On January 14th, 2020, a Washington state resident became the first person in the US with a confirmed case of COVID-19. By February, the entire world was on edge, as a public health emergency was declared in the US, and 9800 cases of the virus had been confirmed worldwide. By March, the entire world went home.
Although there was tremendous fear and uncertainty, there was still some optimism from those of us working in the advertising world. “We’ll get over this quickly, and we’ll certainly be back in the office in a few weeks,” we told ourselves. Of course, that didn’t happen, and in the world of advertising, it was devastating. Brands simply stopped advertising. Advertising dried up on every single channel as advertisers took a “wait and see” attitude as they tried to figure out next steps.
Then, we realized that the world was still functioning, but in a different way. We’re all working from home, and businesses are still functioning. But the advertising landscape has dramatically changed.
Adapting to the New Landscape
Travel and hospitality companies faced especially steep challenges during the pandemic, but many have found a way to survive. While some businesses folded, others adapted; some saw new demand and were able to continue, and even thrived. Besides the now obvious successes of Zoom and Amazon, therapeutic sock company Sockwell saw sales of its scientifically-designed compression socks surge. This was because many healthcare workers were putting in extra shifts to deal with the pandemic, and fitness fans were turning to running in the absence of gyms. Since Sockwell knew their compression socks help people stay on their feet and feel better after long days, Sockwell turned to Quantcast to take advantage of the market opportunity by identifying new audiences. As a result, Quantcast has helped drive up to 75% of Sockwell’s weekly online sales.
Consumers and businesses alike were forced to massively change their behaviors in 2020 and into 2021. Financial institutions in particular have had to adapt quickly to meet their customers’ needs during the pandemic. TD Bank, one of Canada’s largest financial institutions and among the top 10 in North America, wanted to give its customers “the confidence to thrive in a changing world,” so anticipating and responding rapidly to their changing expectations was a top priority. Through the Quantcast Platform and the use of our behavioral data and market data, we were able to help TD Bank understand key changes in consumer behavior and get ahead of the trends we were seeing. Specifically, there was a spike during the early days of the pandemic in the number of prospective customers who were looking for information on how to trade online. With the help of Quantcast, TD Bank was able to capitalize on the rising demand for investment products and assist their prospects and customers with their online trading platform.
Helping Our Customers During the Pandemic
The old “adapt or die” adage certainly applies to companies in this new era we’re in. At Quantast, we’ve helped our customers adapt by assisting them with their message, their campaign, and their ad placements, so that they can know and grow their audiences and get the right message to the right audience at the right time.
Here are our top 3 learnings that helped us and our customers over the last year and a half:
- We’ve been empathetic. We’ve listened to what kept them up at night, and acknowledged their concerns about everything from brand marketing to employee mental health. We didn’t chase them for dollars. By listening to what they really needed, we adapted to them. For example, we worked with Australian Life Tech (ALT), the largest digital at-home fitness and nutrition company, to get a deep understanding of their business, what their value drivers are, and what they wanted to achieve beyond a customer acquisition cost. By understanding ALT’s needs, we were able to provide critical strategic insights, whether it was into their business, their customers, their competitors, or the market. ALT partnered with Quantcast to work with 28 by Sam Wood, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, to discover net new users and lower Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) by 54%.
- We have the right platform at the right time. Our intelligent audience platform looks at the real-time data signals coming in from 100 million diverse online destinations. Because of this unique data, the platform helps brands understand the interests and engagement of current and potential audiences. The pandemic forced everyone to do much more online, accelerating a digital transformation. We helped our customers adjust their messaging to render their content appropriate and authentic. As an example, Domino’s partnered with Quantcast to improve their Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) with more focused display campaigns. Quantcast helped Domino’s identify high-value customers to drive the desired results and improve its messaging to be more relevant to their audience. Domino’s leveraged Quantcast’s first-party, real-time data to better understand their customers’ behavior online and used its machine learning engine to find and engage with more potential customers who were browsing takeout dining options. The result was a 2284% ROAS based on the campaign that ran last year.
- We helped our customers pivot. For our customer Lancôme, that meant pivoting from in-person interactive events for skincare products to hosting their first-ever mega virtual event. With a newly-created microsite set up to host the event, it was critical that Lancôme first build awareness in the pre-launch phase. Lancôme and Quantcast developed a dual-pronged strategy to 1) reach new users interested in beauty and skincare products, and 2) retarget existing Lancôme brand site visitors. By leveraging Quantcast’s Search Powered Audience solutions, Lancôme was able to identify these potential customers, delivering attention-grabbing teaser videos that successfully drove them to the microsite. The result was a 6.2% uplift in brand and product awareness, over 9600 site visits to the virtual flagship event, and a cost per visit that was 21% below Lancôme’s goal.
Resiliency and Agility Are Key
If this pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the world is constantly in flux. To survive in an increasingly unpredictable world, it’s important to be both resilient and agile. That means embracing digital platforms and focusing on leveraging unique audience insights that can fuel more customized messaging, ad campaigns, and content. By reaching consumers where they are in an authentic way, brands can create long-term consumer value and maintain a competitive advantage that can withstand the next crisis. We are humbled and honored to continue that journey with them.