Spend or Pause: Ad Buy Covid-19 Analysis

Amidst all the ambiguity and uncertainty that has been going on with the Coronavirus pandemic, one of the major questions we have been asked by clients is whether or not to continue digital ad spend or to pause instead. When it comes to campaigns on AdWords, Facebook or Instagram Ads, the decision to spend or pause comes down to identifying opportunities.

As we’ve helped our clients in an array of industries navigate these uncertain times, we’ve seen many of their competitors act quickly to pause their spending. This happened almost all at once, like a mass knee jerk reaction when the news of COVID-19, grounded flights and the effect on the global markets hit headlines.

While the initial panic was not unfounded, we continued to monitor trends and quickly saw that what this did was effectively clear the playing field for anyone savvy enough to keep their digital ads going through the crisis. The unique circumstances created a perfect combination of opportunities for advertisers.

Higher Social Media Usage

With more users at home socially distancing, social media usage shot up. Forbes reported that a study of 25,000 consumers across 30 markets revealed a social media engagement increase of 61% over normal usage rates; Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp messaging increased 50% in countries hit hardest by the virus and a 15-20% increase in posts from 18 million users.

Cost-Per-Click During the Pandemic

Meanwhile, because of the mass panic that caused companies to pull back on ads, demand for ppc ads went down, thus driving the cost-per-click down. An increase in social media usage paired with a decrease in cost-per-click has been the perfect recipe for the opportunity for many agile marketing campaigns and for many of our own clients. Cost-per-conversions have also gone down, giving those still choosing to invest in digital advertising better results and more bang for their buck.

Opportunities for E-Commerce

One major sector that can take advantage of this is e-commerce. With more consumers stuck at home and not willing or able to purchase goods in person, online sales have come center stage. Brick and mortars took a hit but companies who have online sales funnels now have a major advantage. We’ve seen an increase in ROI for companies that have doubled down on their digital ad spend for online sales.

Some e-commerce trends and stats that have been compiled by industry experts are:

  • Beauty products have seen a 64.57% surge in sales since March
  • A 66.51% month over month increase in toy and game shipments
  • Fitness product sales have increased due to the stay-at-home mandates – 112.23% month over month

Since payroll protection was issued, we’ve seen a sharp uptick in business to business activity with many companies ready to get back on the horse and jump start their new campaigns. E-commerce has also seen a jump in sales now that stimulus checks have been disbursed.


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Adjustments in Ad Content and Messaging 

We’ve seen an adjustment in messaging and visual ad content from forward-thinking companies. In many cases, Q1 and Q2 may have been planned ahead of time with traditionally seasonal agendas, but we’ve advised our clients to take the circumstances into account, helping them pivot quickly by formulating new content and messaging that reflects the current state of affairs. Some of the most relevant ad content being used now across social, display and other platforms includes themes that keep audiences informed on how companies are implementing new safety measures. Messaging regarding new operating hours, closures, charitable initiatives as well as imagery of products that serve more at-home usage are what’s currently connecting and producing the most ROI for businesses investing in digital ad spend. For example, apparel companies have taken the approach of switching their regularly scheduled streetwear ad images featuring models wearing clothes meant to go out and changing them to more loungey, at-home looks and scenery instead to match the current buying climate.

Who should pause ad buy:

If your business model has been completely disrupted by social distancing, we believe this trend will continue. In this case we would suggest pausing all non-profitable media buys until the business has been re-engineered for the current environment. Unfortunately this applies to many service based businesses. We have helped numerous clients take the necessary steps to adjust in the current environment by focusing on home front assets and optimizing their business for COVID-19.

Who should continue to spend on ads:

For the majority of our other clients, our observation has been that while these are unprecedented and precarious times, taking advantage of low competition in the digital ad space could position a business for a strong bounceback if spending continues on the right platforms.

It’s important to first assess your business situation to identify any opportunities in the current market, revisit your strategies and make campaign configurations accordingly. Once you’ve identified the campaign configurations that get you the best results, you’ll be able to build on this and make campaign expansions. This way your business will be able to scale the winning strategy for the long haul. Our approach has been to continually refine campaigns over time, helping our long term clients get better and better results the longer we run their campaigns.

If there are areas in a businesses’ digital campaigns where spend should be tightened to increase ROI during these times, we have found that any budgets that are freed up often make the biggest impact when invested in onsite adjustments.

