Coronavirus and Mobile Advertising: CPMs, Sensitivity, Geographic Comparisons

The Covid-19 crisis is a challenging time for all industries, but for mobile marketers it poses a paradoxical challenge. On the one hand, people are on their phones and engaging with media as much as ever. On the other hand, the economic downturn is putting a strain on marketing budgets, employees are working from home, and messaging during a public health crisis requires unusual sensitivity.

Brian Bowman, CEO of social marketing and user acquisition firm Customer Acquisition, provided Street Fight his takes on the current state of the mobile ad market, where it’s headed in the coming weeks, and how advertisers can approach their work with consideration for the difficulty of these times.

Street Fight’s April Theme: Local Commerce in the Time of Coronavirus

We’ll devote coverage this month to the virus’ continued outbreak and its effect on local business. Of course, the airwaves and ether are already filled with pandemic coverage, and we won’t look to compete with that. Rather, we’ll be writing specifically about the crisis’ impact on local commerce, marketing, and related subjects.

In fact, we’ve already gotten started. Our March theme of reputation management barely got off the ground before we and many of our contributors came to the realization that it didn’t really feel right to talk about anything other than Covid-19. Don’t worry, we’ll give reputation management an encore performance later in the year.

An Overlooked Audience for Digital Marketers: E-Sports Fans

The most obvious way to date to engage with e-sports audiences has been through sponsorships. In a move that took the advertising world by surprise, Louis Vuitton (LVMH) partnered with Riot Games to sponsor the League of Legends World Championship trophy gear, just as it does for the FIFA World Cup and Australian Open. Coca-Cola, Intel, Mountain Dew, Comcast, Airbus and Red Bull are front and center at esports events. Major brands are clearly on board.

But what if you’re not a Fortune 500 with millions of dollars to spend on sponsorships? Just like the “meat-sports,” the Overwatch League canceled its in-person games (or “homestands”) for March and April and moved to online matches, the same way League of Legends has. And that hasn’t made a dent in its value for advertisers. And what if you, like many today who are seeing all these event cancellations, don’t want to waste dollars on unseen impressions?  

It’s time to look in your pocket — the mobile device.

This Startup Is Helping Local Stores ID Customers During COVID-19

Chatbots are helping resolve customer service issues when businesses are closed and call centers are slammed, but brick-and-mortar stores are still struggling to adapt to an online-only business format. Pure play ecommerce outlets have spent years developing systems to manage transactions and verify customer identities, but most retailers on Main Street are accustomed to seeing shoppers in person and visually checking IDs.

A San Francisco-based startup called Persona is offering to help those local businesses adapt by giving away its online ID verification service for free during the COVID-19 crisis.

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Accurate Location Data Can Save Hassles and Even Lives

Updating your location data management information to reflect new hours, store closures, different contact information or special announcements is important for business success in general. In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining accurate location data can actually have vital consequences for public health.

Yet a BrandMuscle study found that less than 60% of local business owners had even claimed their online business listings, which can lead to confusion about whether businesses are open or not. 

Location Weekly: Using Location Data to Track Covid-19

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Turkish firm Elektral developing vending machine for masks, wipes, and disinfectants; UNL raising $2M for smart address system; Wuhan bringing its famous Cherry Blossoms online; and Israeli startup Noveto bringing “smart audio bubbles” to digital signage. The episode also features a special discussion on using location data to track the virus.

Google’s SameSite Update and the Third-Party Cookie-Free Future

The end of the third-party cookie forces marketers to take earning consumer consent for data collection more seriously, and it will open up new methods of data collection, some directly devised by Google and others by the many companies in its ecosystem. These new methods of data collection will aim to clarify the impact of ads and allow for pertinent advertising (or targeting) with consumers’ more clearly stated consent.

To obtain an insider’s perspective on marketing tech’s reaction to Google’s SameSite update and the industry’s path forward, I got in touch with Brian Silver, president of email marketing firm LiveIntent.

Brandify Launches Covid-19 Updates Page

We are not the only ones helping businesses with online communication at this critical time, and businesses themselves need to know the latest so they can craft flexible and responsive strategies. With that in mind, we’ve decided to publish our tracking sheet on changes to local business marketing channels as a new webpage called “COVID-19 Local Search Updates,” live on our website today. We will keep it up to date, and we hope you’ll find it useful.

E-Commerce Booms While Hospitality, Restaurants Suffer Amid Covid-19 Concerns

Early trends in consumer coronavirus behavior indicate that the already fast-growing e-commerce sector may see an added boost over the next few months as people avoid in-door shopping to practice social distancing during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Media and marketing services firm ENGINE is conducting 1,000-person online surveys of representative samples of US consumers every few days to gauge changes in consumer sentiment and behavior as the quickly accelerating outbreak develops. The firm found that while 31% of consumers said they were increasing their online shopping in surveys conducted March 13-15 and 16-17, 42% said the same March 20-22, a 35% increase.

Brands Struggle to Keep Up When Promotions Explode in Popularity

When the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich was released last summer, the effect on sales was almost immediate. Customers filled Popeyes locations and waited in long lines to get a taste of the buzzy new sandwich. A Twitter feud between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A caused those lines to grow even longer, and the viral frenzy ended up draining the supply of “little chickens” to the point where a nationwide shortage ensued.

