At Affino we provide a host of business SaaS services to a multitude of media, events and professional services companies, and to ensure a consistently high level of delivery we continuously monitor a number of key indicators. We have found that these indicators are now providing valuable insight into some of the key trends affecting our clients’ brands across the board as a result of the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on their brand engagement.
The past two months have shown barely a 2% variation in traffic across our client brands. It means that those brands which were able to address and engage with their audience effectively during the Coronavirus crisis achieved explosive traffic and engagement growth, and have since managed (on average) to retain their traffic since.
Traffic remains up 101% on average since January, but is virtually unchanged since April.
We are seeing some Covid specific traffic decreasing, and many brands are now shifting to ’The Covid Effect’ or ’Post Covid’ and ’New Norm’ focus, as most Western countries and industries start to navigate their way back to the new business as usual.
A trend we are seeing is that brands, which were affected at the outset and saw a significant traffic drop, are on the whole seeing solid recoveries, where time and effort is being invested. Some brands where there is a partial brand furloughing with materially lower activity have yet to see any recovery, and are indeed still declining.
We strongly advocate reinvigoring your brands digitally as we are seeing direct correlations between effort, and audience traffic, engagement and conversions.
We are seeing a decrease in engagement across the majority of brands in May, this is very much against the recent trend and is a relatively mild one. It’s not clear if this is part of a summer slowdown already kicking in but is something we’re keeping a close eye on.
That said, the overall engagement across all the brands is up a further 8% as a small number of brands are seeing explosive growth in engagement, tied into ecommerce and the launch of more digital events and associated activities.
The overall volume of email messaging remains up over 300% since January, however it has effectively stabilised since April with minimal changes in overall volumes since. That said, the majority of brands are emailing less than they were a month ago with a small number of exceptions which are still growing.
This could be down to a certain amount of email fatigue setting in with the audiences, along with fewer breaking news and promotional messages for the majority of brands.
Whilst the overall activity across all Affino client brands is still on an upward trend, we have seen a noticeable average decline in activity for the majority of brands. If we exclude the outliers, brand activity is down 5.1% on the month. This is to an extent down to changing brand team sizes, and the need to be tightly focused on the most important activities with these smaller teams in place.
Some of the decline is also seasonal, with many events and awards delayed or deferred until next year, including major newsworthy ones such as the Olympics. The single biggest story and cause this month - Black Lives Matter, is also a sensitive and indeed challenging subject for many sectors, and does not lend itself readily to high volume fast content and events.
We are seeing a significant slowdown in the volume of new content published by our client brands, with only 43% as many articles published in May as in April
It is notable therefore that given the net effort decline, the fact that most brands have retained most of their recent gains is a positive and can be used as a further catalyst for engagement and monetisation.
Audience growth remains steady for most brands, but is now growing at half the rate of just a month ago on average, and is down significantly since the rises in March and April. This is to be expected following the incredible surge earlier in the year, but it is a trend we’ll also be keeping a close eye on.
It is clear that real economic headwinds are in place, following the earlier explosion in traffic and engagement gains, smaller and more focused teams are having to deliver a fully engaging experience to much larger audiences than just three months ago.
It is also clear, looking at the return on effort, that any effort is paying off in terms of Affino client brand audience engagement and growth, where brands are able to invest.
This means that there are clear opportunities for brands to grow and the possibility to eclipse close competitors and to achieve sector dominance with solid execution. This will put them in an excellent place to position themselves as the dominant sector brands in the recovery - with likely higher audience, margin and revenue terms over the mid to long term.
If you want to cover any of these areas in more detail then get in touch with either myself or Jonathan Collins and we will organise a video conference to explore how best you can accelerate and adapt your brands over the coming weeks and months.
This insight piece is one of a series where we explore Affino Client Brand audience engagement, traffic, reach and more, to identify the latest trends.
For a more in-depth conversation please reach out either to myself of Jonathan Collins, your project manager, alternatively you can reach through the forums to your support team.