The Impact of Coronavirus on Social Media [Part 2] – Pinterest & Reddit

When thinking about social media, people usually jump to companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However,  there are two social media platforms with smaller user bases (still landing in the millions), that offer powerful advertising tactics: Pinterest and Reddit. On top of their advantageous opportunities for advertisers, they have also implemented important tactics throughout the coronavirus outbreak to help users. See more below!



Response to Coronavirus

As a frequent Pinterest user, I’ve noticed different alerts across pins and boards that highlight coronavirus facts and figures and steps the brand is taking to ensure users have accurate information.

When searching for topics related to coronavirus, a notice is displayed stating that they are only posting information from internationally-recognized health organization and asking users to report any potentially harmful information.

  • Pinterest is utilizing AI to identify keywords and images associated with misinformation. The site was very quick to recognize the potential harm Pinterest users could have experienced when using their app and in turn, effectively updated their policies.
  • Pinterest implemented the “Today” tab, which is “a source of daily inspiration with curated topics and trending Pins” that helps users explore timely and popular ideas.

In addition, the CEO Ben Silbermann partnered with leading doctors and scientists to launch a new app called “How We Feel”, which allows Americans to self-report just that — how they’re feeling, healthy or not. You can read more about that here.

What does this mean for advertisers?

More so than on other social media sites, Pinterest users visit their app with the intention of making a purchase. And, in the last few weeks, Pinterest saw an all-time high app usage with “more saves and searches on the platform than any other weekend in our history.” What does all this mean? Pinterest is a great place to invest advertising dollars right now.

Pinterest has historically been an app that consumers have flocked to for inspiration, creative ideas, and advice, and this still rings true following the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, more consumers than ever are visiting Pinterest to make the most of their time at home.  As an advertiser, use this increase in Pinterest users and activity to your advantage – place relevant, native ads next to pins that consumers are engaging with and searching for.



Response to Coronavirus

As a platform that is popular as destination for discussions, open conversations, and an outlet for users to share candid opinions, monitoring, it’s not surprising that monitoring the spread of misinformation surrounding coronavirus has posed a challenge for Reddit. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Reddit has taken a proactive approach to implement effective strategies that help users verify that information they are reading is factual.

  • By the beginning of March, R/Coronavirus gained over 450,000 members. This page was used to share stories and news but is closely moderated by verified users (many of which have scientific backgrounds).
  • R/COVID-19, with 36,000 members takes a more scientific approach, sharing statistics and studies about the disease.
  • Obviously other pages have emerged discussing the disease, that are not as closely monitored. The page r/Wuhan_Flu is described as an “uncensored” discussion. This page was “quarantine” meaning a user must be logged in before accessing the page and approve a “misinformation or hoax” warning.
  • Reddit is promoting r/CoronaVirus as a verified way to learn about the disease.
  • Users of the mobile app were sent a notification suggesting to visit the page.
  • The subreddit is also being promoted on the front page of the website with the banner “KEEP YOURSELF SAFE AND INFORMED.”

What does this mean for Advertisers?

Similar to Pinterest, throughout the coronavirus outbreak, Reddit has seen a “surge” in site traffic. Entertainment (such as Gaming, TV, and Technology & Computing), DIY (such as Art & Design), Family & Relationships (up 10%), and WFH & Online Learning communities have been increasing as people are looking for new ways to entertain themselves at home. Reddit has seen page view increase (anywhere from 20-50%) for topics such as Business & Finance, News & Education, Travel, and Sports. Despite the industry, users are looking to Reddit for discussions, sources, and conversation. As a brand, you can access these curious consumers with carefully placed ads via conversation, video, or images.

By advertising on either of these platforms, you effectively reach consumers where they are – searching for things to do or buy on Pinterest or looking to discuss timely topics on Reddit. These are more exploratory apps (in comparison to more personal, relationship-oriented apps such as Facebook and Instagram), where users are welcome to new ideas – or in an advertiser’s case brands and products. This makes these platforms a great place for brands to interact and converse with consumers. However, it’s important for advertisers to remember that during this difficult time, no matter the social media platform you choose to advertise on, effective and timely messaging is essential. Both Pinterest and Reddit advise advertisers to keep their messages sensitive, helpful, and informative.

