Why Clients Need Reporting on COVID-19 in Datorama

07.30.2020
Mark Sundermeier

This post was authored by Mark Sundermeier, Senior Marketing Analyst at R&R Partners and Datorama Marketing Champion.

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted brands and agencies across all industries, as services have been disrupted and messaging has changed. With so much disruption happening so quickly, clients needed data access as close to real time as possible, in order to react to the situation. At R&R Partners, an independent brand-innovation agency, two of our clients in particular have had consistent needs around the COVID-19 crisis.

One was a health care client that switched its creative messaging to COVID-19-related topics as soon as the crisis hit and needed to quickly monitor media performance as well as community trends. The other client was a travel destination client. With the tourism industry on hold for months, this client needed to monitor industry trends and data in order to understand when visitors would be likely to return.

For both of these clients, tracking this data in Datorama is very important for the long-term health of the companies. For the health care client, one of its long-term goals is to be an industry leader in health care. Showing that it is ahead of trends in alerting its customers to the latest messaging and information around COVID-19 makes them a trusted and valued source. Also, by creating tools for the COVID-19 crisis, such as a symptom tracker, it’s building trust and awareness in the community. With a foundation in trust, this health care client will be able to communicate to potential patients when it’s OK to return for elective procedures, which are an important part of the health care industry.

For the travel destination client, tourism metrics have been completely volatile during the pandemic. The long-term health of tourism in this destination depends on the client understanding the exact right time to turn on its messaging and encourage people to come back to visit. Similar to the health care client, the travel destination client wants potential visitors to have trust in its advertising and messaging in order to make informed decisions.

Internal media and account teams at R&R, and our clients themselves, were able to utilize and collaborate using Datorama dashboards. For the media teams, monitoring trends related to the COVID-19 crisis gives them an idea of when to turn back on media messaging and what creative to run. It also helps track which creative messages are performing better when media does become live again. For the account team, the dashboards help summarize the holistic picture of data, so they know how to communicate with our clients during this fluid situation. And, ultimately, for our clients, giving them access helps us as an advertising agency become a more transparent and actionable partner. By having access to key trends in an easy-to-view format, clients feel more informed in order to make critical decisions in a time of crisis.

Here are some key sources that can be used for tracking COVID-19 trends in Datorama:

1. Google Trends

Publicly available data is a key component to tracking data for the COVID-19 crisis. One easy-to-access, publicly available data source is Google Trends. By looking at the trends of what people are searching for, one can get an idea of what topics are top of mind for potential customers, and what is growing or shrinking as part of the consumer mindset. There are several ways to use Google Trends data in Datorama. For one client, we decided to use embedded widgets that automatically update. This way, we can decide what terms we’re looking to monitor and ensure that they’re automatically updated, removing manual processes. For the other client, we decided to export Google Trends data into a Google Sheet in order to have the flexibility to show terms trending against each other over time.

2. Social Listening Data

Another publicly available data source we used was social listening through our platform, Crimson Hexagon. Social listening allows us to aggregate social media conversations in order to see what topics are trending and how they’re being talked about. Twitter is the main source of data since its users tend to have posts readable to the public. For the health care client, social listening has been used to monitor all conversation in its region that contains COVID-19-related terms. From there, we included the trend of conversation types (positive, neutral, negative) on the dashboard, as well as showing topic waves and key posts. For the travel destination client, we monitored buckets of conversation by intent to travel. Posts were bucketed as Desire to Travel, Traveling Now or Waiting Until It Is Safe. We also looked at topics of conversation around travel for what people want to do after the pandemic is over.

3. Airline data

For the travel destination client, another data source used was airline data. In order to monitor when people are starting to travel again, airline data is an important indicator. We used trends for airline capacity from different cities to the destination as an indicator to when demand may be rising from different regions. We also looked at overall flights and seats.

4. Client data

Lastly, client data has played an important role in tracking the pandemic. One great source is using Google Analytics to track organic visits to a website, and how that behavior has been changing in recent months. This is often an early indicator of consumer interest returning, and also a good glimpse into what they are looking for. Another good indicator is looking at media performance metrics. For the health care client, it ran COVID-19-related media on different topics, so looking at the engagement metrics for the media platforms through its APIs with Datorama helped track what messages consumers were interested in. For our travel destination client, our agency also has proprietary research data on travel and the destination, which were incorporated into Datorama. It’s used in conjunction with proprietary tracking research to inform decisions.

With Datorama, R&R has been able to ingest all of these different types of data, for a holistic view of how COVID-19 trends are impacting critical marketing decisions to stabilize and ultimately grow their clients’ businesses across two of the most impacted industries, travel and health care.

To learn specific tips & tricks around how marketers can use Datorama amidst new realities, check out our webinar here.

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