Conclusion 

At the end of the day, whether a business should spend or pause depends on their business model and industry. In many instances, there’s plenty to take advantage of given the low competition in the ad buy space. But if a business, such as many of those in the service industry, finds its entire business model completely upended by social distancing, it is necessary to take a step back, pause all non-profitable spending and focus on new approaches. We have been doing just this for our clients, applying a careful, case-by-case analysis and implementing the right optimization strategies to see our clients through these uncertain times.

Google Announces Mobile-First Indexing Across the Entire Web by September 2020

At the top of March 2020, Google announced that by September of this year, it will have made the switch to mobile-first indexing for all websites across the web. The gradual movement towards mobile-first indexing has been taking place for a few years now, dating back as far as November 2016 when Google first announced they would be experimenting with making the index mobile first. By 2017, it began evaluating sites for readiness and notifications to site owners about the mobile-first indexing moves began in 2018. Since then, updates and announcements have continued, with Google’s smartphone Googlebot continuously crawling the web.

Google’s aim has always been to continue improving the interactions between users and online content and they’ve acknowledged the successful work webmasters have done to facilitate the transition from desktop to mobile-first indexing. They’ve stated that a majority of the sites that are shown in search results – about 70% –  have already made the shift and are ready for mobile-first indexing. In the meantime, as more and more sites make the switch, Google’s smartphone bots will be continuing to crawl the web, moving sites to mobile-first indexing when it is detected that they are ready.

As a full-stack marketing agency, we’ve monitored all of Google’s updates and guidelines closely, keeping our clients abreast of any and all changes. We’ve worked on making many of our clients’ websites responsive over the years and implemented changes that have kept them ahead of the quickly evolving requirements.

With the switch being made official, that means it’s more important now than ever for webmasters and content creators to check for mobile-first indexing. One way Google has cited is to use their Search Console to check the status. This is one of the many ways we help our clients assess their website’s capacity for mobile. We inspect individual URL’s and review information about Google’s indexed version of any specific page. We also identify structured data errors, AMP errors and indexing issues and formulate a plan to correct these.

Our team checks the status of a URL’s index, inspect live URLs, request indexing for URLs and view rendered versions of the pages to help us better understand the status of a clients’ site. We also take a look at a loaded resource list and JavaScript output, among other information.

Google’s Recommended Optimization Guidelines for Mobile-First Indexing

Google has recommended users stick to these guidelines when implementing mobile-first indexing optimization:

  1. Content such as images, links, text and videos should be the same from desktop to mobile.
  2. Metadata such as robots meta tags, titles, alternative text and descriptions on mobile should match what’s on desktop.
  3. If the website was recently launched or redesigned, Google recommends users carry out checks in regards to content and metadata.
  4. Allow Google to crawl your resources. Some resources feature different URLs on the mobile site and the desktop site. Be sure you’re not blocking the URL with the disallow directive if you want Google to crawl your URLs.

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In addition to these guidelines, Google also encourages the use of responsive web design for new websites and discourages the use of mobile URLs, sometimes known as m-dot, due to various issues and confusion these URLs have created for both search engines and users.

Our team has been helping clients optimize their sites for mobile for years. If you’re in need of making the switch or aren’t sure about your site’s readiness for the transition, contact us to help you evaluate your site and get your site ready if need be.

How is AMP going to affect SEO and Mobile Optimized Content?

Earlier this year Google released their much anticipated, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, allowing for mobile pages to load almost instantly. The reason for its creation is that users tend to close out mobile pages that take more than a few seconds to load, AMP allows for these mobile pages to load faster by changing their format. According to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, “AMP is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.”

AMP is divided into three sections- AMP HTML, AMP JavaScript and AMP Content Delivery Network. AMP HTML has been redesigned to include custom AMP properties. AMP JS transforms anything that comes from an external resource asynchronous, therefore nothing can be blocked from loading. AMP CDN lets anything from JS files to images “load from the same origin”, this allows for the fastest delivery. Alterations on these mobile components allows for increased speeds, although AMP versions of pages will show less design, they speed up loading times, allowing pages to open in half a second, rather than 3 seconds. This may seem minuscule, but to most mobile users, having to wait 3 seconds or more leads to them closing out the page and moving on to the next one.