Zoom’s Rise to Fame and Challenges During COVID-19: Lessons for Marketers

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Authored by Merilyn Pereira

Zoom, the video communications platform, has become the most popular and perhaps the most beneficial brand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following that, there’s been much controversy and allegations that the brand has had to deal with. Will they continue to stay on top as we move into the second month of remote working and social distancing? Let’s analyze.

As businesses moved meetings, conferences, and events online in keeping with social distancing, families relied on new ways to communicate with loved ones in different corners of the world. And just like that, the need for an online communication tool ratcheted up. While there were many contenders, Zoom came out on top.

What Marketers Can Learn from Zoom’s Rise

We asked marketing leaders about Zoom’s overnight rise to fame and how brands can be inspired to prepare in much the same way. Here’s what they said:

Zoom is in a unique position to give the masses something that they need. Right now the best marketers are doing the same – they are flipping the idiom of “selling ice to Eskimos.” Instead of promoting something consumers don’t innately want or need, smart brands are promoting products, experiences, and shared connections that consumers want during this time. Some examples of brands doing this are Peloton, Adobe, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Vicks.”

~ Raquel Rosenthal, CEO at Digilant

Read more.

Ad Tech Execs Weigh in on Coronavirus Ads, Google and Twitter, and Misinformation

Ad Tech Execs Weigh in on Coronavirus Ads, Google and Twitter, and Misinformation

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Authored by Joseph Zappa

Earlier this month, digital ad juggernauts Google and Twitter reversed earlier decisions not to publish ads related to Covid-19. Both companies initially banned ads related to the virus out of fear that malicious and negligent actors would flood their ecosystems with misinformation or seek to make a quick buck on the virus by selling fake tests or boosting prices on essential items.

Yet Google and Twitter caved to pressure from businesses, which need to reach customers as much as ever amid an unprecedented economic downturn, and Democrats, who said the policy would give President Trump too much power to control the narrative on the political response to the virus via earned media.

I turned to a number of ad tech execs for their expert perspectives on the risks and rewards of digital advertising on this extraordinarily high-stakes issue. While expectedly optimistic about the benefits of coronavirus-related messaging for savvy brands, the business leaders diverged on the responsibility and capability of Google and Twitter to monitor the veracity of the content they host. They also made distinct cases for advertising at a time when brand messaging requires extra sensitivity, arguing that both brands and their customers have something to gain if businesses provide accurate information, focus on customers’ needs, and showcase the ways they are adapting in a time of crisis.

Can Google and Twitter be trusted to prevent false content related to Covid-19?

Mike Addonizio, vice president of paid media at omnichannel ad firm Digilant, said Google and Twitter are aware of the harm misinformation can cause on this issue, meaning advertisers can trust that coronavirus-related content will be “closely monitored.”

Coronavirus-Related Advertising on Google: What It Means For Political Advertisers

When the coronavirus began spreading across the world and affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, Google was quick to implement a ban of ads related to COVID-19. This was in an effort to restrict people from profiting or taking advantage of the situation, such as selling coronavirus tests or hoarding hand sanitizer.

However, just a week after the ban, Google reversed it’s stance and announced a policy change. This is welcome news for political advertisers who are having a trickier time advertising on other platforms.

According to a recent survey by NPR, 72% of voters are looking to state and local government as a resource for coronavirus information and just 37% are turning to President Trump.

In a time where many traditional political advertising tactics are disrupted (events, canvassing, and rallies), political advertisers are looking to effective channels, like Google, to reach voters. Here are 3 things to consider so you can make the most of your Google Ads investments.

Google’s Engagement Is Up

The average CTR for pay-per-click ads on Google is on the rise. Google’s search ads have seen the greatest increase, averaging out to 5.90% (conversion rate is at 5.63%).

Google’s Cost-Per-Click is Down

Google has reported lower cost-per-clicks (CPCs). Since February, the average CPC for a Google Search ad comes in at $2.76 (cost per action is $51.50), a display ad is $0.41 and Google Shopping at $0.66.

Revisit your Creative and Iterate Often

Timely creative is a must-have for political advertisers. Make sure your creative visually reflects the current state of voters and that the copy answers what you are doing to help voters and communities during this time or provides fact-checked information.

