Facebook Advises Advertisers to Adjust Measurement Strategies for Covid-19

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Facebook shared guidelines on how advertisers on its platform should adjust their measurement strategies to account for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The social network wrote in a blog post Tuesday, “Across the world, communities are experiencing the impact of Covid-19. As a key part of communities, businesses are faced with a challenging climate and an even greater need to make careful, impactful business decisions. By evaluating your measurement strategy, you can consider the costs and benefits of different testing strategies and better understand which marketing activities are currently most worthwhile to your business. This kind of evaluation also allows you to identify tests that are most applicable to the current climate, as well as the tests that shouldn’t be used to guide longer-term strategic decisions.”

Facebook also cited a recent study from Kantar, which found that 92% of respondents believed that businesses should continue to advertising during the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 is causing drastic changes to consumer behavior, as factors such as the pandemic’s impact on global economies and supply chains, disruptions to day-to-day life and people stocking up in anticipation of limited resources have the potential to skew testing results and lead to insights that do not accurate represent what brands should be doing.

Facebook said a Kantar study found that respondents in Asia were spending 32% more time shopping online. Meanwhile, Comscore reported that mobile phone data usage in the U.S. was up 50% in March compared with the same month in 2019, and a GlobalWebIndex survey of people in the U.K. and the U.S. found that Generation Z, Generation Z and baby boomer respondents were all spending more time checking social media due to concerns about Covid-19 (27%, 29% and 15% more, respectively).

The social network said 89% of advertisers said they have altered their budgets due to the pandemic, with 45% adjusting media type usage or shifting budget among media types.

Facebook wrote, “Ad delivery systems like Facebook’s can be influenced by these shifts in advertiser and consumer behavior. While we don’t know the exact impact, we’re seeing significantly more activity across our services, which can have unpredictable effects on our delivery system.”

The social network shared these key takeaways for advertisers:

  • Simplify your strategy: Rather than abandoning existing approaches to measurement, businesses should continue to use their sources of truth measurement strategies, such as lift testing, to understand marketing impact and make optimizations, as usual. However, they should be mindful that performance may be unusual and consider how likely it is that test results can be generalized to business-as-usual contexts.
  • Re-evaluate tests designed to inform future decisions: The social network said advertisers should consider the extent to which current conditions are impacting their results, adding, “Heavily studied and reproduced findings that inform best practices and optimal spend categorizations are likely safer to generalize compared with tests designed to inform future strategy.” Auction best practices and conversion optimization over click optimization are more likely to hold up, but tests such as determining how a newer ad product performs or optimal frequency should be deprioritized.
  • Use A/B and multi-cell lift testing to optimize quickly: Once the current climate normalizes, remember to re-evaluate winning ad experiences. A/B testing enables advertisers to test variables such as ad creative, audience or placement to determine which strategy is working best and optimize current campaigns. Add holdouts to A/B tests to make them multi-cell lift tests and measure incremental lift on a cost-per-conversion lift basis.
  • Consider impact by industry: Different verticals and products are seeing different outcomes from the pandemic, with the gaming industry seeing video game usage in the U.S. rise 75% during peak hours, according to Gamasutra, while companies in other industries deal with lack of supply or demand.
  • Evaluating your measurement strategy: Facebook wrote, “There’s no one-size-fits-all measurement approach for these fast-changing times, but you know your business best: The right strategy depends on your goals, your customers and the marketing conditions for your industry. Use the decision tree below to explore the potential impact of different measurement decisions.”



Facebook vice president of marketing science Erik Johnson said, “Consumer behavior has changed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and businesses are rapidly adapting their marketing strategies. We want to help them make informed decisions around their media and measurement strategy to help them best meet the needs of their customers.”

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