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On-Demand Webinar – COVID-19 and Digital Advertising: How to Think and Act Now

David Oltean | May 12, 2020 | Digital Advertising, Webinars

Climb Marketing’s digital advertising team held a webinar on Thursday, May 7th titled “COVID-19 and Digital Advertising: How to Think and Act Now.” We’ve added an on-demand video of the webinar and a text transcription below. This presentation can help you to:

  • Consider major challenges and changes for B2B digital advertisers as a result of COVID-19
  • Understand recent B2B website traffic and conversion trends
  • Understand recent trends in CPC and advertising spend
  • Revise your advertising messaging and strategy to reflect the current climate
  • Explore potential strategies for digital advertising channels and platforms
  • Hear some great questions and answers on this topic

Text Transcription:

Jeremy Lopatin:

I’m Jeremy Lopatin. I’m the President of Climb Marketing, and I’d like to welcome all of you today for what is our first free webinar, COVID-19 & Digital Advertising, How to Think and Act Now. Thank you all so much for making the time to share this time with us and come together on this topic. Our days are scrambled and compressed and there’s lots of distractions, so I really appreciate you making the time.

Obviously, the marketing world is very different than it was just a couple months ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has left practically all parts of the marketing world very different. And it’s left a lot of marketers uncertain about what they should be doing to respond. I want to say we don’t profess to have all the answers, right? I mean, we’re a small digital marketing agency. We have a bevy of clients in the B2B space, and we sort of know what we experience and what our clients are experiencing and what we read.

But we thought it might be useful or helpful to put together a session like the one today just to share what we’re seeing. Let other marketers kind of have a peek at our perspective and thought it might be useful for folks just to compare notes on what’s happening and in this case, specifically with digital advertising. Just to get an outside opinion and perspective about specific activities that people might need to be considering, or just what sort of outlook we as digital marketers should have in the advertising space.

Just a couple of housekeeping points. I know David’s been sharing some of this in the background in the chat. This webinar is being recorded. We’re going to do our best to publish this to our blog with the transcript and any questions that we don’t get to at the end of the webinar. We are going to save about 15 minutes for questions at the end. But if there’s more questions than we can handle, we’ll address those in the blog post that we post with the recording.

So, I think we can proceed. As I mentioned, I’m Jeremy Lopatin. I’m the President of Climb Marketing. I founded Climb as the culmination of my career in digital which started in entrepreneurial pursuits, in house marketing, freelancing, agency experiences, and all of that. Climb is sort of the culmination of all of those experiences. Admittedly SEO is my first love, but digital advertising is pretty great too. And we’re really excited to get into that today. I’m based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but I’m joined by two of our Nashville team members today, Robbie Bolog and Riley Duncan. I’ll let them introduce themselves.

Robbie Bolog:

Thanks, Jeremy. I’m Robbie Bolog. That photo looks nothing like me currently because I haven’t a haircut in two months. Thank you, COVID-19. But as Jeremy mentioned, I am based in Nashville, Tennessee these days. I’m a former Michigander born and raised just south of Ann Arbor. So Michigan will always stay close to my heart.

But I have about going on a decade of digital marketing experience at this point. I’ve, contrary to Jeremy, the bulk of my experience has been within digital advertising. So, I really cut my teeth early on managing paid search accounts for clients and have expanded that advertising knowledge out to paid social, some video platforms, and display as well. So, I really touched a lot of the various digital ad platforms out there at this point. So, I’m really excited to get into this and also have my colleague, Riley, also joining us. Riley, you want to introduce yourself?

Riley Duncan:

Thanks, Robbie. I’m Riley Duncan. I’m a Digital Advertising Strategist at Climb. I’m a native Nashvillian, one of the few anymore. And so I’ve been working in digital advertising specifically for about four or five years. Though going back to my time in college, have definitely done a lot of other online marketing activities as well.

In my role at Climb, I manage campaigns strategy and execution for a lot of our clients. So a lot of my day to day is going to be actually in the platforms with Google Ads, with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and doing some of those behind the scenes things as well as still keeping the bigger picture in mind of what the clients’ goals are. And how we can really achieve the best performance for all of our clients.

Jeremy Lopatin:

So as I mentioned, Climb Marketing is a small digital marketing and lead generation agency. We’re based here in Ann Arbor. We were founded in 2014. But we have team members in Nashville. We also have team in Berlin, Germany. Our core competencies, this isn’t the totality of everything that we engage in. But the core of what we do is digital advertising across a spectrum of formats and environments. Search is a particularly big area of our focus, social, display, video, etc. Search Engine Optimization is another big area where we play. Content marketing and strategy, obviously are important complement to those channels. Web analytics and measurement are also pivotal in the digital space and something that we specialize in. And then we do in addition to managing campaigns and providing retainer services to clients, we also do coaching and training.

