categories that you want to utilize, and then when someone is served that ad, whether the click on that or not, they then have the potential to see that same ad while they are on other websites or while they are on Facebook and/or Instagram. This is a great option because people might see an ad on their phone, and maybe they want to look at your dinner menu or they want to order groceries, but they are more likely to do that on a bigger device like a desktop or a laptop. With Cross Platform Targeting, that allows for that person to see that ad on their mobile device, but then also see it again on a larger device.
Here is an example of what a Mobile Conquesting Cross Device Platform to Facebook ad might look like. BJ’s Wholesale Club is targeting all the Shelter in Place categories and promoting their curbside pickup, ship to home option, and same day delivery services, and since that person was served an ad on his mobile device and they are using the Cross Platform targeting, he is now seeing that ad on his Facebook News Feed across any device he uses:
Being able to cater to consumers and allow them to do business with you in a way that they are most comfortable with is going to set you apart from your competitors, and using digital as a platform to get your message out to the targeted audience you want is a win/win situation for everyone.