Crisis communication

Data from 20 major B2B companies is crystal clear – audiences still consume content during a crisis

By 31st March 2020 No Comments

Today we are in the midst of a global pandemic. This poses a tough question for the communications industry: How should we communicate now? There is uncertainty about what will be perceived as “corporate bullshit”, and even whether people are interested in consuming any content at all that comes from businesses.

Together with the digital distribution agency Trickle, Spoon have therefore tried to deliver some facts on the subject. By analyzing 734 million impressions, 15 million clicks, and 166 million video views on Facebook, we’ve come to a stark conclusion: the pandemic has had no negative effect on audiences’ propensity to engage in corporate content. On the contrary, it seems that engagement has increased in the last month. Moreover, it seems that the cost of reaching out has dramatically fallen.

In our analysis, we looked at data from 20 of our largest customers. Customers that deliver products in vehicles, logistics, manufacturing, B2B e-commerce and the public sector. Together, they have target markets all over the world. In the analysis, we have compared March 2020 with the last 12 months.

Good impact for video ads and link entries

To assess how user engagement has been affected, we’ve looked at five different parameters:

  • CPM (Cost per 1000 impressions)
  • CPC (Cost per click)
  • CPV (Cost per video view)
  • CTR (Clicks/Impressions)
  • View rate (Video views/exposure)

One of the metrics we studied was CTR – that is, the percentage of times when an ad was shown that someone clicked on it. In 32 of the 34 European countries we have analyzed, CTR is higher in March 2020 than the average for the last 12 months.

Furthermore, in the majority of countries, the rate has actually increased by over 60%. Video views are just below average but remain within the framework of what we would call normal fluctuations. In other words, the public is still receptive to link posts as well as video ads.

Cheaper to reach out

At the same time, we see that the cost of impressions, clicks and video views has fallen sharply in the last month. This also applies to several markets outside Europe. So what is the reason for this? We have a few explanations:

The first is that demand for advertising space has fallen sharply. There may be several reasons for this. One is that the wide-ranging cost savings being made at companies right now mean that marketing budgets have been put on hold. Another might be that many marketing departments are unsure of how to handle the situation and choose to be quiet, rather than risk provoking a disgruntled response from their audience. It is most likely a combination that is reducing demand.

Another explanation is that the supply is increasing. While it’s hard to get any specific data out of Facebook, the overall picture is that people are more likely than usual to turn to social media and digital platforms. This can either be to stay more up to date or because people are on the lookout for digital entertainment more when they are stuck at home on the couch.

This push and pull effect means that the cost of 1000 ad impressions (CPM) has generally fallen by 12%. The CPC – cost per click – has fallen by over 40% in the majority of European countries.

Our conclusions are also supported by this article from the Verge.

Our advice: Continue building brand

So how do you act now? After all, there seems to be a sale on ad space. Is it stupid not to take advantage of it? On the other hand, of course, as a company, you should not profit from the misery and social crisis.

Our view is that brand building is always relevant. Times of crisis is no exception. As always, your communication should be guided by three main pillars: Humility, transparency and authenticity. If times are tough for your business right now, talk about it! If you have done something good to help curb the spread of infection, talk about it! If your company can help in areas where the need naturally increases in a crisis, talk about it! The audience is still there, so you should be there too.

And, as a little PS. We can also say that you should not be afraid to use your platforms and your position to inform your audience about coronavirus and how to stop it from spreading. It is encouraging to see the UN offering an open brief and global call to all creatives to use it – including marketing agencies and communications departments. The UN believes that by offering communication on how to slow down the virus, companies are not using the situation to their advantage. Rather, it is about using one’s voice and platform for a greater purpose. Read the full brief here.