4 Ways To Adapt Your Ad Messaging and Digital Marketing During COVID-19

A Guide to Adapting Your Brands Ad Messaging & Digital Marketing To Connect with Customer During The Coronavirus

Over the last 14 years, we’ve worked with multiple clients across diverse business models and verticals and wanted to share what we are observing today. Myself and the team here at Liberty Interactive Marketing have kept in close contact with the ad platforms through weekly discussions on how the landscape is changing and how the conversations have shifted in the face of the novel coronavirus.

We’ve put together a guide to help with ideas on how your brand and organization can adapt its paid digital strategy no matter the vertical you’re in during this time.

In this post you’ll find:

  1. 4 Conversation Themes That Have Emerged Online
  2. 4 Ways You Can Adapt Your Messaging and Digital Marketing to Improve Your Bottom Line
  3. Ad Examples of How Brands Have Adapted Their Paid Digital Messaging
  4. Resources for Further Insights


Every great company’s brand pillars are rooted in something human so as people’s personal needs and lifestyles
are changing on a daily basis, think about how your brand can help manage those needs through this challenging time. In the United States, according to Facebook there are 4 MAIN TYPES OF CONVERSATIONS that have emerged online, people are looking online to:

A) Stay Informed

How can your brand inform—> think staying connected (friends/family, online meetups, FaceTime, chat) and communication (news, local, organizational, situational).

B) Stay Positive

How can your brand be positive —> through inspiration, motivation, focus, goal-setting and achieving.

C) Stay Healthy

How can your brand address staying healthy —> take your message outside of the obvious COVID-19 recommendations. Focus more on financial health/security and physical health (relaxation, calm, anti-stress).

D) Stay Occupied

How can your brand help people stay occupied—> recommendations on what to read, watch, cook, listen, set and keep moving towards their goals.

We recommend reviewing online messaging across all channels, organic and paid, and adapting it to fit within the above four topics while still being true to your brand voice. Go deeper and see if your product or service offering is genuinely rooted in any of these topics.

For instance, staying informed can be adapting/adjusting your service/product offering to help those stay connected. Staying informed can mean what is happening in and around consumers personal lives as it relates to family and friends. How can you help?


1. Acknowledge The Situation and Be Supportive

Advertisers who have acknowledged the situation and adjusted messaging in their creative are seeing positive results in both organic and paid platforms.

Being there NOW to support your customers will pay off in the near future. Brands that create affinity and an authentic connection with customers will survive. So, what do you do to help? Think of your target audience, who are they, what are they doing during this time? If your target audience has children between under two years old, help them by creating activities, online sing-a-longs, virtual story time, etc.

If your target audience is focused on a single goal like continuing education, create a Facebook group to provide support and bring your community together to encourage one another to stay motivated and focused, create dedicated study hours to check in and Q&A, study break virtual dance parties.

If you’re in the restaurant or travel industry, start a support group, provide resources to help bridge the gap on the subjects of finance and mental health along with a fundraiser.

When in doubt or searching for ideas, we encourage you to reach out and ask your customers and staff to share the types of messages they want to hear from you.

Align your messaging with your brand. Don’t repeat all the messages that are out there, find a message that is unique to your brand. Be helpful. Be a friend. Be a resource. In general, brands who make this an always-on strategy will easily adapt.

2. Retail Dollars Are Moving Online, Time to Delight and Bring Normalcy

As retailers adjust to unprecedented shifts in the market, there’s an opportunity to bring shoppers a sense of normalcy and to delight them online. People are turning to social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest for visual inspiration and to discover ideas that can help them adapt to their new reality.

On Pinterest just this past week, they experienced an all-time high around the world with more saves and searches on the platform than any other weekend in their history. Facebook’s video chat and video viewing has doubled in the United States over the last 30 days on Facebook platforms. What can your brand bring to the table to delight, inspire, motivate?

This week, for our e-commerce-only clients we’ve seen 8-17% increase in Reach while our clients with retail locations that
have closed have seen a 69% increase in Reach. CPM’s across the board are down between 10-30%. That means you can reach more people for less dollars. Which means it is a great time to grow your audiences and populate your retargeting lists to reach people now and also have an audience pipeline to come back to when things start to normalize.

3. Build The Bridge, Don’t Wait to Capture Data

For clients focused on lead generation and subscription signups, now is the time that people are out looking and searching. Get them into your funnel and utilize email and social to nurture them. Build your email list, it is an asset you can keep dipping back into. What can you offer to help people stay focused and occupied, a webinar, ebook/guide, virtual event/meetup, group support/chat or email series?

4. Generate Cash Flow Now

For e-commerce clients, we are seeing a lot of brands offering sales Sitewide and tiered offers (e.g. 15% off $150+ purchase), in the restaurant space (whether closed or offering pickup/delivery) consider gift card offers that you’d normally run during holiday like $20 for $40 or similar. Is there an operational decision that you can adjust to increase cash flow, like bundling or Buy 2 Get 1. Be strategic about discounting. If nothing else, go back to #1 (Be there) in this list for building brand equity.


In ad example from TruEarth, they are acknowledging the situation, relating to their customers anxiety and struggles and also offering a giveback with purchase. #winning

Barnes and Noble helps people stay occupied by offering a reading list, their language is appealing to the situation and their brand.

Here, thedopdot has created a visual that shows how their product can be used in all of these “new-reality” situations, staying positive through humor makes this a winning ad.

Promo uses their messaging to acknowledge the situation appealing to their target audience while staying positive and adding in visual humor and relevance.

Sundry Clothing stays on brand with a positive statement sending a little love while featuring new arrivals.

Sundry Clothing Facebook Advertising

In this ad by MyOpenFit, they also acknowledge the current situation while aligning their product offerings benefits.


Live Webinars

Pinterest – Inspiration Matters: How retailers are finding success with shoppers from Pinterest’s Global Head of Retail Strategy
Tuesday, April 7, 11am PT/2pm ET Register here>>

Facebook – Marketing in Uncertain Times: Responding to COVID-19 Register here>>
Wednesday, April 1st, 2:30p ET

11 Things You Must Adjust in Your Social Media During These Crazy Days By Convince & Convert Register here>>
Thursday, April 2nd, 2p ET


Global Survey of Consumer Sentiment During Coronavirus Crisis Read here.

Our friends over at Convince & Convert, a content marketing and social media strategy consultancy, have put together some timely briefings for generating leads and connecting with customers and prospects.

11 Ways to Win Webinars and Virtual Events
6 Ways to Boost Conversion Rate and Get More Leads Fast

Facebook Vertical Marketing Guides for COVID-19:
Ecommerce Advertisers (.pdf)
Restaurant Advertisers (.pdf)

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