5 Cost-Conscious Tips for Advertising During a Recession 

Kyle Holderness

5 Tips for Advertising During a Recession
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Let’s face it: We all know the “R” word is being thrown around daily. Companies are scaling back budgets, which inevitably means for marketers that the finance team is coming for you, too. That said, it’s worth remembering the old adage “brands should keep advertising through a recession,” which researchers and analysts have proven to be the right play. Despite the global economic outlook, ad agencies are forecasting 9-12% growth year-over-year, with digital accounting for more than 50% of the growth. Steve Grant, SVP of Human Intelligence at Horizon Media, drilled the point home recently when he said, “We’re going to make our recommendation on a case-by-case basis, but going dark is not a good thing.”   

When trying to evaluate channels and determine where it makes the most sense to prioritize, the first questions any good marketer should ask are “Where can I quickly and easily show ROI?” and “What has the lowest upfront costs?”  The answer is simple: partnership marketing. It’s the only channel where you can easily prove ROI and show that upfront costs are lower than any other channel out there. So, when the CFO says, “Show me your cost and ROI per channel,” partnership marketing stands out as the clear winner.  

In this post, we cover five ways you can continue to utilize your partnership marketing channel when the waters get choppy while still being cost-conscious.   

1. Revisit Payout Structures  

When was the last time you reviewed your payout structure? Whether you’re using a cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-lead (CPL), or cost-per-action (CPA) model, it’s OK to reevaluate how you pay your partners in order to better allocate costs to revenue.  

To get started, take a look at your performance data. Would it make sense to shift some offers from CPC to CPL, or from CPL to CPA? Are your partners meeting your conversion rate expectations? Reevaluating and restructuring payouts can be an effective way to keep traffic flowing while also ensuring you are not overspending.   

2. Remember the 80/20 Rule to Maintain Strong Relationships  

In a successful partnership program, your number one asset is your partner base. That’s why it’s important to remember the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of your revenue will typically come from 20% of your sources. Therefore, reward the partners that provide the best results. Stay connected with your top performers, ensure they understand the value they bring to your program, and give them the tools they need to succeed.   

It is ill-advised to cut spending with top partners just because their cost may be higher. This is especially true for influencer partners. If you are not building a long-lasting relationship with your influencers, competitors will capitalize on the opportunity to poach them out from under your feet. TUNE’s Iana Starostovich says it best in her recent blog: “It’s not an exaggeration to say a great relationship can make a program, while a bad one can break it. Having good relationships with your publishing partners is key to productive cooperation, increased sales, and digital marketing growth.”  

3. Focus on Customer Targeting and Loyalty   

Before dialing back advertising budgets, see if there is an opportunity to target your ads more carefully instead. This is not the time to test the waters for new markets or audiences. If you know your target consumer listens to a certain type of podcast or subscribes to specific YouTube channels, increase your efforts in those segments to stay relevant. Studies have shown that during the 2008 financial crisis, brands that cut back ad spend saw a drop in sentiment even among loyal customers, which made room for market challengers to step in.    

Another great way to maintain your existing market is to lean into loyalty and rewards. Everyone loves a deal, and in times where wallets are tightened, consumers will flock toward the best deals available. Emphasizing loyalty and rewards programs with your current customer base is far less expensive than trying to obtain new customers.   

4. Use Partner Marketing to Tap Into Other Channels  

Because partnerships are not limited to a single medium or channel, partner marketing can be an effective way to break into new areas. You can utilize it to tap into other paid channels, such as trademark plus (TM+), email, and social. Leveraging these channels via partner marketing typically tends to be more affordable, as it maintains the pay-per-performance model while casting a broader net.   

5. Lean On Your Customer Success Manager   

At TUNE, we pride ourselves on having an industry-leading customer success team, and we hope that everyone we work with thinks of us as a partner rather than a software vendor. The TUNE CSM team is here to help you strategize and implement the above-mentioned suggestions. Backed by phenomenal Onboarding, Support, and Solutions Engineering teams, we understand the challenges that marketers are facing in the current environment and are set up to help you excel.

At the end of the day, you may not be able to maintain 100% of your ad budget, but you can control what channels you keep alive. Time and time again, partner marketing has proven to be a consistent winner for leading brands, especially in uncertain times.   

If you have questions about advertising during a recession or how TUNE can help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]. In the meantime, take a closer look at how to protect your marketing budget with performance-based advertising in our new e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Partner Marketing.

What other strategies do you have for making the most of your ad budget right now? Let us know in the comments below! 

Kyle Holderness

Avid sales and marketing professional with extensive experience in consulting, customer success, sales, and marketing leadership roles. I joined TUNE in April of 2021 as a member of the Customer Success team supporting Brands, Networks and Publishers with optimizing their affiliate programs on TUNE.

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