Robbie Bolog:

All right, so we’re going to get started into the actual webinar presentation. We thought it’d be useful to just sort of level set with everybody and show you some data, some trends that we’ve seen over the past two months, and give you an insight into, from our perspective, how COVID-19 has affected clients in the B2B space.

We’ll start off first by looking at overall traffic. I’m sure we’re all probably glancing at Google Analytics on occasion these days to keep tabs on this. But this is an average across five of our largest B2B clients. We felt this was a good sample of potentially what’s happening across a lot of companies right now. But I just wanted to give a big caveat that we are, as I mentioned, B2B focused. We work with clients across a very wide range of industries. And so it’s not fair to say what we see here would be reflective of what you’re seeing particularly if you’re a B2C marketer, the expectations are going to be completely different probably for your target audience.

But for B2B, we definitely generally see a surge in traffic in Q1. Historically, that’s been one of the more active times of the year, companies get new budgets for the year and they’re out there active and searching related topics. But this year, we saw a really strong February, and then the definite impact of COVID-19 is obvious there that first two weeks of March. And that really has carried through the end of March, we’ve seen a slight rebound in traffic into April here. We’ll see in some other metrics later on that we’ve also seen a rebound in engagement.

But in general, a big decline as COVID-19 really ramped up across the United States, organic search and paid search were hit sort of most heavily. And we feel that search is the most objective view or the best way to get an objective view of the pulse of the industry. So if search traffic is down, search volume is down. That’s just indicative of fewer people out there actually conducting searches, right? That sort of makes sense as people’s lives were completely disrupted, and we’re all sort of adjusting to this new normal.

Conversely, we saw a very large increase in proportion of social month over month. Social for B2B is not generally as large of a channel for traffic. But the increase there sort of makes sense. As we all know, we’re spending probably a little more time on social media these days now that we’re staying at home. And so we’ve seen that reflected across all of our B2B clientele as well. And as we get into this, today, we’re going to present some suggestions and recommendations to maybe meet those audience where they are now on social.

The second data point we looked at were conversions. In our world, conversions to us generally referred to bottom line metrics, contact form submissions, court requests, or direct sales inquiries through websites or phone calls over 60 seconds. Those are the three types of interactions we generally focus on with most of our clients. We sort of hold our marketing campaigns, analyze the performance of them through that lens through conversions. And so not too dissimilar to the traffic trends we just saw in that previous slide, conversions certainly started to decline the first week of March.

But as I mentioned, we have seen slight rebounds the beginning of April and through the end of the month. I think that’s partly due to people sort of adjusting to this new normal, right? We all have sort of been forced to move along and figure out what our day to day is going to look like. Those of us who are still working are trying to do the best job we can from home and sort of getting out there and getting back to work. And that’s sort of reflected in some of the conversion metrics that we’re seeing.

I will say that the bottom line metrics like contact form submissions and overall sales inquiries are going to continue to be down. But as we’ll get into later in the deck here today, we’ve seen sort of middle of funnel activity, like webinars and other software conversion types be really popular right now. People are still out there researching, your audience hasn’t completely disappeared. But we sort of need to adjust and recalibrate what we’re putting out there for them to consume right now.

The last interesting data point that we’ve seen specific to advertising is a overall decline in cost per click for both paid search and display advertising over the past two months or so. I think this is largely due to a lot of advertisers pulling out of the ad space on various platforms. The data here is specific to Google Ads, but it spans both paid search and display. But again, we’re seeing this data referenced on other sites as well. has an interesting case study showing that there’s been a decline between 25 and 35% in overall ads spend across various digital ad platforms in the past two months.

And so with these declining cost per click, the competitiveness is maybe a little bit lower right now than it used to be. If you do have the wherewithal to continue marketing in some of these channels right now, chances are it’s going to be a little bit cheaper, a little bit more efficient. So, that is a potential opportunity with the current landscape.

Jeremy Lopatin:

Right. What does this mean? What is the current COVID-19 circumstance mean for us as marketers? What should we be thinking about and doing? So, as the slide says, in-person marketing was so 2019. Most B2B marketing organizations that we work with rely heavily on in-person events, trade shows, conferences, and things like that to get their offerings in front of the right audience and generate leads for their sales team to work. But with the cancellation and or indefinite postponement of so many of these events, it’s left a huge gap, right? It’s a huge fraction of lead generation activities is gone from the mix for a lot of companies out there.

