Social Conversion Rates Climb During Covid-19

Covid-19 has changed the social media playbook, but brands who’ve been quick to adjust are seeing social conversion rates continuing to climb.

In an analysis of data pulled from more than 120 retail websites, the digital experience solutions company Episerver found that social conversion rates have increased steadily during Covid-19 shutdowns, from 1% in April 2019 to 1.2% in April 2020.

The Importance Of Marketing Localization During Times Of Disruption

In 2020, organization and transparency will be key for retail marketers. In the short term, retailers must identify and optimize existing technologies to stay afloat. In the longer term, the focus should be on evolving shopping behavior and enabling transformation through technology. Knowing that Q3 will be a critical quarter for retailers as Covid-19 lockdown policies begin to lift, retailers must plan their comebacks now, and that begins with a strong digital approach. 

Street Fight’s June Theme: Retail Recovery

As the country starts to re-open and recover (some places more quickly than others), we’ll shift our focus to cover specifically how that’s happening. And what better vertical to represent local business recovery than retail? It will be a leading indicator for several other local commerce verticals.

So we introduce our June editorial theme: Retail Recovery. The goal: to chronicle the steps local businesses are taking to reemerge from locked doors and empty streets. Who’s doing what, and what can we learn from them? By “them” we mean businesses and the tech providers that support them.

Covid-19: How Brands Can Adapt to a Shifting Landscape and Changing Consumer Behaviors

All generations, especially more technically adverse baby boomers and those older, have tried out delivery apps such as GrubHub or UberEats to get their favorite restaurant food delivered and grocery apps to have food and household items safely delivered. These newly formed habits may not be as intensive when we return to our “new normal,” but the depth and breadth of social media and digital usage will stay. Consumers aren’t going to uninstall Instacart after social distancing is lifted if they’re now accustomed to the convenience of ordering groceries online. That leap has been made, and while they may not use it every time they shop, consumers will continue to use it, when needed. 

With all these changes, it’s important for brands to shift their social media strategy to meet the demands of consumers and connect with them in the channels they now frequent more often. Here are some of the key shifts to keep in mind.

Location Data Companies Rise to the Challenge of Covid-19

The location data market has responded to many external pressures in recent years. Guided by new privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA as well as operating system updates by Apple and Android, the industry has put the consumer back at the center. The old days of capturing data and selling to ad tech firms without permission are over.

These shifts are good news for society. But they are also good news for the location industry, which has pivoted to thrive in this new world where squeezed supply impacts the quality of location data.

Now, Covid-19 has presented a new challenge, with movement data restricted to unprecedented levels. So, how are location data companies responding to the crisis?

Essential Business Foot Traffic: U.S. Grocery Store Trends

This article takes an up-close look at foot traffic to what may be the most critical of essential businesses: grocery stores. 

Grocery stores are crucial during the quarantine and will remain so as areas of the retail economy reopen and as we enter into a recovery period. According to the National Grocers Association, grocers are especially adept at making and executing contingency plans in the event a disaster strikes. This involves coordination with myriad producers, distributors, and wholesalers throughout the supply chain. It is no small task keeping eggs, milk, butter, and bread in stock and on the shelves of your local supermarket.

GMB Insights Reveal Pandemic Search Trends for Multi-Location Brands

Given the dominance of Google as a tool for local search, and given the fact that Google provides a richer set of search and engagement metrics for each of its business profiles than any other publisher, we thought it would be worthwhile to examine Google My Business data as an indicator of consumer search trends during the time of the pandemic.

The verticals that are booming in the pandemic period, with major gains in overall GMB activity, include pharmacies, banking and finance, hardware and home improvement, general retail, gas and convenience, and grocery. Those whose struggles are borne out by significant GMB activity decreases include restaurants and eateries, branded retail, and hotels and accommodations.

How Brick-and-Mortars Move Forward

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed brick-and-mortar business, possibly forever. Peter Paine, former eBay and Walmart executive and now head of retail partnerships in the Americas for Cover Genius, checked in with Street Fight to share the strategies physical businesses large and small should prioritize to prepare for the near- and long-term future.

Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Help You Through Covid-19

In the affiliate marketing ecosystem, brands partner with bloggers, influencers, publishers, even other brands to promote their products or services. By only paying for sales, leads, or new customers that their partners deliver, affiliate marketing allows brands to efficiently scale while optimizing their return on ad spend and cost per action (CPA).

Brands with creative and agile affiliate programs are the ones who will have loyal customers and partners long after this global crisis is over. With that in mind, here are some ways brands are adjusting their affiliate marketing strategies in the time of Covid-19.

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As States Reopen, Conversion Patterns Point to Early Programmatic Recovery

The data that Goodway Group uncovered suggests that some marketers have begun to increase spend and re-enter the programmatic marketplace. Additionally, when looking at the regional level, the Goodway Group’s Benjamin Diesbach and his team are seeing that CPMs in many of the hardest-hit states have bottomed out, and they are starting to move closer to previous levels.

The impact on certain states reopening is still being felt, and while medium-to-longer-term dynamics remain volatile, Diesbach is seeing early short-term signs of programmatic marketplace recovery.