For more insights and guidance on how to reach and engage voters during the COVID-19 outbreak, download our “Responding to Coronavirus Guide for Political Advertisers” here.


The Impact of Coronavirus on Social Media [Part 1]

If you’re an iPhone user like me, you probably receive those weekly messages “Your screentime was up/down x% this week.” Any normal week, I don’t think twice about these messages, removing the notification from my lock screen. However, as we all know, the last few weeks have been anything but normal. So, when I saw that my screentime was up over 100% from last week, (after recovering from the initial embarrassment I felt toward using my phone that much) I actually did want to look further into what I’m doing on my phone for these hours – yes, hours – on end.

Here’s what I found. Some of my screen-time was spent talking on the phone, texting, checking my email and using Slack; a lot of my time was spent on social media; and – surprisingly very little time was spent streaming shows or movies.

To justify my increased screen-time, I turned to some recent consumer surveys. I learned that I’m not the only one consuming massive amounts of social content during this time of quarantine.

In March, Statista released a survey asking if consumers would use social media more if forced to stay at home during the outbreak. 62.3% of respondents said they would use Facebook more, 43.1% reported they would use Instagram more, about 33% said they would use Twitter and Pinterest more and a little more than 25% said they would use Snapchat more. And, a month later, the survey results seem to pose true as platforms are releasing traffic and usage updates.

  • Twitter announced that daily active users jumped 23% to 164 million quarter-to-date, messaging.
  • Instagram and Facebook soared by over 50 percent (more on the troublesome side of this in the Facebook post coming soon).
  • Snapchat saw a 50 % increase in video calls.
  • Pinterest saw “…an all-time high activity, with more searches and saves of Pins on the platform than any other weekend, ever,” said a company spokesperson.
  • Reddit, while they wouldn’t release specific numbers, has seen a significant increase in direct traffic to the site.
  • TikTok, the new kid on the block, was seeing huge growth in app downloads prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but the app saw an 18% week-on-week uplift in downloads in the United States the week of March 16.

Each of these social media platforms is facing unique challenges related to usage and experiences changes in consumer behavior due to the coronavirus, however, nearly all of them are seeing upticks.

The takeaway for marketers? Lean into this surge of social media consumption and to meet consumers where they are, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or some other social platform. If you aren’t yet investing in social to connect with and inspire consumers, now is a good time to start. If you are investing in social, take advantage of lower CPMs to double down and get more bang for your buck. During the week of March 10, our Facebook campaigns (across a variety of verticals and tactics) saw CPM’s decrease by more than $5.

We’re in a quick-moving environment with changes happening every day. Throughout the next few blog posts, I’ll be outlining key tactics to incorporate in your social media buys that are proving successful and any updates that platforms are rolling out during the coronavirus outbreak. Stay tuned for more…

Responding to the Coronavirus – For Healthcare and Pharma Advertisers

As government and public health officials take action to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly every individual and organization now feels the impact. Healthcare professionals are working on the front lines around the clock to treat, help and keep patients safe during this outbreak. The marketers and advertisers who represent healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations are tasked with communicating with patients and consumers in a way that’s timely and smart and takes into consideration the changing behaviors of consumers. There’s no simple trick to effective communication, but luckily there are a handful of strategies that can get you pretty close. Here are four tips to help get you started.

1. Careful Communication

As mentioned above, it’s essential to continue to inform and communicate with patients, and the larger audience you can reach. Consumers are looking to authority figures – such as doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare workers – for the answer to their questions and updates regarding the outbreak.

  • Keep messaging informative, clear and sensitive – many people are worried and uneasy about the current state so your tone will work as a sounding board.
  • Keep messaging consistent – whether that is daily, weekly or on-demand updates, make sure your patient network is informed. If you have new updates to your facility, such as new hours or telehealth options, let your patients know.
  • Spread your message in different ways. Now is the time to utilize email, social media, and website updates. People are digesting media in a variety of way, so make sure you are reaching them on a variety of platforms to ensure they’re seeing your message
  • Before implementing any of the strategies outlined below, make sure all advertisement messaging is thoughtful and in-tun with the current situation.