The thing is, companies that can rush in and fill that gap with rich meaningful simulations of in-person activities. So whether that’s webinars or even more elaborate than a webinar like symposia or online discussion forums, things like that or even simply digital sales letters, video sales communications, and things like that. The companies that can rush in and provide that are going to be way ahead of the game. They’re going to be able to capitalize on the vacuum that’s been left.

It’s also, I think, important to remember right now that marketing and sales are really all part of one apparatus. And where in some companies the sales organization has owned the sort of event marketing activities that have disappeared, their staffing, trade shows with sales representatives. And they’re managing that whole process. With this pivot to digital for that, we’re strongly recommending that that be replaced with digital alternatives.

More than ever, a partnership or collaboration between sales organizations and their digital marketing partners is imperative. I mean, it should already have been in existence. I made an offhand comment in a prior conversation, that sales is marketing, especially now, and that’s how I’ve been thinking about it. That’s a hard mind shift for a lot of organizations. So I just wanted to put that out there.

It’s important right now, obviously, everybody expects things to be different. They don’t exactly know how and that’s particularly the case for upper management. There’s obviously concern for the financial future of many companies and marketing and sales prospects for businesses. I think it’s important as marketers to be setting and resetting expectations as data allows with upper management, that things that they might be used to seeing or ways they might be used to interpreting the metrics are different now.

In particular, we think, leads are obviously down as the data that we’re seeing shows. We think it’s going to continue to be down and things like conversion rates that you might track on a regular basis, those are going to look really different for now and the time to come. And like Robbie said, that doesn’t mean that sort of middle of the funnel activity is dead. In fact, in a lot of industries, we’re seeing, more than ever, especially for the companies that are pivoting hard to virtualizing their event-based marketing and things like that.

But I think it’s just important to set those expectations with executives. I also think that it’s important to have a conversation about the fact that in times of uncertainty, people are likely to hold off on big-ticket purchases. And that folks are going to want to have a greater sense of how things are going to shake out or settle down before they’re pulling the trigger on five, six-figure or seven-figure purchases, which many of the clients that we work with are involved in.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no opportunity to market and nurture those audiences in the meantime just because lead volume in aggregate might be down and new opportunities are being created at a less frequent rate. It doesn’t mean that marketing’s not important.

So we need to play the long game. We need to think about what condition do we want our relationship with our audience to be when we come out the other end of this and brighter days are here. And those who are able to fill that gap in the event-based marketing and in-person events types activities, with really meaningful and satisfying virtual alternatives, are going to stay top of mind more likely than companies that retract and just forego an alternative to the event-based marketing and things that were more popular. And they’re going to stay top of mind and when people are finally ready to buy, they’re going to capitalize on that. The companies that sort of shut down their marketing operations and play it super conservative are going to lose out. And they won’t be in position quite as much to seize the day when the buying begins again.

You’ve probably already contended with your messaging. If you’ve got advertisements out in the world, and that the words and images that you’re using, I hope everybody has already read the room, taking stock of how people are feeling and the general climate of things and you’ve adjusted accordingly. Like the cartoon here on the right suggests you got to read the room. I mean, there are all sorts of clever advertising messages that probably ring really differently right now. And so hopefully you’ve already taken a thoughtful look at ad text in search advertising and text and images being used in display and on social and things like that.

So start as messaging goes right now, I mean, it should go without saying, but just to be comprehensive. I’m going to say everybody needs essentially, in my opinion, at least a big virtual hug. I mean, I think this is the time for empathy and compassion, and hopefully, your marketing already has that in it. But I think we need to bring even more. Many businesses are shut down and simply not operating right now. But for those that are, they’re doing the best they can, but it’s a whole bunch of people who are operating from their home offices with kids and dogs and babies and whatever, and it’s tough. So, I think, marketing advertising should reflect or should respond to that.

Also, just going back to this idea of people being more conservative when things are uncertain or tight in times of crisis. Messaging that speaks to the cost savings for the value that your company or your offerings bring are probably going to resonate more right now than other types of messages or ideas that you might try to communicate.

Riley’s going to speak to this more in the next slide, but it’s probably a good time to double down on supporting your customers through your marketing activities, doing whatever you can to support their current needs, and educate. I think those are really great vantage points or positions to take in continuing to be present and relevant and nurturing and helpful in this period of time where sales activities is likely to be down. But staying relevant and trusted and valuable for when times get better.

