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How are PPCers planning to handle Q4 2020, about trying new platforms, planning around Amazon Prime Day, managing B2B vs B2C and more was discussed in this week’s PPCChat session.

Hosted by Julie Bacchini here is the screencap of the discussion:

Q1: How are you and your clients feeling going into Q4 2020? Optimistic? Excited? Nervous? Stressed? Pessimistic? All of the above?

We’re mostly optimistic and anticipatory over here about Q4. I see the election having a bigger potential impact on the market than covid at this point, so I guess we’ll see what happens there. – @PPCKirk

Pessimistic. With threats of rolling lockdowns over the next 6 months, a lot of businesses will, I reckon, throw in the towel. – @stevegibsonppc

Optimistic and nervous. it’s also the election that adds to the that – @360vardi

A little bit of everything I think. There is some anxiety about inventory and potential shipping issues. There is also a lot of excitement around how well sales have gone this year and a big holiday season. – @lchasse

definitely all of the above – seeing a lot more investment into paid across the board but also seeing expectations of quicker return and better attribution! – @DavidBawden7

I don’t have any e-comm clients right now, so the attitude about Q4 is not quite as fraught as it is with e-comm in the mix! That being said, most are I think hoping to not have it be terrible. Having it be strong would be like a bonus. – @NeptuneMoon

We’re feeling swell all around. Obviously who knows what’s ahead, but my clients have been seeing excellent performance and we have a lot of upcoming growth opportunities for my clients & @CypressNorth I also will always be stressed. It’s who I am. Crazy person. – @Mark_from_MKTG

There’s a bit of uncertainty on both sides coming into Q4. The season seems more grandiose every year, and this time it just feels like chaos. – @DenneyDara

Pessimistic. With threats of rolling lockdowns over the next 6 months, a lot of businesses will, I reckon, throw in the towel. – @stevegibsonppc

All of the above? In my mind, 2020 is going to be the most volatile + challenging Q4 we’ve ever experienced. In most years, just one of the half-dozen volatile elements we’re seeing would be enough to cause some grey hair…but all of them together is just.. – @DigitalSamIAm

From a high level, there’s: 1. An incredibly divisive election 2. The strong probability of an extended conflict post-election 3. A global pandemic w/ a likely 2nd/3rd wave 4. A severe recession 5. Google’s SRT changes pummeling visibility 6. FB going crazy – @DigitalSamIAm

Optimistic for a number of clients. We have been working our asses off the last 6 months and have stronger ecom business. Some have been revenue targets… now it’s pour gas on the fire. Other clients are nervous and stressed. Last 6 month have not been as kind – @duanebrown

very much a mish-mash. Everything is happening all at once, and we just called an election in this province. So I’m very much hurrying to launch, postpone and then launch again. – @JuliaVyse

Optimistic for the most part. Seeing a really positive September for most of my clients despite the recent happenings. A lot of my clients are sheltered from the COVID fallout, so an opportunity to remain creative. – @cjsoldwisch

case by case. Those in CPG are stoked, finance, luxury goods, not so much – @JonKagan

Q2: Are you currently managing B2B, B2C or both types of accounts? Is the general feeling different by B2B or B2C?

managing both. the feeling varies by vertical. This year some our B2B has seen a large increase in digital, but were hurt by no conferences – @360vardi

Mainly B2C. Straight B2C ecommerce seems generally resilient. Some B2B – especially those that involve face-to-face selling or implementation – are just dead. – @stevegibsonppc

90% of my clients are ecom, but I do have a couple B2B. Ecom is doing so well it is hard to beat how they feel, but B2B is still doing well with some exceptions for places that serve foot traffic. – @lchasse

I am primarily B2B at the moment. I’d say they are all just kind of wary and some are definitely nervous about the election and its potential aftermath, as well as pandemic related issues. – @NeptuneMoon

both. mostly B2C, which is still pretty stagnant. – @JuliaVyse

I only work with B2C/ecom accounts. We have a few B2B accounts at the agency and while Cyber Season is a discussion, it’s often not a long one. – @DenneyDara

B2B which seems to be varied from industry to industry – the companies that are investing in digital channels seem to be doing well on the whole though search volumes for technical niches seem to be down in our niches anyway! – @DavidBawden7

Mainly B2B, only one B2C account. As mentioned in A1, most of my B2B clients are essential and relatively sheltered from pandemic related items, but there is a lot more than a pandemic coming down the pipeline – @cjsoldwisch

Only B2B and thinking how to spend budget more efficiently as people start taking their days off – @andreacruz92

Mixed bag, but the B2B has slowed down noticeably – @JonKagan

B2C/DTC. I could be wrong, but I don’t think B2B sees the craziness of Q4 ads management like DTC does. – @RyBen3

Q3: In a normal year, we would be looking at YOY (year over year) data to make plans for and measure performance in Q4 – are you planning to do this this year? If not, what are you doing instead?

