Business Marketing

Advertising During a Recession

The novel coronavirus has spurred an economic shutdown across the globe. As businesses slowly begin to reopen, there is much uncertainly as to how our economy will respond and if the United States is headed towards a recession.

It can be difficult to remain calm when a recession hits, but history shows brands that continue advertising and marketing during a recession come out stronger in the end. Numerous studies that go back decades point out the advantages of maintaining and even increasing advertising budgets during an economic slowdown. Companies that maintained or grew their ad spending saw an increase in sales and market share during the recession as well as afterwards.


During the Great Depression, Post cereal (the industry leader in the 1920s) significantly cut its advertising budget while Kellogg’s cereal doubled its advertising spend. Kellogg’s invested heavily in radio advertising and introduced a new cereal called Rise Krispies, featuring the “Snap” “Crackle” and “Pop” campaign. Kellogg’s profits skyrocketed by 30% and secured the company as the new dry cereal industry leader, a position they would hold for decades to come.


In 1973, America experienced a 17-month recession brought on by the energy crisis. When the U.S. government issued its first miles-per-gallon report, Toyota Corolla ranked second to Honda Civic in fuel efficiency. With Toyota already experiencing strong sales, the impulse was to cut advertising spend when the recession hit. Instead, the company resisted this urge and stuck to its long-term advertising strategy. As a result, by 1976, Toyota surpassed Volkswagen as the top imported car manufacturer in the U.S.

Fast Food Restaurants

During the 1990-91 recession, McDonald’s dropped its advertising and promotion budget while Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of this decision by ramping up their advertising spend. As a result, Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%, Taco Bell grew sales by 40%, and McDonald’s sales decreased by 28%.

“Rather than wait for business to return to normal, top executives should cash in on the opportunity that the rival companies are creating for them. The company courageous enough to stay in and fight when everyone else is playing safe can bring about a dramatic change in market position.” – Dhalla, Harvard Business Review.

Common misconceptions for cutting advertising in a recession  

  • Advertising would be wasted because people do not have money.
  • Competitors are slashing ad spending, so we should do the same.
  • Money saved on ad spend can help pay dividends.

Reasons to advertise during an economic slowdown

  • The ‘noise level’ in a brand’s industry can significantly drop when other competitors cut back on their advertising spend.
  • Continuing to keep your brand in front of consumers gives the sense of company stability during difficult times.
  • The cost of advertising drops during a recession which creates a ‘buyer’s market’ for businesses.

During an economic downturn, the best course of action is to protect your brand’s investment. To do so, businesses must safeguard the equity accrued through their marketing and advertising efforts. If companies slash their advertising budget and go dark during a recession period, the cost to regain a share of voice in the market once the economy recovers may cost much more than the ad budget cuts initially saved.

As a popular adage states, “When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.”
Business Digital Marketing

How to Drive Quality Traffic to Your Website

Website traffic is an important indicator of business performance. It can help determine how well your marketing is working, gather insights about your audience, generate leads and increase conversions. To achieve this, it is important to make sure your business is driving traffic to your website the right way by focusing on attracting quality traffic.

There is no one set-it-and-forget-it tool that can be used to generate high-quality traffic. Instead, it requires the use of multiple channels, creative strategies, and close monitoring of website performance to determine what avenues are providing the best return for your business.

Social Media Ads

With over 3 billion active social media users around the world, it is a no-brainer for businesses to utilize this channel for driving traffic to their site. To maximize website traffic conversions in a crowded social media space, businesses must make sure their ads are seen by the right people.

Facebook Pixel is an extremely useful analytics tool that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your social media advertising. By placing the pixel code from Facebook to your website, you can measure the actions taken on your site and tailor your ads to be more relevant to your audience.

Google Ads

From display ads to paid search, Google ads are a highly effective tool for driving traffic to your website. To attract quality traffic that converts, it is imperative to target high commercial intent keywords as part of your paid search strategy. While the competition for these search terms can be high (and often expensive), the payoff can be well worth it.

Re-Targeting Ads

Re-targeting ads are an excellent way to direct traffic back to your website to complete a conversion. These ads focus on people who have already visited your website but have left your site without completing a sale. Using re-targeting ads is a great way to aggressively market to those people via Google’s search engine and social media shortly after they have left your website.

Instagram Shoppable Posts

A recent study found that over 72% of Instagram users have purchased a product on the app. With such high engagement, Instagram has become a widely used channel for business promotion. Instagram has introduced a new feature for e-commerce stores to create what is called a ‘Shoppable Post.’ This gives businesses a way to tag images on Instagram with individual product links, making it easy followers to shop your website directly from your post.

On-Page SEO

If you think SEO is dead, think again. Optimizing your on-page website content for search engines is still a very valuable practice. To boost traffic organically, make sure you are making the most of meta descriptions, image alt text, and internal links to new content. It is also important that your content is captivating to users. All website blogs should include an enticing title that will pique readers’ interest. These on-page SEO strategies will help make your content more clickable, shareable, and even make it rank better in Google’s search engine results, ultimately increasing website traffic.