Riley Duncan:

Thanks, Jeremy. I want to introduce this idea of offer more, ask for less as one kind of concept that a lot of marketers can apply during this time in a way that they can really respond. And so by that I mean, offer more value and ask for less effort and commitment on the part of your audience. And so I think there’s really two questions that every company should really be asking themselves right now.

The first one is what’s the most valuable thing that you can give your audience right now. So just put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and try to think of different things that would just be super helpful right now as they’re going through this time which might be uncertain, and they might have different needs than normal. This may be a piece of content that you already have, it could be an old blog post that you could repurpose. It could be some video content that you already have. And you just need to get it in front of them during this time. It also might be a piece of content that you don’t have yet.

So start to think about that as well. Could we put on a webinar? Could we write a new blog post or create some new video content? Just what would be super helpful to our audience right now? Because I think that’s really the most important thing and the most valuable thing that companies can give their audience too.

The second piece is once you have that piece of content, that valuable thing that you want to give your audience, how can you make it easy for them to access and consume. This is that idea of asking for less from them. Don’t make them come to your website every day and click through to try and find where you might have put some new content. Get this content in front of them already, maybe you can send out an email, maybe you can actually do some advertising on a social platform or display retargeting. Get this message in front of them that you have this valuable piece of content that you really think will help them out.

And then also, when you ask for something in return for this content, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to get this content. Don’t give them a long-form where they might have to fill out so much information that they shy away and that they don’t ever actually get to your piece of content. I think this is a time where you have this valuable piece of content. And the most important thing is that you want those people to actually engage with it. And so just try and make it as easy as possible as you can.

And so these are really the two questions that I want everyone to keep in mind as we go through these next two examples of a few companies that are doing things like this. So keep these two things in mind. What’s the most value thing that you can give your audience right now and then how can you make it easy for them to access and consume?

So the first example that we have is from one of our clients, who had a big conference, big trade show scheduled for March. And then they had to pull out of that because of COVID-19. They had all this great, valuable content that they were planning on presenting at the conference. And so they said, “Okay, we still have this valuable thing. Now, let’s take it online, make it available to everyone.”

I think that’s really a great example because they took their content and they actually made it easier for people to access than if they had actually been in-person at the trade show. At a trade show or a conference, everyone has to fly out there. You can only be in one session at a time. But here because they’re doing virtual, anyone can join these conferences for free. And then also they can sign up for as many conferences as they want. Even if in a physical event space, you might have been limited. I think that was a great example of thinking quick about how can they make this work online.

Here are the results. So Robbie showed some data earlier in the deck that showed weekly conversions, just those bottom of funnel conversions. So contact forms, phone calls, sales inquiries, but we took that same data and added in webinars as a piece of the conversion data for this slide. And you can see that the week of March 9th, when they made that shift to have this virtual conference with all of these different webinars, the scale just jumps off the screen in terms of the number of downloads and the number of people that were engaging with them that week. So I thought that was one really awesome example of a client taking that idea of how can we offer more value to our audience and make it super easy for them to consume.

The second example that I have here is from a company called DigitalMarketer, which provides training and resources to people in the digital marketing field. They made their lab membership free for March for all businesses and marketers impacted by COVID-19. They knew that they had all these great resources, and they knew that it would be very valuable to people during this time. What did they do? They made it free. And then they also advertised it. They got this out there that they are doing this free thing so that people would actually take them up on the offer and get the value out of it.

The results of this were pretty amazing. In eight days, over 30,000 marketers took them up on that offer, and over 10,000 already completed at least one training just in that eight-day period. So this was extremely successful. And you can think about this, yes, they didn’t have that quantity of sales right away. But all of those people moved farther down the funnel when they took that step. They were someone that maybe had an interest, maybe had heard of digital marketer, but now they’ve actually gotten to use the platform, got them to actually use a training. And so they’re already further down that funnel and more likely to be a purchaser either soon or even further down the line.

And so I think that’s another great example. And another reason to think about what’s something that we can do as a company to show some value to our audience and to be thought of as kind of that leader in the space. And just push people slowly along that funnel, not necessarily all the way down to a sale. But at least get them engaging with our content during this time and making a good impression.

Robbie Bolog:

All right. So, we’d like to pause really quick for maybe a one or two-minute intermission. We’re going to throw up another poll on the screen. We’re curious where everybody has been currently active with digital marketing up to this point. And whether or not you have a list of prospects that you would like to work with. Your responses are going to play into the next couple of slides here. So if you don’t mind, please fill out that poll. That should be on your screen now. And we’ll get back to the slides in about a minute.

