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April 1, 2020

3 Steps To Handling Facebook Ads During COVID-19

By Tony Christensen
3 Steps To Better Facebook Ads During COVID-19

One of the first gut-check reactions when facing a business crisis is to just hit the pause button and evaluate what’s going on around us. As businesses are shifting to a completely different mode of operation we totally understand the hesitation. Which is why we wanted to offer insight into next steps with your advertising. 

Are you unsure how to handle your Facebook ads during the COVID-19 epidemic? Not clear on whether you should turn your ads off, reduce your spend, or advertise even more?

We’re breaking down the three key steps to turning your Facebook Ad campaigns around during an uncertain time.

“Should I Be Running Facebook Ads?”

If you’re in a good position to run ads? What does that mean? Can you maintain operations and afford the ad budget? If those answers are yes, then you should definitely be advertising.Why?

Out of a quick survey of media buyers, 52% of buyers were either turning all of their ads off for clients or reducing their advertising spend. Because of this, there is less competition currently on the platforms. Running ads will cost less since fewer advertisers are spending money.

Secondly, more people are at home and going out to shop less. People are spending more time on their phones scrolling through social media. Thus, there is more advertising “real estate” available. The cost of running ads will be less with more people spending time on the platform.

These costs will gradually increase with time, so if you have the money to advertise now, we highly recommend it.

Where should you start, and what’s the right way to run advertisements during a pandemic? There are three simple steps to help answer that question.

#1: Audit All Of Your Active Advertising Campaigns

The worst thing you can do right now is run Facebook ads that are tone-deaf with the current situation. You MUST look through each of your ads running and determine if they can stay active or should be paused.

We’ve seen major brands skipping over this is a step and it can have damaging effects, so go through all of your ads as soon as you can. 

Pro-tip: If you have too many ads running to look at individually, just turn them off. It’s time to rethink your entire strategy!

With uncertain times, emotions are high. People are stressed and could be dealing with all sorts of issues stemming from COVID-19. Think about those affected when reviewing each of your ads and be sure it has a message that can still resonate, or simply turn off your ads.

Once you’ve taken the time to do a proper audit, you’re ready to move on to step two.

#2: Analyze How People Are Leveraging Social Media NOW

There isn’t one business or person who hasn’t been affected by the Coronavirus. The sentiment is strong, so you have to take that into consideration.

To analyze how your audience is feeling, look at what they are posting about. Quickly going through your News Feed, what do you see?

Overall there are a lot of updates to the status of the epidemic. 

On the negative side, you might see:

  • People talking about how it has impacted their lives negatively.

  • People showing how empty their grocery stores are of essential items.

  • Statistics of the virus and how rampant it has been.

  • Events getting cancelled.

  • Stores closing temporarily or permanently.

  • People being bored at home since they are not able to go out.

We can’t ignore the negative effects the virus has had on people, but we should also look for the good and the unusual that is happening now.

Sprinkled in your timeline you may have also seen:

  • People singing from their balconies while quarantined.

  • More people working from home and posting photos of their unusual office setups.

  • People sharing how certain businesses have changed to pick up only and are thriving.

  • People are going on Facebook and Instagram live more and sharing things they are working on.

  • Families spending more time together.

  • Friends doing virtual meetups to play games and catch up.

  • Companies offering free courses and products to students and people who are now at home instead of at school or work.

You’ll want to take all of this into consideration when creating your advertising plan. Speak to their pain points and to what is bringing them joy right now.

#3: Create A Plan That Grabs Attention And Makes People Love Your Brand Even More.

Looking at our previous analysis you can see that:

  • There’s a lot of negative news being shared.

  • More people are “stuck” at home and bored, so they are spending more time on their phones.

  • Family and friends are getting together virtually to spend time together.

  • Some businesses are thriving, others are clearly hurting.

Knowing this, we can start to generate different ideas for potential advertising campaigns.

Campaign Idea 1: Add Positivity To People’s Lives

Since there is a lot of negative news being shared, your business could focus on sharing positive stories happening in the world and in your community. 

Go live or create videos talking about how people and businesses are overcoming adversity and give others inspiration they need right now. Be the positive light in your community and show that you genuinely care for them.

Campaign Idea 2: Entertain And Build Brand Awareness

If people are bored at home, give them something entertaining or educational. 

Can you make funny videos that relate to your brand? 

A tire shop in Australia created a comical video that showed how they were practicing social distancing. That video now has over 3 million views! People loved the video because it lightened their moods and provided a much needed laugh. With the cost of advertising being so low, you can create a video like this and then build brand awareness with your targeted audience.

Campaign Idea 3: Educate People And Grow Your Email List

For the educational side, is there a guide or offer you can give to people to help them learn more about your industry? 

Package up your most popular blog post as a download and run a campaign to grow your email list. Most people have more time on their hands since they are not going out. Provide them with resources to grow and learn more about the topics they’ve shown interest in.

Campaign Idea 4: Integrate Your Product With Virtual Hangouts

Since more people are staying at home, can you think of ways to integrate your product/services with virtual hangouts that are happening?

We’ve seen:

  • Musicians going live and having concerts that accept donations.

  • Alcohol brands creating video ads of friends coming together virtually and cheersing each other with the brand’s products.

  • Card games being played with friends and family over video calls.

  • Brands creating free backgrounds for people to have as their Zoom meeting backgrounds.

If possible, can your brand make a pivot to integrate with virtual hangouts? You could create an advertising campaign that highlights people using your products/services and having fun while bonding together.

People are looking for more ways to entertain themselves at home. You can give them more suggestions to help.

Campaign Idea 5: Working From Home + Your Product

One of the joys of working from home is being able to join a meeting looking professional on top, but wearing sweats and being cozy from the waist down.

With more people now being forced to work from home, can your product make them feel more relaxed and comfortable? You may be able to find ways of highlighting your product and how it can help people relax while working from home. (Think cozy socks, sweats, blankets and other essential items people may need.)

Campaign Idea 6: Be The Guide Or Resource

Your business could easily create a blog post or landing page that highlights resources available for small businesses and people during this time.

Social Media Examiner gathered marketing industry leaders to discuss “Marketing In Times Of Uncertainty” where each expert gave advice and practical steps to help out business owners with their marketing campaigns.

We created a blog on “Online Marketing During Crisis Situations” that details marketing do’s and don’ts during our current situation. 

You can create your own industry specific guide with examples of how people are adapting and pivoting their businesses to see success. 

If you don’t want to dive deep into an industry guide, think about creating a resource page that highlights different programs companies are offering, such as Google announcing free ad grants to small businesses or Facebook creating a new small business grants program.

Creating guides and resources for others makes them fall in love with your brand even more. Be a leader in your industry and community. 

These are just a few helpful ideas you can leverage to create advertising campaigns. Look for opportunities out there to stand out and to make a positive impact on the community.

To wrap it all up...

With these three steps, you have the power to pivot your advertising campaigns and to adapt for the betterment of the community and your business.

Remember to start by auditing all of your current ads that are running. Don’t be tone-deaf to the current events. Then analyze how people are using social platforms and the sentiment they have. Once you understand the situation, look for ways you can improve people’s lives and truly care for your community. Expand your reach and impact with the power of advertising.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

You can make a difference to people’s lives right now. So show up for your community, your customers and other businesses that need your help.


Which campaign idea do you like the most? How are you going to adapt your campaigns to the current situation? What examples of pivots have you seen companies take? 

Let us know in the comments below.



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Tags: social media training, Social Media Marketing, social media management, Facebook Ads


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