Session 3: Topic: MS Data For Covid-19 Changes in Different Verticals
Christi Olson, Head of Evangelism for Search and Advertising at Microsoft and Joe Veverka, Strategy & Analytics Product Innovation SR Program Manager at Microsoft, present detailed advertising research findings re: the Covid-19 pandemic across key business an d geographic markets.
Some key points:
Unprecedented might be used one too many times today. I don’t know if you’re sick of seeing emails that have that come out. I know I am but it really is a bit crazy the changes we’re seeing across the board in terms of consumer behavior shifting, search trend behavior shifting and so with that I’m gonna hop right on in. So one thing I will bring up is we’re gonna go into and Joe is gonna help me with a lot of really in-depth insights into some specific verticals within that there’s gonna be some things you want to take away from this and it’s the fact that across the board there’s always things you can do from an account health standpoint for just making sure that you’ve got your basic set up and ready to go and the basics. Meaning that you’ve lined everything up, you’ve got a strong solid foundation, you understand your strategy understand, your KPIs as you get going and really just thinking about prioritizing optimize smartly. Because of Covid 19 we’re actually seeing a huge shift overall in some search trends and search behaviors it’s going to be giving you a lot of new opportunities to reach and advertise to consumers who are looking in ways they might not have looked previously, prior to Covid 19. Then there’s immediate strategies you can take and restoration strategies, now when you think of restoration strategies it’s really thinking about what you need to do to prepare for the post Covid 19 timeframe.
“So once some of these restrictions ease up in terms of stay at home and shelter in place orders how do you then make sure that you’re doing everything you can to reach the consumers. At this point in time we’re not going to go in-depth into each of these categories for every single vertical but what I do want to let you know is Joe is going to be sharing with you a handful of really high-level insights and we have an entire Covid-19 section of the Microsoft advertising website. When you dive into almost not quite all but most of the PowerPoint decks there that go into verticals on a weekly or bi-weekly basis of the insights that we have they will include strategies that fall into these four categories; what should you be looking at for your vertical based on account health, new opportunities, immediate strategy, and restoration strategies and it’ll give you some areas to look at where you have opportunities based on the trends we’re seeing.”
“Microsoft advertising is very excited to come talk to you today about this time that we’re trying to navigate very specifically and what we really loved about this opportunity to come speak to you today really gives us the opportunity to really embrace the mission of the analytics and insight group here at Microsoft advertising. For those of you who have worked with our team of analysts before some of our program managers like myself we really try hard to encompass this vision of bringing you not only innovative analytics but trying to provide the most trusted resource for you that’s agnostic and that’s objective and really provides you with new strategies to navigate not only this time but as you’ve been working with us over the last couple years to really unpack what’s going on with your consumers and understanding from an insights perspective how that can be helpful.”
“Takeaways, so right now we’re getting into this place with Covid-19 where we’ve had this closed economy for multiple months and ongoing for weeks and we’re now gonna start seeing different areas reopen. With that comes increased activity from new queries and understanding what the new normal would look like so moving forward. From there we wanted to kind of encapsulate some larger takeaways, so there are verticals that are what we’re categorizing is on the rise as many of you are probably changing your behavior with food and groceries as well as home and garden. It’s starting to be nice whether there’s still some of those innate human behaviors that are super important for us to say cognizant of some of that stuff is not going to change. Its the way in which we’re doing it that has changed, we were just coming out of Mother’s Day and going into father’s day so there’s still this idea of how do you connect. I ordered flowers for my wife and my mother just recently for Mother’s Day it’s still a really important part of the gift-giving and connecting with folks. Then we’re seeing verticals on decline, you can understand that with real estate there’s stagnation of even being able to go and visit a home to see if you want to buy it.”
“With travel we’re starting to see an uptick for the first time in travel in different pockets. But for the most part we’re trying to understand when is it gonna feel okay for people to start traveling again and that’s gonna mean different things in different ways. As we go forward over the coming weeks on our blog keep checking back we’re gonna start diving into that consumer behavior but right now we’re really trying to understand what the marketplace is looking like and how those shifts are happening. Then you’re seeing regional affinities, arts and entertainment, dining, night life again. Occasion gifts and also vehicles, there’s a lot of activity and new behaviors kind of unpacking in auto based on both pre-owned parts and services as well as what’s going on with tier one and two so it’s really critical to start understanding what those different changes are if you have brands or businesses or advertisers in those different verticals. So moving forward we’re starting to see these trends kind of breakdown by region most specifically with food and grocery.”
“We’re seeing a larger uptick in California and we’re starting to see these larger percentages come through from these different regions and seeing click growth not only from the supply side with the queries that are being executed but on the demand side. Demand side being clicks and advertiser performance we’re starting to see an increase in that as well so we’re seeing the advertisers snapping to what the consumers are doing and those advertisers that are taking advantage of that are able to really push through and see some great opportunities for the business. We did see some search growth subside in April but statewide as these different places are opening up the different states we’re starting to see that change. Just today we looked at some data that is incorporated into this presentation for today so moving forward with a different region and understanding what’s going on in north central right we are seeing a lift there but it’s not as large as some of the other places but we are starting to see. Now we’re seeing pockets in places that you wouldn’t think like Nevada and those types of regions across the east and north central region that are really starting to unfold and provide net new opportunities for home-and-garden as the weather gets nicer. We start seeing that within this landscape people are still trying to get to normal they’re still trying to understand how they can go and have some type of online activity that provides them with some type of normality. I know for myself this rings true for me as well I’m looking forward to figuring out how I can plant my garden with vegetables and herbs and that type of thing going into the Memorial Day holiday so I think you’re going to start seeing that with different pockets here and there and then finally going on to our next section occasions and gifts.”