I just want to remind everybody, if you do have questions, we’ll do our best to get to those here at the end. We should have enough time to answer a handful of them. But if not, we will absolutely follow up with that blog post with the recording of today’s webinar, and answer all the questions that we weren’t able to get to.

Jeremy Lopatin:

We’ll give folks just another minute or so to complete the poll on your screen and then we’ll take a quick scan of the results and move on to the next section.

Riley Duncan:

With that first poll, you should be able to select multiple platforms if there are multiple channels that have been very effective for you.

Robbie Bolog:

How are we looking, David? Got all the results?

David Oltean:

We’re almost there, about 60%. So let’s give it another, 20, 30 seconds here and hopefully get some more answers. But it looks like some folks are definitely clicking all seven of the channel options.

Robbie Bolog:

Sure. Well, I can get started on this channel strategy. This directly plays into our first poll question. We’re asking, where have you been most active up to this point? What’s been most effective for your business from an advertising perspective? When we consider going forward during COVID-19, I think there’s a few specific considerations with regard to advertising currently. As I mentioned earlier, and as Jeremy touched on cost-effectiveness, I think is a primary concern right now. How can you get the most reach for the advertising dollars that you do have to spend?

A lot of us are operating under reduced budgets right now. So it’s really important that we get the most out of the money that we’re putting out there. This idea of getting the most bang for your buck, that’s going to vary depending on the head platform. Right now we’re seeing a lot of people on social and a lot of the reach that you can get on social can be cheaper than something you’d see with like paid search.

And so if we consider if your leads are down and sales are down for your particular industry, and paid search has been the main driver of those historically, maybe now’s not the time to put quite as much into paid search. Maybe, you should shift some of that budget over to social or a video platform or some display where you can get exponentially more reach for that same amount of budget.

So just really factoring in how you can get the most reach on the various platforms that you have access to. And the other thing to take into account and this is sort of playing off of the idea Riley has queued up for us is what marketing assets do you have to work with already? This could be blog posts. This could be existing content on your website that you could repurpose in the form of a webinar or a video. Taking those available assets that you already have, so you don’t have to.

Everybody’s working in a different environment right now. So maybe it’s not feasible to get out there and shoot new video. So let’s dig into the archives, figure out what you can repurpose. And then consider what channels from an advertising perspective would work best to get that out there. So this is again, touching on Riley’s point about making it really easy to consume that content.

Obviously, social is a great platform to spread blog posts, video content. We’ve seen a lot of success recently with YouTube advertising. There’s a lot of people on there researching new topics right now. And people, really do engage a lot really well with video. So maybe YouTube is a great platform. But just really going through this thought exercise of how can I get the most reach for my money? And what assets do I have to work with, and how do those sort of map to the various ad platforms available?

A little bit more information on paid search. As Jeremy mentioned, at the top of today, we do have a lot of core focus on paid search and so we spent a lot of time there with most of our clients. The data has been pretty interesting from a conversion perspective. Although we definitely have seen a decline as I alluded to earlier in the first couple weeks of March, paid search has not been hit as drastically as organic search. In this chart here you can see the top half of those bars. The red portion is the paid search conversions on a weekly basis, the lower half being organic search. You can imagine, if we weren’t active in paid search through the course of COVID-19, essentially the top half of those weekly charts would be lopped off.

So that’s a really important thing to keep in mind is your rankings or organic rankings are going to have a factor here. And if you can use paid search to sort of mitigate the decrease or decline in conversion activity from organic, your overall funnel is going to be healthier right now.

Jeremy Lopatin:

Right. If you don’t mind me jumping in Robbie, with you might see declined search volumes overall happening in Google and Bing and wherever else. And you can only do so much to manage and affect that through your organic visibility, but paid search is a more nimble and adjustable tool.

Robbie Bolog:

Absolutely. Now’s, the time to dig into that historical data in your paid search activity, figure out what those top keywords were, what those top drivers of conversions are historically, and really double down your marketing dollars on those top keywords. Maybe now’s not the best time to go out there prospecting for some more broad keyword topics. Really double down on what you’ve seen drive value for your company historically.

We’ve had some interesting conversations with Google reps over the past couple of weeks regarding bid strategies. We’ve historically as an agency been really skeptical of some of these automated bid strategies that Google puts out there. But there’s some really compelling arguments to be made that an algorithmic approach to bidding right now will be way more nimble and be able to adjust more quickly to the rapidly changing advertising environment than a manual bid strategy would be. And so we’ve started testing, maximized bid conversion strategies on Google Ads for multiple clients, Target CPA.