For GSD&M, the agency that handles Popeyes’ social media, the rollout was initially seen as a huge success. From a logistical perspective, though, it quickly turned into a nightmare as Popeyes struggled to keep up with demand.

Womply, FundRocket Launch SMB Stimulus Program

While Congress continues to deliberate on a stimulus package that will provide as much as $400 billion in aid and loans for small businesses, tech companies that serve SMBs are stepping in to offer their own assistance packages. Among them is reputation management, CRM, and email software firm Womply, which has launched an SMB stimulus program in collaboration with its capital partner, FundRocket. 

Location Leaders Step Up to the Plate

During the Covid-19 outbreak, we’re seeing tech companies step up to the plate in a mixture of altruistic and opportunistic moves. That’s everything from Comcast removing data caps to Amazon removing its paywall for streaming kids shows. But what about local specifically? Again, that’s where businesses are getting hit most.

We’ve seen moves in the local space over the past week from Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare. Though there are several others, we’ll drill down on this representative sample. We’ll also give a shoutout to Google for its work to free up human and compute resources for local listings updates, covered Monday by Damian Rollison.

Beyond the Data Label: The Next Phase of Data Assessment

This past summer, the IAB Tech Lab launched a much-needed transparency initiative in the form of its Data Transparency Standard, establishing baseline statistics on the objective attributes of a given data segment, such as refresh cadence, ID types, and segmentation criteria. The Data Label should be a big relief to data buyers, including agencies and advertisers, that are trying to wrap their heads around audiences, but it’s still only the starting point when it comes to assessing digital audiences. 

For as much as the Data Label injects transparency into audience construction, it only addresses objective attributes, and not the qualitative aspects of the data segment. To get the most value out of their data investments, advertisers and agencies need to go further and develop their own standards for evaluating data, especially when it comes to quality.

Loyalty in the Time of “Near Me” Searches, Omnichannel, and Covid-19

In addition to the opportunities and challenges that come with an omni-channel commercial ecosystem, 2020 brings to businesses the challenge of mobile search, which leads people on the go to search for “X near me” and pick the closest possible option. The new year also brought, as hardly anyone would’ve predicted months ago, an impending recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I caught up with Nicole Amsler, vice president of marketing at loyalty tech firm Formation.ai, to garner her insights on loyalty strategy this year.

4 Mobile and Location Trends for Brands to Keep an Eye On

Believe it or not, this is the smartphone’s third decade. When it comes to mobile apps and location-based marketing, so much has changed since the advent of the iPhone in 2007.

While it’s hard to predict what will become of mobile and location-based media in the next 10 years, it’s fair to prognosticate what we can expect for the rest of this year and beyond. Here are four mobile and location trends brand marketers need to watch.

Google Disables Reviews and Q&A, Yelp Announces New Features Amid Outbreak

Important announcements were posted Friday by Google and Yelp as part of the effort to contend with coronavirus and its impact on businesses.

Google has published a new help page titled “Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19.” Before diving into the details in the announcement, I’ll mention the most important headline. Due to a rapid reorganization of priorities, Google has determined that at this time, they will disable the ability to leave new reviews, reply to reviews, and post new Question and Answer content.

These Chatbots Are Helping Brands Respond to Covid-19 Queries

Chatbots could help fill the gap in business-to-customer communication capacity during the Covid-19 outbreak. Although there will always be a need for human customer service agents, even when chatbots with AI are deployed, the coronavirus outbreak is demonstrating just how valuable this automated technology can be for brands working in a time of crisis. Already, chatbot companies like LivePerson say they’re seeing significant increases in volume on their platforms. As the pandemic widens, even more companies are likely to start integrating chatbots into their customer service systems.

Here are six chatbot solutions that brands can start using right away.

Location Weekly: Google Partners with Burberry on AR Shopping, Amazon Delivers Covid-19 Tests

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Amazon delivering Covid-19 test kits to residents in Seattle, Wirecard partnering with Klarna, Signify releasing “snap-in” IoT sensors for luminaries, Burberry partnering with Google for AR shopping, Cibo Express bringing Amazon cashierless tech to airports, and Wingstop shifting OOH budget to hoodies.

Local Advertising in the Time of Social Distancing

Many of us are facing a reality in which #QuarantineLife is the new normal — at least for the foreseeable future. Even with offices temporarily shutting their doors and the worldwide workforce moving to a remote-based culture, the tools provided by local social advertising can help businesses, perhaps especially those dealing with store closures, drive their goals forward.

Heard on the Street, Episode 47: Header Bidding and Rapid Growth, with Freestar

As ad tech continues to advance and programmatic becomes de rigueur, you’d think managing advertising would be easier for publishers. But in some ways, it’s gotten more difficult for publishers to monetize content and optimize ad placement through complex tech stacks while focusing on their primary function: content.

This is where Freestar comes in. As we heard from company president Kurt Donnell on the latest episode of Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast (listen above), Freestar frees up publishers to do what they do best while it takes care of ad monetization, especially through its speciality, header bidding.