This is a great question. This year has been crazy, so basing next year’s budget on this year is tough to rationalize. I think it will be a mix of using 2019 data with this year to try and find what the reality will be. – @lchasse

right now we’re looking at recovery. YoY is still a business metric, so we can see if/how we’ve returned to normal sales. But planning is much shorter term right now. think Q1 plans rather than next year. – @JuliaVyse

For most of my clients we have switched to looking at Quarter over Quarter and Month over Month, and it’s been a much more helpful comparison. Performance is different from last year in far too many ways. – @Mark_from_MKTG

YoY is pretty much useless, as it PoP. So my solution is basically building a model off of a prior that Q4 2020 will behave more like Q2 2020 did — then layering on some election year adjustments. But it’s all a guess. – @DigitalSamIAm

We’re still looking at YoY data, but we’re cross analyzing it with growth/losses that have happened as a result of the pandemic. For many of my clients: business boomed during this time. I’m interested to see if that growth is sustainable YoY or if we dip back. – @DenneyDara

Yes, but also making a contingency month by month budget that will trigger based on certain parameters – @JonKagan

New year, new strategy. Can’t do what we did last year because so many things have changed (for the better). Looking at ways to engage audiences and create quality content along with a great LP experience has been my focus. – @RyBen3

I review it for my own curiosity, but for the most part, looking at MoM is more telling when factoring in changes made to web experience/strategy over a given month. – @cjsoldwisch·

still planning on looking YoY but also looking at how that trend line compares to last year. So are the trends for this year comparable to last year’s trends, even if the numbers are not directly comparable. – @anna_arrow

Still looking at YOY but also compared March & Q2 to what we did the last few years. Then try to figure out what Q4 growth could be this year based on what we did past years in Q4. It’s not perfect but I’m betting we can double sales for some clients YOY in Q4 – @duanebrown

Q4: Do you have anything planned that is drastically different from what you have done in the past for any accounts? If so, what and why is it different this year?

it’s mostly about overlap. with everything suddenly on at once, I’m very aggressively managing audience and keyword overlap on all platforms. – @JuliaVyse

I’ve sold out of top inventory on Black Friday before and had to cancel Cyber Monday sales because of that (blessing and a curse leaving $$ on the table by poor forecasts). Trying to avoid that this year and we’ve prepped well for it. As best we can anyway. – @RyBen3

The biggest change for this year is encouraging my clients to approach Q4 as more of a “Cyber Season” as opposed to the week we had in years past. With bigger retailers starting their offers as early as October 1, we’re trying to remain competitive w/ offers. – @DenneyDara

1) Scope of work: There’s just a lot more for every step of every campaign 2) Trust the fungus: Work with recommendations & new best practices to re-align my industry standard 3) BHAG: Get back to “big ideas” and working backward to strategy & tactics – @ferkungamaboobo

Going to do advertising through Hulu. Because of the growth in Connected TV and rising costs of programmatic vendors that used to also used connected TV – @360vardi

Ya, for some SaaS accts. we already have plans in place to just shut things off during Q4 spikes and turn stuff back on later in the yr. For an ecomm, we’re gonna focus more spend a month before BF. & not the day/week of. Reasons for both. But different than usual – @timmhalloran

For one SaaS client we are shifting to on demand webinar downloads as the primary LinkedIn offer, which I previously would have never done, but we have a ton due to COVID. CPLs are crazy low ($8 for some campaigns) and we’re seeing SQLs. – @Mark_from_MKTG

we are *really* clearing our plates of our normal optimizations more purposefully around BFCM this year so we already have the bandwidth for inevitable weirdness. And, less changes probably means more stability anyway, so win win. – @PPCKirk

Inventory management has always been a focal point, but this year it is more of a focal point. Top products for some ecom vendors are difficult to source with the current demand and this impacts a lot of marketing work from emails, PPC, and even catalogs. – @lchasse

Not sure I’d call it drastic, but using the recent #GoogleAds search term report changes as a hinge to encourage more time/$ investment into webpage/landing page content revisions and content offers for – @cjsoldwisch

Don’t underestimate the power of Amazon Prime day either. Whether you’re on Amazon or not, people are in the mindset to buy on Prime Day. I think Q4 sales/traffic will really start moving/converting from that day to Christmas. – @RyBen3

Less linear TV, more YouTube (we all knew this was coming) – @JonKagan

Q5: Are you trying anything new for Q4 2020? New platforms? New ad types? Sorcery? Prayer? Going full automation?

starting my black friday sales on October 1st. – @JonKagan

It’s not all about conversions (at first anyway). This is a great time for people to discover your brand and give them a try. Create a powerful Value Add to entice them and get them to try your top products. iOS Pixel/cookie blocking is moving it that way. – @RyBen3

Trying our hand at what Google Screened can provide. It’ll be interesting to see those results across industries. Also testing some more automated bidding strategies as they haven’t done well in the past. And let’s be honest, prayer never hurt. – @anna_arrow

