While COVID-19 is causing significant challenges to the whole world it is also causing havoc to any digital marketing forecasting that has been done pre COVID-19.
When putting together forecasts under normal circumstances it is never a simple task as it is not a black and white process. So, if you throw in COVID-19 it makes it a real tough one to predict.
Many clients have seen they are getting busier and busier as demand for their products/services have increased, whereas for other clients the demand has completely stopped due to the current lockdown.
Putting together an organic forecast comes from knowledge, looking at data and then forecasting based on this.
Under normal circumstances we would gather all the data from as many client’s data points that we have access to. This includes looking at current organic traffic, historic organic traffic, search volume for keywords that are being targeted, seasonal changes in search volume, keyword rankings, conversion rates from organic search, average order value and CTR data. By analysing all this data we can normally start to build a fairly good picture of market size, client’s position within the organic marketplace and what the commercial value of an increase in traffic might be.
However, during uncertain times like these there are so many variables that need to be taken into consideration including how long will lockdown last and how long will social distancing last, which no one knows the answer to. We still review all the above points but also have to take into consideration not just seasonality anymore but also the trend data that we have whilst lockdown has been going on.
Therefore, we closely monitor Google Trends, Google Search Console, and other keyword tools to understand shifts in search interest and behaviour around relevant keywords/topics for our clients. We also monitor website performance to understand how users are converting during this time and update forecasting and reporting to factor in the impact of COVID-19.
We also look at the current ranking position so we can calculate where improvements can be made. We are noticing a lot of client’s competitors stopping all marketing activity during this time which means there is less competition which is benefiting our clients. This could also mean a positive effect on our clients keyword ranking position.
We review the current rate of growth and how the forecast would look if you were to simply continue on that trajectory (with seasonality added/and trends from data since the lockdown began). Especially in times like these being too ambitious with your forecast can carry a huge risk to the credibility of your forecast. As always we would rather present a more conservative view of a forecast and overdeliver against it.
For paid forecasting we are always led by the data. We use as much quality data we can get and make an educated estimate as to what can be delivered.
For some of our clients, we are seeing a reduction in CPCs due to a decrease in competition. So, this is great news for our clients.
Currently, everything is guided by performance. Therefore, we tend to propose what the media spend might be throughout the month. Reforecasting at this time all depends on the industry. Some clients are seeing a massive increase in sales, whereas others are seeing a downturn. Here at Koozai we are focusing on being reactive with our forecasting and not setting it in stone!
We go back each month and input the actual figures to see how far off the forecast was from the actual numbers that were delivered. We then use this information to re-forecast and adjust accordingly.