We’ve all been inundated with the speculation surrounding the looming recession. But, is the economic doom-and-gloom a self-fulfilling prophecy, an unavoidable fact, or merely hype? Regardless of where the economy moves, the uncertainty is palpable. And during unstable times, we feel the shifts in priorities for both customers and brands as both groups navigate this economic ambiguity.
For some CPG brands, knee-jerk reactions to inflation anxiety include pulling or drastically reducing advertising spend. It feels like a safe way to control budget when unsure of consumer behavior. However, when referencing historical case studies, during times of uncertainty, reductions to marketing budget can be more hurtful than helpful in the long term.
Finding ways to make advertising dollars be more impactful and efficient is a critical step. There are digital ad tactics that you can skip when budgets are shifting and there are solutions to prioritize.
Where to Cut
There’s no time like a pending economic downturn to reassess current advertising tactics! Sounds tongue in cheek, but with ad spend at recent historic highs, now is the time to review results and comb through your KPIs. Some tactics may not have generated the optimal return on ad spend, so trimming the fat to focus on the best-performing channels should be the priority.
There may be a time when awareness is king, and targeting broad audiences across multiple advertising channels is worth your while. However, when budgets are in flux, a “spray and pray” approach is a tactic to avoid when marketers need to know precisely how dollars are being spent.
When budgets shift, proof of sales becomes a more critical metric. Awareness dollars may be better spent on activities like driving purchase intent and sales. Pausing to realign your desired KPIs and advertising campaign outcomes will help ensure optimization toward the correct, shared goals.
Because budgets are facing more scrutiny, it is becoming more important to deploy ads to find the right audiences. Of course, this is every advertiser’s challenge, but eliminating contextless ads is one step honing targeting to make the most of each dollar spent. As we move toward a cookieless world, the simplicity of targeting the right person at the right time has become more complex; eliminating spend in channels where targeting is less contextual is worth strong consideration.
Ad Solutions to Prioritize
So, where should a brand marketer consider allocating valuable advertising dollars during times of economic uncertainty? One method is to examine context-driven ad solutions. These types of ads allow advertisers to reach consumers where and when they are most likely to purchase.
For example, there are many CPG brands looking to get in front of grocery-minded consumers. A context-driven ad will give CPG brands a more targeted audience of consumers with demonstrated interest in their category without using cookies. That’s a win for refining target audience and future-proofing any digital marketing strategy when cookies become obsolete.
Similarly, digital advertisers should also look to shoppable ad solutions as a meaningful spend strategy. Shoppable ads offer consumers a place to take action when online and in-market. The ability to capture a consumer’s attention with an easy transaction method is invaluable when shoppers are increasingly careful with spending and family budgets. This tactic also enables a better way of measuring ROAS, providing a clear understanding of ad performance outcomes.
Shoppable ads can take a variety of forms. One shoppable ad platform, AdAdapted, offers CPG and BevAlc brands a shopping list marketing solution that showcases shoppable ads to consumers allowing them to add promoted products directly to their digital grocery list or e-cart. The one-click tap doesn’t remove consumers from their browsing experience while also capturing the intent of those shoppers as they multi-task. With ROAS easily tracked via this method and ads showing to highly relevant audiences, AdAdapted offers CPG advertisers a lot of bang for their buck regardless of the economic situation.
Most important to consider, after a brand lands on a digital advertising tactic that delivers results, ensure consistency, regardless of the economic news. A stop-and-start advertising strategy can only hurt brands, even in an inflated environment. Staying informed of strategic recession-proof tactics with assure brands make it through unscathed in any economic scenario.
Stay the course!
Today's economic uncertainty is certainly nothing new to brands, regardless of how unmoored it makes everyone feel. However, we can take some comfort from past studies that indicate continuing to invest money in brand advertising during tumultuous economic times can only help in the long run. Trust that the tide will turn, and dedication to maintaining brand visibility with connected consumers will prove worthwhile. Committing to building brand trust and consistent messaging are two ways to weather any economic storm!