We live in strange times. Most of you will be reading this from home (and on a weekday no less!) perhaps with children or a significant other, while you ponder just how much toilet roll you’re allowed to buy before it counts as stockpiling.

It’s a strange time, but strange doesn’t have to mean bad, either for you, your business, or your clients. I’d like to share with you some of the key talking points we should all be mentioning on our next video call and putting into action to help keep delivering to our customers.

1. Chatbot WHO?

Before I begin I’d like to highlight some of the critical work advertisers have already been doing in the fight against COVID-19.

Just as governments are seeing record traffic to call centres, so too have we seen adtech step up and provide communication technologies to ensure people are still able to get lifesaving information easily and effectively.

This need to communicate critical information to a wide audience has seen global players like the World Health Organisation double down on the use of chatbot technology. I think that’s a great win for our industry and something we should all be proud of.

2. Consumer behaviour has changed, your strategy should too

It goes without saying but people are spending more time online, so let’s quantify that.

According to ComScore, the number of visitors to news publications has risen by up to 142% across Germany and France. Use of Instant Messaging like WhatsApp has risen 49% in the UK and a massive 97% in Spain and according to CloudFlare, overall internet traffic increased by 30% across Italy.

It’s not just overall traffic that has increased. People are reading longer stories and spending more time on the page than ever before. Publishers should be accounting for longer engagements by seeking out interactive ad experiences and avoiding simple click-and-done creative.

Finally, video consumption is way up. According to Kantar, Netflix saw a 29% rise in traffic along with 39% for YouTube. For brands struggling with the crisis this could be the time to shift investment from OOH and into VOD channels to ensure they retain their audiences.

3. Brick and Mortar Stores have to move fast and Adtech should be leading

If you’ve traditionally done business on the high street, you need a new way to present yourself to customers. This is the perfect time to be investing in virtual storefronts and conversational technologies.

People are staying indoors, but they still have money to spend and time to fill. If your customers are online then you should be too, and with consumer behaviour moving towards longer engagements advertisers should be looking for creative that breaks out of the traditional static banner.

I mention conversational technologies because these are the perfect tools for creating both a longer form interactive experience and a storefront all in one. Why simply present a call to action when you can actively engage new audiences with your products and services from the comfort of their own home.

4. Data Makes Budgets Last Longer

When budgets are tight data is key to ensuring success in advertising spend. Get everything you can from that spend, not just performance data but actionable insights you’ll be able to use on the next campaign, and the next, and the one after that.

If you’re lucky enough to have a team of data scientists then they should be busier than they’ve even been right now.

And I don’t just mean looking at how they can optimise spend and scrape insights; look at how behaviour is changing across markets. While online traffic is increasing, it’s doing so unevenly across markets; online retail may have gone up by 29% in Italy but it only saw a 1% increase in France.

This knowledge is crucial when managing a global campaign to ensure that spend isn’t wasted and even a reduced budget achieves maximum effectiveness.

5. Stay Calm and Carry On

While the coronavirus is having a terrible effect for many in society we should all be doing our part to make things easier; both for our clients, ourselves and our colleagues. Only by looking for new ideas and new ways of working will come out of this stronger.

Stay safe and I’ll see you on the other side.