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, we know that a knee-jerk reaction to inflation anxiety is to pull or drastically reduce advertising spend. It feels like a safe way to control your budget when unsure of your consumers’ behavior. However, what we know from historical case studies, is that during times of uncertainty, reductions to your product marketing budget can end up hurting your brand in the long term.
This post hopes to help you consider ways to make your advertising dollars work more impactfully, helping you strategize on digital ad tactics that you can skip when budgets are shifting and where to prioritize your advertising funds. We hope to help you find that certainty amidst the unpredictability, so let’s dive in!
There’s no time like a pending economic downturn to reassess your current advertising tactics! Sounds tongue in cheek, but with ad spend at recent historic highs, now is the time to jump into your 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 your 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 shelve when marketers need to know how dollars are being spent.
When budgets shift, proof of sales becomes a more critical metric. Marketers may better spend a product awareness budget on instead driving purchase intent and sales. So pausing to realign your desired KPIs and advertising campaign outcomes will help ensure your team is optimizing toward the correct, shared goals.
Because budgets are facing more scrutiny, you want to establish that your ads find the right audiences. Of course, this is every advertiser’s challenge, but eliminating contextless ads is one step to honing your 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 for your product has become more complex, so eliminating spend in channels where targeting is less contextual is worth strong consideration.
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, you may be looking to get in front of grocery-minded consumers as a CPG brand. A context-driven ad will give your product a more targeted audience who has demonstrated interest without using cookies. That’s a win for refining your audience and future-proofing your 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 your ideal 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 to a brand 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. At AdAdapted, we offer 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.
Once you’ve landed on a digital advertising tactic that delivers results, ensure you remain consistent, regardless of the economic news. A stop-and-start advertising strategy can only hurt brands, even in an inflated environment. So, persevere! Your advertising homework will help assure your brand makes it through unscathed in any economic scenario.
Today's economic uncertainty is certainly nothing new to brands, regardless of how unmoored it makes us feel. However, we can take some comfort from past studies that indicate that continuing to invest money in your brand advertising during tumultuous economic times can only help you in the long run. Trust that the tide will turn, and your dedication to maintaining your brand's visibility with connected consumers will serve you well. Committing to building brand trust and consistent messaging are two ways to weather any economic storm!