“I know we’re actually in the heart of some shopping there with Father’s Day and Mother’s Day coming in we did see this kind of going down in certain areas. I think part of that could be – if I kind of read between the lines due to the high unemployment numbers and that type of thing there might not be as much wealth around to invest in gifts but overall we are seeing surges reverse that downward trend and we’ve seen an uptick in April and going forward. Then let’s start unpacking real estate and travel to get a little bit more specific on what’s going on there and the Mid Atlantic you can see that there was a decline on average from March to April but
“It’s also really important to know that we are seeing this across the the nation in pretty significant pockets so we’re going to keep watching that and as I mentioned keep watching the blog for us to continually update this information and understand how you can take advantage of this vertical is important to you. Finally with travel it’s really important to understand that we’re starting to finally see a little bit of an uptick but it’s still kind of that negative Delta range when you start looking at year-over-year as well as that long – short term moving averages so definitely keep an eye on travel. There is still a lot to be known and uncovered and understanding that during these types of opportunities where you see month-over-month churches down that’s not gonna be the same way forever so keep an eye on that. Reach out to your accountants, they’re having my team’s looking at this weekly to understand where the optics are indifferent sub verticals and understanding in OTA we finally saw the first uplift across sub verticals this week which has been really encouraging but then again it’s still down significantly until folks have a place to travel to that feels safe you’re probably gonna see this continue to stay kind of on the decline. As people gain more confidence with what’s going on they start feeling more normal and getting out there we can see that probably increased with either staycations or understanding what local travel looks like especially if you’re working on a global brand that might be working in the UK or Europe and people have the opportunity to move to different regions in that area. So then what does this look like from a geographic perspective, we wanted to just kind of show you the shifts that are going on across the regions. So moving forward to the next slide we wanted to just kind of unpack in a visual format what I just talked about and understanding where the searches are moving from east to west in a clean visual that really elevates exactly what’s going on from coast to coast. You can see with food and groceries we have that higher propensity in the East and then it kind of comes down from the West same thing for the retailer’s and general merchandise you see a different shift in east to west with vehicles as well so I think that that’s really important to know that in the Pacific the mountainous regions we are starting to see a larger shift than we would need.”
“And then moving forward to the next slide to unpack some of the other of Sub-verticals understanding that you’d continue to see this u-shape right with the coastal territories. so if you’re looking to target and you are working in your tool at scale and really starting to unpack what’s going on there and how can you optimize it at scale you an know that there’s a larger search increase across the coasts and as you move to the middle of the United States regardless of your vertical you’re seeing the same shape in the in the data every time where there’s still a lift and it’s still a sign of recovery based on geographic location. For the most part what you’re seeing is a higher uptick on the coastal cities and I think part of that is there’s things to do there’s still oceans to see there’s different locations that you can visit in nature of those types of things so I think you can see that across the way because I’ve got a question for this because I think this is really interesting.”
“How should people consider altering campaigns for this? So when we see that there’s more searches happening on the East coast versus the midsection how should they think about that from a paid search implication standpoint. We have some takeaways in a couple slides so we’re gonna talk about geo modifiers we’re going to talk about ad extensions, ad copy, and specifically with remarketing lists to make sure that if they’re not in a buying situation right now they might be soon and then also within market audiences to layer on targeting. We’ll go through that in a couple slides and I’ll kind of breeze through the rest of the last couple slides to move forward there. The key trends just is kind of a summation takeaway right food and groceries, home gardens, occasions and gifts these things are almost evergreen. Food and groceries is now an uptick and where we want to watch. With food and groceries we’re seeing now people are exposed to the convenience of buying online and having some of these other options and we’re gonna be watching out to see if this continues. Again real estate and travel continue to see declines however within OTA we’re starting to see an uptick in travel so we’re watching that closely and understanding what the geographic locations are that are showing the most positive trend. Stay at home orders are going to impact this so it’s really important to stay true to that and understanding that the coastal travel especially within health and travel are trying to start to see a little bit of increased affinity so with that I want to kind of switch gears and talk about the value of paid search and understanding how it’s generating return for your advertising dollars. It’s really important to continue to understand as you see this influx of investment across channels and also across even within paid search with Bing and Google and all that right we’re still seeing a huge propensity to stick with search because it delivers. There is still that intent when you don’t have the expendable funds to invest in the upper funnel activities search is still delivering and we’re seeing that through CMOS that still have that particular affinity toward paid search and understanding its ability to deliver as a performance type of media. I would also say that going forward this is going to continue to be one of the the main areas paid search again being tried and true and delivering that performance time and time again being able to optimize.”