The Facebook & Instagram Ad Playbook During Coronavirus


Facebook released its Q1 2020 performance and there are some important takeaways that should impact and inform how you approach your Facebook and Instagram ads in the coming weeks. The platform reported healthy YoY growth largely driven by ad sales despite the impact of coronavirus. In the release, Facebook noted that as a result of COVID-19, the costs of Facebook ads took a significant decline in the last three weeks of March and have remained low since.


In the midst of the declining ad costs, society at large has become increasingly reliant on social media to stay connected both personally and professionally. Likely as a result of this, Facebook has seen its active user base grow to a record-breaking 2.6 billion monthly active users.



How can you leverage these lower ad costs and growing user base to gain leads and conversions for your business? We’ve put together this Facebook & Instagram ads playbook to help you do just that. 


Play #1: Extend Campaigns


Review times for new ads are through the roof. Facebook addressed this in a statement saying that reduced staffing during the pandemic is increasing their reliance on automated systems to review ads. So if you have ads that are performing well, keep them rolling. Editing ads or creating new ones will take longer than usual and could cost you valuable time. 

Facebook’s Director of Product Management Rob Leathern, shared his advice on Twitter:


If you have a successful campaign that is still relevant and timely given the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, consider extending it. Continue to consider if your messaging/creative is appropriate as we make our way through the season. In some cases you may have to turn off or edit ads so they don’t come across as tone deaf.


Play #2: Gather Leads


What if you just don’t have a way to adapt your offering to this climate? If you’re a travel company, in the hospitality industry, or otherwise find yourself with a greatly reduced capacity to provide viable products or services during the pandemic — shift your goals from conversions to gathering leads. We will come out of this. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. 


Spend this season gathering leads and warming them through drip email campaigns, targeted ads, and brand awareness efforts. As we move forward, this larger audience will already be well through your sales funnel and warmed towards conversion.


Play #3: Push Brand Awareness


More people are spending their time online than ever before. Verizon reports a 20% week over week increase in internet usage. With people looking for more ways to entertain themselves and pass the time you have a more captive audience than before.


With more people online and a decrease in competition, your CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, is likely to decrease. This is a great opportunity to capture more reach from your budget on Facebook and Instagram for brand awareness campaigns. If you’re in an industry that is struggling with sales during the pandemic, staying top of mind will increase your chances of conversion during coronavirus and after the market rebounds.


Play #5: Go Live


For small businesses and local businesses that are hurting, connecting with your audience is key right now. On Facebook and Instagram, live videos receive 3x higher engagement than pre-recorded videos and can move your customer base closer to conversions. 


As many are facing shelter-in-place and social distancing isolation, live videos present a connection point that includes some face-to-face interaction that people are missing. It’s not perfect, but it’s a powerful way to reach out while we’re experiencing separation. Host a digital trivia night, answer questions live, offer online check-ins, webinars, online demos, and keep your audiences up to date with your evolving response to the pandemic.


Play #6: Increase Your Retargeting Efforts


Retargeting ads are key to marketing success in most climates but are vital during this pandemic. We’re seeing market trends of increased purchase hesitation for non-essential items. If it’s not groceries, something that saves your audience money, or something that makes your audience money, you’re going to need more touches than usual to move someone towards a purchase.


Drive new potential leads and sales by testing engagement custom audiences. This tool allows you to target users who have engaged with your content across Facebook and Instagram so you remarket to users who have liked, commented on, shared, or interacted with your Facebook or Instagram business pages. You can also target users who have watched your videos, or filled out a lead form. These users are already ripe with information about your business and your offerings. They’re more likely to make a purchase than a user who has never engaged with your brand. 

If you have any questions about how to leverage the strengths of this platform to connect with your ideal audience and grow your business, get in touch with us. We’re always happy to help.