There’s a wealth of automated strategies that are worth I think right now testing because the data and the competition is changing on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis. And so it’s just not feasible to expect we as marketers would be in there manually adjusting bids all the time to keep up with that. So it’s worth testing, I think, some of these different bid strategies.

Riley Duncan:

One tactical point on that Robbie, is just that Google Ads actually gives you the ability to run an experiment. So you could actually set 25% or 50% of your budget on this different strategy and test it and see how it does in comparison instead of moving your whole entire account over before you really have any data. So I think that’s one tip that people might want to use if they’re interested in trying that out.

Robbie Bolog:

Absolutely. Testing is the name of the game. Thanks, Riley. So on the display side of things, display and remarketing, as Jeremy mentioned earlier, it’s really important, I think, for most companies to adjust their messaging to the current landscape. So what we have here are a few examples from our clients that are display ads of them actually adjusting their messaging to sort of fit the current landscape. Really showing that empathy and compassion that we were alluding to. And making it easy, putting offers out there that don’t require a lot of commitment that are very easy to convert on. We’ve seen these types of offers be really effective, drive higher click-through rates, and just be a good thing for companies to be doing right now for your current audiences.

The story is really the same with video. But I think video is uniquely equipped to really demonstrate the humanity and the human side of your brand. So if you really are trying to put out a compassionate message, I think there is no better medium than video where you can show somebody on the screen being affected and showing those emotions. We have an example here from one of our clients that works a lot with first responders. And so they’ve put out this really great message. That’s just a thank you to the first responders that are out there doing their jobs currently in this really rocky environment. That’s an example of a company that’s totally shifted from a sales message to just a really compassionate thank you type message.

And those are the types of things that are going to be remembered when things do get back to normal. This company really saddled up next to their audience and just thanked them for doing what they do. The other thing to keep mind is video is an excellent tool for learning. A lot of people these days prefer to watch a video versus reading through a blog post on topic. Something like 72% of people prefer video over other forms of content.

So, video can be really effective. There’s a lot of mediums besides YouTube that you can use video on. All the social platforms now have ads that can be catered from video. So, I think it’s just really important to take advantage of this if you have the ability, and dig into those archives and use video to your advantage.

David Oltean:

Robbie, while we’re on this question, we had an anonymous question where someone asks, have you seen any changes in the consumption of content formats or video versus text? I know we’ve seen that spike in social traffic compared to a decrease in paid search. But can you speak to just the level of consumption we’ve seen on video formatted ads versus text?

Robbie Bolog:

From a YouTube perspective, there has never been more people on YouTube than there are now. The view rates are through the roof. We’re doing some pre-roll advertising for a few clients. And like I said, people are a little more patient, I would say now than they were before. And so if you can just figure out what message would resonate, the chances of engagement with video, in particular, are much higher. Jeremy, Riley, do you have anything to add to that?

Riley Duncan:

Yeah, I would just say too, I think this is a time where I don’t necessarily have all the data to back this up, but that your video quality, especially on the social platforms, might not actually have to be as produced. You can really be a little bit more personable just with having faces on camera, getting people out there, and getting your message out that way. Because I think people’s expectations are a little bit lower. They’re seeing less people in their daily lives and just making that effort even if you don’t have this big video studio to just film some video content just to engage with your audience. I think that that actually is a strategy that on social, at least, has some legs under it during this time.

Robbie Bolog:

I mean, that’s a great point. Think of all the late-night hosts that are now doing their episodes from home with iPhones. Jimmy Fallon’s wife has been his primary camera person. So, I think there’s really no excuse to just try to do something right now like you said, the production quality is not of concern. That’s a great point.

David Oltean:

Looking at our results here, it looks like paid search is on top of mind for most people, followed by Facebook and LinkedIn, and then display and retargeting came in that third spot. And then Twitter and YouTube a little bit less, but there’s still quite a few folks that are interested in it.

Riley Duncan:

Awesome. And then it looks like, on that second poll, 15 out of the 17 respondents said that they either have a list of target companies or they’d like to or they’re working on it. So that’s 80%, almost 90%. And so as we transition here into talking about paid social, I’m really excited to see that those target lists of companies is something that people have on their mind. Because I think it’s actually a great way for a lot of companies to reach their audience.

Because LinkedIn is really the one social platform that has account space marketing. What this means is that you can actually upload a list of companies along with their website, and then you can target people who work at those companies with your offer.

And so we think again, about what is that valuable piece of content for your audience. Now, you can actually get that piece of content in front of people that work for your target companies, and even later on something like job titles to make sure they’re the right department at your target company. And so that could be a way where maybe your overall budget on paid social is down or is shifted from maybe previously, you had a budget for a trade show, now you can use that on paid social.