I’m advocating to diversify as much as possible for Q4. Platforms (SMS & Snapchat are my go-tos!), Content (mobile-first video, UGC, etc), and offers (special bundles, free gift, etc) are core parts of my strategy. I trust the AI, but am nervous for the creative. – @DenneyDara

Would love to try some sorcery in Q4 to combat whatever the heck Google is doing. Big changes are trying new offer types, investing more outside of Google, shifting back to more manual less automation, and being more proactive with negatives – @Mark_from_MKTG

I’m making @andreacruz92‘s keyword planner negative strategy as well as anticipating close variants and adding as EXM negatives as part of my launch process for search. I also expect to do a lot more retargeting. – @Mark_from_MKTG

Hulu for one client, but mostly budgets are low enough that we’re looking for tried and true. – @JuliaVyse

I am advocating more video advertising with clients. Still feel like this is underused. – @lchasse

Q6: Amazon Prime Days are coming up in 2 weeks – does this impact anything you were planning for Q4 2020?

You can’t ignore it. There are ways to get people to your website that day without having an Amazon store. People are in buying mode-capture that demand. Find what works for your brand. – @RyBen3

I have several Amazon clients, so yeah we are already pretty busy with campaigns and offers. A lot of other search engines also get more traffic though. – @lchasse

No, because at this point in the pandemic, prime day is as relevant as International Bacon Day (9/5) and National Bacon Day (12/30). Unrelated, my bacon client, I’ve got coupon codes if anyone wants some 🙂 – @JonKagan

Q7: Facebook is dropping their attribution window from 28 days down to only 7 – will this impact your accounts? What, if anything, are you planning to do as a result of this change?

probably not for us. But I can see it playing hell with sales data. – @JuliaVyse

Going to keep using it for in-channel conversion metrics via the API through Power BI for the time being but long-term we’ll switch it to 7-day. Maybe EOY? Annoying they recommended it for a decade then are like, “ehh it’s not great so u shouldn’t use it anyway” – @timmhalloran

I’m still trying to figure out what this means exactly for my clients, especially the ones with longer conversion windows. (One of my clients sells a $1600 product.) I’m pretty uncertain about this new development so… we’ll see. – @DenneyDara

It’s like facebook doesn’t want people to like them – @JonKagan

This is definitely going to cause some issues for a few of our higher-price-point B2C clients, as well as our Recruiting clients. We’re planning to use historical data as a prior for modeling to adjust, plus more audiences to segment + some action sets. – @DigitalSamIAm

For the first time since I started PPC I’m actually not doing any FB right now. DB2B this won’t affect me much. I mostly use lead gen forms, and when I use LPs I’ll still be able to see the conversion in the CRM. It’s not like the 28 day CV window helps automation. – @Mark_from_MKTG

This will have an impact on all of our ad reporting. We’re looking into alternative attribution windows (possibly going all in with Google Analytics) for measuring ROAS. – @GarySpags

I only do FB for a couple clients, but if you use source codes in your links, you can still do fiscal reporting through your analytics platform. – @lchasse

Not a big deal. I’ve never liked the 28-day window anyway. It’s always been over-inflated. – @RyBen3

Q8: Any bold predictions for Q4 2020?

Google Ads makes broad match extra broad – @andreacruz92

Prediction: Google eliminates match types and manual CPC to double down on how much they hate us. – @Mark_from_MKTG

I think shipping is going to be a major issue. Even for those who have a solid supply chain and setup. And the election is such a wild card – @NeptuneMoon

I don’t think this is bold, but I think this will be the biggest Q4 in online consumer spending in years when measured by quarter. I don’t think this will be the biggest Black Friday/Cyber Monday because the sales will be all throughout the quarter. – @RyBen3

Google will make changes that increase the alcohol consumption by marketers by more than 50%. – @lchasse

I don’t like this game….but (IMO): 1. Google makes another crazy change (I think it’s going to be a nerf to negatives, 2. Non-traditional platforms (TikTok, Snap, etc.) might emerge as FB becomes way too political 3. I’m better on MSFT being good – @DigitalSamIAm

but if we’re going bigger than platforms, then: 1. COVID 2nd/3rd wave hits hard; data is spotty + people don’t trust the numbers 2. Significant disruptions to supply chains, especially in cities due to unrest 3. Political season extends into December – @DigitalSamIAm

On the positive side: 1. US passes another significant ($1.5T+) stimulus that hits before BF/CM 2. COVID + strange times makes eComm more effective, but extends BF/CM 3. Non-traditional channels allow for meaningful diversification + start to check FB/G – @DigitalSamIAm

I have 2 predictions, both contradicting each other. 1: Cyber Season will not only be the biggest so far… but the biggest for the next 2-3 years due to ecom growth during COVID19. 2: Because the buying season is extended, it won’t be as impactful. – @DenneyDara

My money is on the murder wasps making a comeback, and we declare war on a really random/tiny place that makes no sense like Anguilla or Nauru – @JonKagan

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