Can Local Commerce and Tech Work From Home?

I’ve worked from a home office since 2002. Forced into it — and initially opposed due to unfamiliarity — I didn’t like the isolation. But after acclimating, I became more productive, happier, and healthier than in any previous office job. Now, 18 years later, I may never go back.

One question is if that same realization will sink into corporate ranks now forced to #WFH. Could adjusting to working from home be a silver lining for some industries? In being forced to try new ways of doing business, could we discover habits that work better than older conventions? How might this principle play out in local businesses?

Street Fight’s May Theme: Local Commerce’s Recovery Playbook

In our own reporting and analysis (and through the words of our contributors) this month, we’ll define the playbook for local re-entry. As business ramps back up, what will best practices be for local staples such as search marketing and reputation management?

We’ve already covered how businesses are digitizing to adapt to the challenges of commerce in a time of social distancing, embracing curbside pickup, social advertising, pop-up distribution centers, online classes, and retail tech. With an even longer-term view, we’ll examine how this period of uncertainty will shape the future of local commerce.

Beyond Store Visits: Better Objectives for Current Times

A more adaptive framework that allows campaigns to still operate with the hyper-locality of a Store Visits Objective campaign, but without the specific objective requirements, is timely and ideal for maintaining strategic flexibility. This framework can actually be replicated with other objectives, such as Conversions, Lead Generation, Video Views, or even Website Traffic, especially with specialized tools.

Developing campaigns across other objectives that utilize local pages and localized copy still provides the same local performance benefits as an SVO campaign, as well as the attribution models to ensure you can still prove ROAS. 

Amid Coronavirus, Are the Fraudsters Also Staying Home?

To date, the app industry has said little about the effects of coronavirus on fraud. With self-isolation enforced globally, and workers now adapting to the new world of working from home, we investigated whether the rate of ad fraud (and by proxy, the output of fraudsters) had been disrupted. Or are fraudsters themselves in the line of fire as they continue to operate both above the law and in close proximity with each other?

Rely on Empathy to Stop Second-Guessing Your Covid-19 Marketing Strategy

We have to recognize that — just like us — our customers are in a heightened state of stress and sensitivity. They’re likely to remember brands that get their messaging very wrong or very right during this historic period, and no one wants to be among the former. But we also have to remember that empathy in the face of daunting challenges is a proven business strategy — brands that deliver humanized experiences are twice as likely to outperform their competitor’s revenue growth.

AARP Launches Platform Empowering Neighbors to Assist Each Other during Pandemic

Built by the team at AARP Innovation Labs over the course of just a few weeks, the Community Connections mutual aid aggregation platform gives volunteers and people in need a place to connect. It features a searchable directory of local mutual aid organizations, which are typically informal groups that provide key daily services, such as picking up groceries and delivering medications to people who are at high risk for contracting Covid-19. People can access the platform to find volunteer groups nearby, with links to those groups’ websites and locator maps.

With Stimulus Funds Delayed, Small Businesses Digitize for Survival

Experts at helping SMBs adapt to a tech-first commercial landscape say the pandemic has led some businesses to tap into their long-dormant potential as digital marketers and sellers, possibly setting them up for gains in the aftermath of the recession. Now that e-commerce is the only path to survival, mom-and-pop shops, aided by martech firms, agencies, and Silicon Valley giants, are capitalizing on cutting-edge marketing and retail techniques, many for the first time.

Thousands, if not millions, of Main Street businesses will close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will be technologically savvier and sleeker than they were before.

Pop-Up Distribution Centers Overcome Last-Mile Delivery Challenges during Covid-19

Ecommerce has suddenly become the primary sales channel as a result of Covid-19, and retailers are having to find creative solutions to meet consumer demand for both essential and non-essential goods. With Amazon announcing delays in shipments of non-essential goods in the US and limits on the quantity of goods retailers can ship, the task of getting products to end users becomes even more difficult.

Supply chain issues also resulting from Covid-19 complicate things further, but merchants are still tasked with fulfilling orders on time. This means looking into non-traditional fulfillment methods that can provide flexible and cost-effective solutions to the issue at hand. For retailers struggling to find ways to cope with over-forecasted demand, below are some viable options.

What Search Behavior During Covid-19 Means for Healthcare Marketers

The headlines are everywhere. Open any newspaper, and you’ll see story after story about coronavirus and its impact on American society. But new data on consumer search behavior shows Covid-19 isn’t the only healthcare topic on people’s minds right now.

In an analysis of consumer search trends during the coronavirus pandemic, a team from the healthcare provider scheduling and search platform Kyruus found that search terms seemingly unrelated to Covid-19, such as “diabetes,” “cancer,” and “depression,” continue to rank more highly than those associated with the virus.

How to Move Your Classes or Programs Online – Tips for Small Businesses

A week before it ran several online classes, Practical Martial Arts didn’t have a video strategy or an online conferencing platform, and the couple was terrified about what the stay-at-home order meant for their beloved business, their customers, and their employees. But in a couple days they were able to pivot. And you can, too.

If you’re looking to offer online versions of your in-person business or are simply looking to connect online while we ride this out, below are some tips and resources to help you go virtual, too.