Pages that are using AMP are currently the top search results on Google. Although AMP is currently only seen in the News carousel in Google, it may soon become an SEO ranking factor. Even if not an SEO ranking factor, it is affecting the results on Google, pushing organic search results down. This means that if you’re not using AMP, your page is going to decrease in clicks and user engagement. Although AMP isn’t currently an SEO ranking factor, mobile-page friendliness is, so if you’re not ready to join the AMP-wagon keep in mind factors such as headlines, your hero image and first 100 words, when making mobile content. Something to keep in mind is that according to Google, “more than 50% of searches globally happen on mobile.”

iAnalyst Announces Expansion to Orlando with New Internet Marketing Office Opening January 2017

internet marketing agency orlando

iAnalyst, a leading Miami based Internet marketing agency, has announced their business expansion to the Orlando market with an office scheduled to open January 2017. This expansion will allow iAnalyst to customize their innovative approach to Internet Marketing, SEO, PPC, App & Website Development for the Orlando and Central Florida market.

This announcement comes within 60 days of their acquisition of Oregon based Response Logic. “This has been a very exciting year for iAnalyst and we have full expectations to continue growth in 2017. With our CMO Randy Jarrin spearheading the Orlando expansion I have full confidence it will be another successful endeavor for us.” said Wes Cowan, President of iAnalyst.

“We are thrilled to be moving forward with this expansion,” said Randy Jarrin, the CMO, who will lead the new office. In addition to their new office, iAnalyst will be releasing a new SAAS software platform according to Mr. Jarrin. “Though we are not releasing details publicly at this point, we believe it will be a game changer & continue to fuel our aggressive growth.”
iAnalyst has become an industry leader over the last 6 years and continues to maintain full in-house support to focus on high quality Internet marketing services to its clients and agency partners. Wes Cowan, President of iAnalyst, is looking forward to the new expansion and explained ”Opening a new office will bring some tough challenges along the way, but I know Randy has the experience to make it succeed.” With the new office around the corner and their new software platform in the wake, there are several projects to look forward to as this dynamic agency continues to grow.

Benefits of WordPress for: Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Website Development

At iAnalyst we are proud to offer web development, search engine optimization (SEO) & overall internet marketing for WordPress sites, along with marketing for all other platforms & code sets. Though WordPress has become the leading content system management (CMS) and rightfully so. WordPress is the perfect marketing tool to expose your company to a larger audience. Since its creation in 2003, WordPress has become one the most popular blogging websites. WordPress has since expanded to be used as a full content management system (CMS) operated by numerous developers with over 76 million sites. With a variety of features, WordPress has become the best platform used by web developers.

Usability
One of the main reasons why WordPress has become so popular is simply because it is easy to use. Adding images, posting blogs, and formatting text can be done quickly and efficiently with limited HTML software. WordPress can be accessed from any computer as long as it has internet access and a browser. The flexibility of WordPress allows the developer to constantly update information in an organized and timely manner. Since the technology is so simple and easy to learn, it will save you valuable time that can be spent elsewhere.

Personalization
Just because this CMS is simple and user-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean it will give you generic end result; in fact, the platform allows for in-depth customization. WordPress gives the user the opportunity to personalize designs to fit their brand. If you choose to, you can have one theme throughout the entire website, or you can have multiple layouts for different pages. This will give your website a unique look that will keep visitors engaged.

Mobile-Friendly Capability
With the overall spike use of mobile devices over the past few years, it is more important than ever for a website to be mobile friendly. Customers will constantly attempt to access your website through mobile devices, so it is crucial for your website to be mobile friendly; not to mention Google’s updates and penalizations for websites not yet optimized for mobile use. WordPress offers this accommodation by recognizing if a visitor is viewing the webpage from a computer or a mobile device to adjust the way the content is viewed. This provides an advantage over having to create a completely different website exclusively for mobile customers.

Complete Control
Another major advantage in using WordPress is that you will have complete control of your entire webpage. With this, you also have the ability to assign certain capabilities to different users for the website. For example, you can limit certain users to specific titles such as editor, author, contributor, and subscriber, which ensures that you will have the control of everything on your webpage. No one will have the ability to change information that you don’t approve of.

Plugins
A major factor that has made WordPress so popular over the years is the availability of plugins. There are thousands of plugins that have already been created to increase the efficiency of web pages. Plugins allow for greater interactions between the administrator and the users, while making the website easier to manage. Plugins can range from ensuring the security of the webpage to adding a FAQs page to the website. Whatever additional feature you need, there is likely a plugin available for it.

WordPress is the most reliable CSM used to create websites and with good reason. The flexibility of WordPress accounts for a wide range of skills in web developing, so whether you’re an experienced developer or a beginner, WordPress is the perfect CMS to use.