The world as we know it has changed and it’s anybody’s guess how the situation will shape up in the months and years to come.
As we’re wading into uncharted territory and trying to process the implications the global pandemic has on our lives, many, if not all of us, are asking, “How will I get through this?”
Brands are asking themselves the same question.
Many of them are not strangers to crisis management, but nothing could have prepared them for a global pandemic of this magnitude. They now have to rewrite their playbooks and evolve their strategies in real-time in order to stay relevant to their users.
A recent survey we ran shows that the majority of marketers are using this time to evaluate their spending and make adjustments to their marketing strategies.
But times of uncertainty also provide clarity. While companies are re-assessing their user acquisition budgets, we’re seeing a lot of companies now putting more focus on retention and brand awareness instead.
Companies who were quick to respond shifted their main business focus in order to stay relevant and retain their users. For example, ridesharing companies repurposing their platforms for food and medicine delivery to answer growing demand.
Brands can really make a difference in how they’re perceived by their users and open new possibilities for growth by adapting to the ‘new normal’.
Here are five marketing must-dos you can implement to successfully navigate your brand during this challenging period:
1. Communicate proactively
Shift your messaging to what is truly important to your users and approach them with empathy and understanding.
Brands are communicating more these days but there’s a fine line between being heard and creating unwanted noise. As our lives transition to digital at an even faster pace and we’re restricted to working from home, we find ourselves craving more information and increasingly feel the need to stay connected.
This is a major challenge for brands as they need to update their messaging and content at a rapid pace and adjust it to their global audiences as the situation evolves.
So what can you do? Start by leveraging existing touchpoints through owned media and let your users know how you are coping with the situation by updating your app and website with relevant content. Offer help, guidance, and show empathy. Share vital information about how the pandemic is affecting your business so that users are not left wondering about the actions you are taking.
2. Lean on data you can trust
Analyze and respond to the emerging trends in user behavior.
The ongoing pandemic has forced millions of people around the world to adapt to a new reality and change their day-to-day routines. As a result, people use their phones for multiple activities and are exploring new apps.
The impact of the pandemic is also being reflected in how users interact with apps – they spend more time on social apps and consume more news while almost completely abandoning sports and travel apps.
Advertisers need to think on their feet in order to maintain marketing efficiency. Now, is the time to apply the full force of your attribution data and uncover where your marketing excels and make sure that your ad spend is generating the highest ROI.
Make sure to rely on marketing data at your disposal.
For example, use segmentation tools to create cohort reports showing how specific segments of your users behave over time and create highly-targeted retargeting campaigns by utilizing raw data.
3. Focus on retention
Reinforce your relationship with existing users through relevant and meaningful experiences.
User retention is on every marketer’s mind these days. Acquisition of new customers is very challenging for most businesses under normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic.
Brands need to plan for sustainable growth in the post-corona era and their most reliable way to get there is by investing in their existing users.
Acquiring new users costs 5 to 10 times more than selling to a current user, and current users spend 67% more on average than those who are new to your app.
Understandably, customer retention is influenced by the customer experience, and there are many things that brands can do to improve it – e.g., offering free shipping and no-cost trials, extending return policies, providing cheer-up promotions, delivering within 24 hours, etc.
What is certain is that the fundamentals that should inform any approach marketers take must start with a genuine understanding of how users think and feel during this period.
People will remember how they were treated during these times, and it’s completely in the marketer’s hands to determine the outcome of that.
4. Build an effective remarketing strategy
Utilize all your user attributes and additional data points to create granular segments and reach users in the right way.
Since you started reading this article, not much has changed. There are still millions of people sitting at home with more time to spare, ready and able to receive your messaging. But in order to get their attention, you need to engage in relevant and meaningful conversations with your users.
To successfully achieve more precise messaging for each segment group of users, you should segment specific audiences with as much granularity as possible, incorporating more detail from their user-attributes and engagement behavior. Why is this critical? Put simply, our data shows that being able to retarget with precision can almost double retention rates (figure below), and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Segmenting audiences to retarget with granularity requires that your arsenal includes tools that build different segments based on actual usage and granular event-attributes. These tools should be robust enough to leverage integrations across the stack while providing simplicity that enables one person to manage a full campaign.
As can be seen above, shopping companies have been quick to adopt retargeting in their marketing mix and the results speak for themselves.
5. Double down on engagement
Retain users by creating seamless cross-platform experiences.
The digital experience you provide is more important than it’s ever been – both now and once all this is over. As brands shift more of their activity to digital to meet growing demand, the number of communication channels with users and the frequency they’re being used also grows.
So channels funneling to apps – such as email, web, social, and SMS – all play a crucial part in the user journey and just as critical is the need to ensure a smooth transition between all digital channels and apps.
To avoid friction, be more supportive of user needs by streamlining user experience.
For example: include deep links to ease the flow to your apps, especially to change orders and process refunds. This will enable users to self-serve and get what they need faster and more conveniently, no matter where their journey begins.
Conclusion: don’t stop marketing.
This is a period of radical change. Many businesses are pausing or pulling back marketing and advertising expenditures due to the crisis. While this is understandable, marketers should look at the present moment as an opportunity and think long-term. Businesses need to take a creative approach, provide value to their clients and keep their messaging consistent in order to come out strong from this crisis.
At AppsFlyer, we want to help marketers to achieve these goals. We are continually working on providing more insights and value to our clients through our platform; we’ll be releasing new features soon, so stay tuned and most importantly, stay safe!