Navigating your campaigns through COVID-19 with Display & Video 360

As communities respond to COVID-19, we know that this time presents unique challenges for businesses. Below are some considerations as you evaluate your ads and adapt to dynamic market conditions.

Understand how your customers needs are changing

Use Google Trends to explore what’s top of mind for your customers and adjust your campaigns to be more helpful. Learn how to use Google Trends to discover new insights and navigate disruptions to your business.

Constantly reassess

Your audience’s media consumption habits are rapidly changing and your typical media plan isn’t necessarily appropriate today. Because it’s directly connected to your media buying platform, the Display & Video 360 planning tool is a good resource to get an updated view of where your audience is shifting, effectively reassess your media plans, and quickly adjust your ad strategy to reach people where they are.

To assess if your ads are having the right type of impact on people’s perception of your brand and quickly adjust your campaign to better align with your marketing goals, consider setting up Brand Lift measurement. This free tool can help you easily optimize your YouTube and programmatic video campaigns against brand metrics such as ad recall, brand awareness, and consideration.

Rethink brand suitability

In the wake of COVID-19, virtually all content available online is either directly addressing this topic or somehow alluding to it. This creates an unprecedented brand safety challenge for marketers. To find the right approach for your brand, you may need to revise your prior brand suitability approach. Some guiding questions can be:

  • What content really presents unacceptable vs tolerable risks to my brand?
  • What content are my customers currently consuming?
  • How will my customers feel to see my brand in that context?

All brands are impacted very differently and there is no perfect playbook for times like these. The “Tragedy” sensitive category in Display & Video 360 allows you to avoid serving ads on tragic content without completely avoiding all COVID-19 associations. It’s a great way to protect your brand from the riskiest cases while still supporting your trusted news partners and not severely limiting your ability to reach your audience. Use the "Infectious Diseases" category exclusion as a last resort if your brand has very high sensitivities to any sort of COVID-19 content. This control will prevent you from serving ads on a significant amount of inventory, including major news publishers.

In any case, we recommend using classifier-based solutions, which are more dynamic and less laborious to manage than site or keyword exclusions.  In particular, we also suggest removing COVID-19 negative keywords from your campaigns, as they will significantly impact news publishers' revenue and their ability to fund the essential reporting that people need today.

Finally, if you are using third-party verification services, save time by using bulk tag wrapping to add tag wrappers to many creatives at once.

Design relevant ad experiences

  • Consider your context and tone. Make sure you’re sensitive to how certain words may make your audience feel. Be careful about the double meanings of words like “protection,” “checkup,” “prevention,” or “virus”.
  • Consider if your message is helpful. For example, edit your ads as needed to let customers know if you offer services like delivery or in-store pick up. Review shipping settings and estimated delivery time to ensure you accurately reflect current capabilities. 
  • Review assets thoroughly. For example, think about the appropriateness of images and videos that show large gatherings of people or human interaction. Consider the tone of your headlines, descriptions, and landing pages.

Consider using Display & Video 360’s high impact formats to quickly adapt your creatives to the rapidly evolving context with a few simple assets and minimal production. Make sure to check out the Ad Format Gallery for a complete view of engaging ad experiences that are easy to build. With Ad Canvas, our visual workflow for dynamic ad creation, you can even tailor the look and feel of an ad based on specific signals such as dates and time or geography. For example, with Ad Canvas, you could show ads with digital only call to action in cities where your stores are closed due to stay at home orders.

The Ad Canvas lets you quickly build data-driven creatives at scale.

Respond to real-time changes in auction dynamics

Automated bid strategies can help you save time and more effectively react to data volatility and sudden changes in performance.

Maintain productivity while working remotely

  • Ensure campaigns have guaranteed delivery. Make Programmatic Guaranteed deals part of your media mix to benefit from one setup and no mid flight optimization required so you can more flexibly reallocate your time.
  • Reduce time spent investigating issues. Get assistance from Display & Video 360’s Intelligence panel to quickly see what’s wrong with your ad campaigns and how to fix.

Learn new skills

As we adjust to new ways of working, online education can play a part in helping us develop new skills.

  • Skillshop. Use this self-paced course to become proficient in Display & Video 360 and prepare for the certification or broaden your skill set by learning about other Google Marketing Platforms products. And since we’ve seen increased demand for educational content in the past few weeks, we’ve launched five new intermediate training paths.
  • Google Marketing Platform Academy. Get the most out of Google Marketing Platform thanks to this livestream series guided by our team of product experts.

Finally in times that present unique challenges for your business, Display & Video 360 certified partners have your back to alleviate workloads if you need extra time.

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