2. Introduce Paid Search

If your marketing budget allows it, now is a great time to incorporate a paid search campaign. SimliarWeb just announced that there has been a 38% increase in paid search traffic. And the IRI released the chart below regarding a strong uptick in paid search performance. Recognize that people are interacting with paid search campaigns more so during this outbreak, and utilize this tool to push your marketing campaigns further and position your brand among the experts in applicable fields.

3. Lean into Social Media

As people are staying home, they’re spending much more time on social media. So, as advertisers, you should be using this tool to release messages to your community, as mentioned previously, but an even larger audience can be reached via paid social media campaigns. As social media users increase and the channels relevancy tools get better, only about 4-6% of your followers will have the opportunity to see your organic Facebook post. Paid Social Media campaigns, via Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. remain one of the best tools to reach millions of consumers of varying ages as well.

4. Want to Test a New Channel? Try CTV

Similar to social media – as people are staying home, they’re watching more television, specifically streaming more content via CTV and OTT (think Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime TV). USA Today reported that “over the past four weeks, the number of minutes the average person spent streaming TV and movies has jumped 36%, from 115 minutes to 156 minutes weekly… ” And advertisers have already responded to this, as IAB reported that more than a third (+35%) of advertisers are adjusting their tactics to CTV and OTT device targeting.

There are many directions that you can take your healthcare or pharmaceutical advertisement campaigns during this challenging time. If you’re interested in learning more tactics and tools to incorporate into your media plan, download our Guide – Responding to Coronavirus: For Healthcare and Pharma Advertisers.

Reaching Consumers on YouTube: Where to Begin

Nielsen has reported that over the past three weeks, video streaming on television was up 85% when comparing it to the same there week period in 2019 – that’s over 400 billion minutes of video watching (these numbers are only reporting streaming to television – they do not include mobile or PC streaming).  As Americans are staying home, they’re watching more and more videos on platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. And advertisers need to and have already begun to respond to this. IAB reported that more than a third (+35%) of advertisers are adjusting their tactics to CTV and OTT device targeting.

YouTube holds the #2 spot for most minutes streamed on television, only falling short to Netflix. It is no surprise that YouTube is one of the most important advertising channels for marketers to invest in during the current coronavirus outbreak. New to YouTube advertising? Below, you’ll find a guide to help you get started with the platform.  

YouTube is a medium where online users are familiarizing themselves with new brands, researching product quality before initiating a purchase and enjoying entertainment from various verticals. While these online users are fully engaged with the content they have personally selected to view, you have the opportunity to capture user attention with a precisely targeted pre-roll or mid-roll advertisement. 

Why YouTube?

Source: Bandwatch

Percent of US adults who use YouTube who say the site is important when it comes to…

Source: Brandwatch

Who will your advertisements be reaching? 

  • Over 90% of 18-44-year-old Americans watch videos on YouTube. 
  • 46% of Millennials have increased their YouTube usage since 2019.
  • 56% of Generation Z has increased their YouTube usage since 2019
  • Over 50% of Americans ages 65 and above, watch videos on YouTube.
Source: HubSpot

The Bidding Process

Similar to other platforms, YouTube has an internal automated bidding process to decipher which advertisements will be shown. Bids are based on the advertiser’s campaign budget and targeting choices. The advertiser willing to pay the most, will have their ad shown, while all other ads that get out-bid in the internal process will not be charged nor have their ads shown.

Create Engaging Ads

Most Youtube advertisements have the option to skip the video within the first 5 seconds and an interaction is accounted for when a viewer does not click the skip button. The interaction rate is measured by the number of users who watched your full advertisement divided by those who had the opportunity to however, chose to skip it after those 5 seconds. 

This short window of opportunity is crucial to captivate your target audience. Deliver an advertisement with quality sound and image & provide a clear call-to-action for the user to take next steps. Unclear call-to-actions can lead to confusing potential customers, making it difficult to persuade users to convert. 

Avoid Click-bait

If you ask most Youtube watchers what they enjoy most about the platform, you will find that a majority of these users will describe their viewing experience as both personalized and transparent.  

While creating click-bait advertisements may result in an improved click-through and engagement rate, the advertiser is sacrificing user value on the platform, consumer trust and the overall goal, conversion rate. 

Compare Results

Each campaign will have an individual recipe for success. Comparing results from both ads groups and ads will help determine the content that is best fit for your target audience and the best way to continue to move forward with Youtube advertising.

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