It actually doesn’t take all that much budget to be effective because you’re so laser-focused on this group of target companies that you’d really like to work with. So I think that LinkedIn, especially for B2B marketers, is a great way to get your message in front of those best prospects.

On all social platforms though, they do have their own retargeting as well. So, I don’t want to leave them out of the mix when we talk about following up with users through Google Display. You can also follow up through them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram in some cases might be a good fit. And so those are all places where you can really follow up with your audience and get that valuable piece of content out there. And as Robbie has talked about, right now, on social, that’s where people are spending a lot of time.

So those can definitely be a great place right now. Because you have people spending more time there, which means there’s actually more people active. And that can actually, allow your cost per click on those platforms to decrease a little bit because there’s just more ad real estate available. And then also, as advertisers are pulling out some of their budgets as we saw as an earlier slide, that can also decrease your cost per click. So that might be a good place to test. Throwing some budget behind, getting in front of your target audiences on paid social because as we saw people are still consuming content if you have that right valuable offer for them.

So, I think this is a place where if you’ve been a little bit hesitant before, especially if you’re a B2B company, this might be a good chance to at least throw a little bit of money behind it, and get your message out there and really get in front of those right prospects. Because as we know, those bottom of funnel conversions are harder to get to, but social is great for those middle of funnel conversions, which are still working right now.

Jeremy Lopatin:

Got a little time for QA. David, do you want to queue up on some topics that have come in?

David Oltean:

So we’ve got a few. This one is from Dunrie. She wrote that some people are more busy obviously at this time, but some people are actually more idle and maybe want to contribute more. Are there any activities that you can recommend for people to take on with that time if they have additional free time. Because of changes in schedules or roles, like eliminating trade shows or a lack of marketing activity we’ve seen for in-person type stuff. So are there any activities you can recommend at this time for people with some time to spare?

Jeremy Lopatin:

Going back to the point Riley made, I think if you have a clearly defined audience and given them the context of your industry, and specific business, you can think of something that would be the best, most valuable gift that you could give to your audience. Whether it might be some sort of downloadable piece of content, some guide or an instruction to how to do something, I don’t know, whatever, something educational, something supportive, make that.

I think content creation, if you do have idle time and are looking at especially, I think a lot of people might be looking for a creative outlet, that kind of project could go a long way. But doesn’t have to be big. It could be small investment of time in video content, just the casual videos to your audience about what you’re seeing in your industry or whatnot. That’s where I would focus.

Riley Duncan:

The other thing that I would bring up too is that it might actually be a good time to have some more interaction between your marketing and sales teams. If they have a little bit more freedom, maybe from the marketing side, you can talk to your sales team about what they’re hearing, what people are still interested in, if things have changed at all, or what really resonates. From there, that can really guide your topic creation. And so if that sales team has a little bit more time to actually give you the time to talk about what are the conversations that they’re having that can be super valuable for you to make the right content.

Jeremy Lopatin:

I mean, I told you all that my first love was SEO, but operating on the premise that the economy is going eventually to rebound, making infrastructural investments, focusing on those things that so often elude us in our busy schedules. And the search engine optimization is going to put you in a strong position for the future. So I mean, that’s a little bit off-topic for our digital advertising focus today. But content creation is going to serve both your advertising engagement or activities as well as SEO. I think that would be huge for the benefit of the company, for potentially years to come.

David Oltean:

As an SEO, I definitely agree with that. My job safety depends on it. Moving on to another anonymous question, someone had asked, what are good ideas for keeping individuals engaged over a long period of time if they might not be inclined to purchase something right now? How do you maintain that attention without inundating them? This person who asked this question, their goal is to stay top of mind and be the first thing they think of but they don’t want to overwhelm them.

Robbie Bolog:

I think the first thing that comes to mind for me are some of the things we talked about today, retargeting or remarketing through some of these platforms is a really effective way. I think one tactical thing to keep in mind there to their point about not inundating people is use those frequency caps that are available on most platforms to control how often those messages are getting in front of people. This is particularly an issue I think with YouTube pre-roll advertising.

I know myself, just for my own personal use of YouTube I, for whatever reason MasterClass has defined me as the one person that I should see all of their ads. So literally every single video I watch on YouTube is preempted with a MasterClass video. It’s getting to the point where I’m honestly annoyed by it. And so that’s what you want to prevent. Use those frequency caps to control how often those are getting in front of people.

