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4 Strategies to Adapt Your Ad Measurement During Challenging Times

Coronavirus is affecting the routines and habits of people and how businesses serve those communities around the world, changing everything from the day-to-day lives of individuals to global supply chains. Among the many areas impacted are businesses’ media spends and strategies: Some 89% of advertisers say they have taken action with their budgets in response to COVID-19; with 45% saying they have adjusted media type usage or shifted budget among media types.


As businesses seek to navigate this difficult time, adapt media strategies and determine which marketing activities are most worthwhile, gaining an accurate understanding of ad performance is more important than ever.

However, a key issue marketers and strategists face when making these adjustments is that many current behaviors depart from the norm. For example, in the US and UK, Gen Z, Gen X and baby boomers all say they’re spending more time checking social media due to concerns around COVID-19 (27%, 29% and 15% more, respectively).2

These shifts in consumer habits may not extend past the current environment, and so it’s important for businesses to evaluate their measurement strategies to ensure that they are gaining a true understanding of the impact of today’s conditions while not developing an inaccurate view of long-term behavior.

What are some key measurement best practices to follow in unusual situations?

Below, we briefly cover four strategies for understanding advertising performance during extraordinary circumstances. In our guide, Adapting Your Ad Measurement Strategy for COVID-19 Impact, we explore each in more detail and provide additional resources to help businesses explore the potential effects of different measurement decisions in this time.

1. Simplify your strategy

Evaluating your measurement strategy to adapt to today’s conditions does not mean you need to abandon your existing measurement approaches. Rather than changing course completely, consider simplifying your strategy to focus on using your organization’s current key sources of truth. This will enable you to more quickly understand shifts and make media optimizations.

2. Re-evaluate tests designed to inform future decisions

With the profound changes happening to people’s day-to-day lives, media performance is often unusual. So, when looking at insights from tests conducted during this time, consider the extent to which current conditions are impacting results. Some findings and best practices may still be able to be generalized and used to inform future business decisions while others may only be applicable now.

3. Use A/B and multi-cell testing to optimize quickly

To gain a better understanding of today’s behaviors, consider running quick A/B and multi-cell tests (A/B tests with a holdout). Through measurement and learning, you can assess the impact of making adjustments in areas like audience targeting and creative presentation. This will enable you to rapidly adapt your ads, undertake changes with greater confidence and optimize your strategy for the current environment.

4. Consider impact by industry and marketing conditions

Different industries are facing starkly different realities during this time, with some seeing increased demand and others seeing dramatic drops. Moreover, advertising conditions vary widely by geography and customer base. This means there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Ultimately, the right measurement strategy will have to be tailored to your specific goals, customers and marketing conditions.

What it means for marketers

  1. Take a step back and look at your strategy.

    Evaluating your measurement approaches now will enable you to understand the costs and benefits of different testing strategies and better understand which marketing activities are most worthwhile to your business.

  2. Consider today’s conditions when looking at results.

    COVID-19 is impacting everything from consumers’ media habits to ad delivery systems. When looking at insights from tests conducted during this time, consider whether they will be applicable to future behavior.

  3. Be nimble and assess your specific marketing conditions.

    Current conditions vary widely by vertical, product/service and market. Consider running quick A/B and multi-cell tests to understand the unique realities your business is facing and the impact of strategy changes.


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