At least for the moment, a clear majority of social-media users want brands to focus on the COVID-19 crisis.
That’s according to new findings from social ad automation firm Smartly.io, which included responses from approximately 800 U.S. adults during the first week in April.In all, 83% of respondents said they expected brands to be addressing the health crisis in ads, as well as other aspects of their social-media marketing strategies.
“Consumers expect more from brands now,” said Robert Rothschild, vice president, global marketing at Smartly.io. “They will not purchase from a brand that’s tone-deaf to the crisis.”
In terms of specific messaging, 31% of respondents said they appreciated brands offering products useful to the stay-at-home economy. Some 28% praised brands for promoting the practice of social distancing, while 24% tipped their hats to brands using their ads for philanthropic purposes.
“Offering relevant products and services … such as delivering necessities conveniently and safely to their doorstep or shifting promotions to items that make the stay-at-home and remote-work environment more productive and enjoyable … is just one way to show empathy during the current times,” Rothschild said.
As a result of the current pandemic, many social-media users (46%) also said they were more willing to engage with ads.
Also, more than one-third of consumers said they have bought something based on social ads over the last 30 days.
“Consumers are more likely to invest in purpose-driven brands that are going the extra mile to help others cope throughout the pandemic,” Rothschild added.
As for preferred products and services, consumers rated grocery services as the category they were most open to purchasing, followed closely by clothing and apparel.
In terms of specific formats, 29% of consumers said they were partial to video ads, while 27% expressed a preference for photo carousels.
On average, 41% of respondents said they were ready to spend up to $100 ordering items they saw on social networks.
More broadly, Rothschild said: “Brands should consider adjusting strategies — from ad copy and creative to the mediums being used to deliver … ads, to ensure they’re providing the consumer with communications that are transparent and thoughtful.”