Jeremy Lopatin:

I mean, I think it’s probably a good idea to just consider serialized content, right? Whether might require different levels of investment of time and effort, but a blog post series, a podcast, a video series, something. Find the topic that’s going to be most engaging to your audience. And create a serialized piece of content to lay those advertising activities against and keep them engaged and provide them that next installment. And when it’s presented as a series, they’re waiting for and anticipating the next piece. That’s an idea.

David Oltean:

Awesome. And then we had a question from Simran, who had asked, what do you think about podcasts? And I know our agency has a podcast on our own. So we have some first-hand experience with that. But do any of you guys want to tackle that one?

Robbie Bolog:

Shameless plug for The Crux Podcast by Climb Marketing. We have seven episodes under our belt, and we’re starting to hit our stride.

David Oltean:

We’re still working on that, but…

Jeremy Lopatin:

I mean, I think if you have the wherewithal, a podcast that is really meaningful and has great discussion, relevant guests to your target audience can be a great piece to the puzzle. It’s not going to be the end all be all. It’s interesting when I think about podcasts, on the one hand, there may be people who have more time on their hands. And so podcasts might be a welcome opportunity to expand their point of view and educate themselves. And others are more time-compressed than ever because of the complexities of balancing home and work life and things like that.

And so I think it’s just going to depend on your specific audience and how much you know about them as to whether you want to launch into that. I mean, the good thing is, unlike a live in-person webinar, it’s a synchronous. You can listen to a podcast whenever you want. The same could be said for an on-demand webinar and stuff like that, but yeah.

Riley Duncan:

From what I’ve heard on the data on that, Jeremy, as you mentioned, more people are podcasting now than ever, but actually a little bit fewer people are listening because people are actually commuting less. So, it’s a little bit interesting. I mean, I think it is a good opportunity to show your expertise on a subject. But I think you should keep in mind that, that people are going to be, have their attention elsewhere. And so it could be something to test out but that attention is harder than ever to get.

David Oltean:

I’ll say just from our own experience, podcasts are something that they take time to expand your listenership, but they also take time just to find your stride. Because it’s tough to convey your personality in the those. And I know that’s been a challenge for us, but I think it’s a great time now. Especially if you have some downtime, then start working on that and work on being more comfortable with your radio voice or conveying your personality via podcast. I think it’s a great time to start. But we’ll say from personal experience, that it’s something that you have to build momentum for expanding your audience and getting comfortable on your own with doing.

Jeremy Lopatin:

If we don’t have… What do you think? Doesn’t look like we have any other.

David Oltean:

We got a few more minutes. And we just had one other question from Harry. Harry is wondering how he actually gets a Google Ad rep to help him out. We talked about those automated bid strategies that they were suggesting. Is that something that’s just random if you have a certain amount of spend, or how do you actually get an Ad rep to call you?

Robbie Bolog:

I don’t pretend to know either. It seemingly random these days. I will say, we’ve run into a lot of issues with getting somebody on the phone to talk to at Google if you don’t have an assigned rep. One example with one of our clients, we’ve had a lot of issues with ad disapprovals lately. And Google’s manual ad review team that would actually deal with the appeals that we would send in on ad copy we think should be approved, is not working right now. They’re on furlough. A lot of those that team was based in Asia where the whole pandemic started. So some things are more challenging now than ever. Getting in contact with Google, I would say is one of them.

David Oltean:

Sorry, we can’t be more help, Harry, but just hold on. Hopefully, one day, you’ll get a call out of the blue. I think that’s all of our questions, unless anybody else has anything else to ask?

Jeremy Lopatin:

Robbie, maybe we move to the next. Thank you all so much for your time today. I hope you found some value, or at least a new perspective on the topic. And we just wanted to call your attention to we have some additional resources on our website at We have a bunch of available links to the virtual webinar recording. Once there, we have some blog and podcast content that’s already present there, some other services related to COVID-19, and things like that.

Obviously, if you and anybody out there wants to talk further, feel free to reach out to me directly. And I’ve got my email address here. And so when we reach out later, you can download the slides that we have here and you can have that.

As David shared in the chat, this was our first webinar and so I hope that it met most of your expectations. But we’d love feedback if you want to email us at webinars at And just tell us your thoughts. We’re totally open. We plan to do these on a regular basis just from our own perspective, both from a place of just wanting to share and engage with our community, and try to be as helpful as we can. But also, this is how we get our message out there. And we think it’s a useful vehicle for that, but we want to do it right. So if you have feedback, let us know.

Robbie Bolog:

Thanks, everybody.

David Oltean:

Well, that’s the show. Thank you all again, so much for attending. We really appreciate it.

Jeremy Lopatin:

Absolutely. Take care, everybody. Stay safe out there.

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