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Pattern89’s COVID-19 Study: How are Facebook ads affected?

Bridget Johnston March 18, 2020

While we’re practicing social distancing, we know that online traffic is soaring. Along with everything else, COVID-19 affects Facebook ads. Pattern89 conducted a study on the 150 billion impressions’ worth of data to find key insights you can put to work today. 

Every marketer is different. Every account is different. Get a free audit your Facebook ad account today.

But in the meantime, here are some key learnings: 

“Socially distanced” consumers are online, and those consumer behaviors are different than last week.

Nielsen reports that 73% of consumers use their phone while watching television, so no matter how consumers are distancing, it’s time to build the full funnel (at the lowest cost) as consumers deal with uncertainty.

Covid-19 and Facebook ad performance: what's the impact?

Audit Facebook ad creative for performance of “social distancing” images/videos.

Our computer vision AI identified that social distancing is already showing itself in imagery and video, with a 30% drop in the use of “human connection” imagery just on March 12th. Further, we identified a 12% drop in the use of “human connection” imagery between February and March (e.g. shaking hands, holding hands, hugging, kissing, etc.
Covid-19 and Facebook ads: Social distancing


Even if you’re not a travel brand, travel creative may impact performance.

There was an 8% drop in the use of “travel” imagery (e.g. world, flights, control towers, airports, airplanes) between the same 13 day period (February 1-13, 2020 to March 1-13, 2020). Audit your creative to find other ways that COVID-19 might be impacting your results–medical imagery, travel imagery, and others may impact performance. 

Covid-19 and Facebook ads: How is travel imagery being used?

Update the copy.

Pattern89’s natural language processing (NLP) Copywriting identified that headline and copy text with words like “rest” and sleep” are spiking in use while others like “world” and “health” are abruptly declining in use.

Use of sick emojis.

Many marketers use emojis to convey emotion and tone. On March 5, 2020, the face mask ?emoji started to appear in  headlines and body copy of ads while other emojis may have a different meaning in the face of COVID-19, and impact performance. 

covid-19 and facebook ads: how are copy and emojis affected?

In uncertain times, AI knows exactly how to best optimize your ads and predict future performance.

Pattern89 offers automated optimizations, predictions and creative analysis that can take some work off your plate so you can focus on strategy and building new creative to address real-time events.

So, now what? Get a free account audit here in two clicks.