How Covid19 Has Impacted Digital Marketing Trends and Strategies
Digital marketing, ever since its conception, has been a turbulent, quickly-evolving industry. What’s topical one month might not be effective the next month – or even the next week. Digital marketing is the face of the future, but it can be tricky to get the timing right. To make matters even murkier, COVID-19 has impacted the worldwide economy, and there are sure to be ripple effects over the next few years, including changes to digital marketing.
Saying “resistance is futile” might seem overdramatic, but it’s true. In order for businesses to remain successful, they must embrace the changes in digital marketing rather than clinging to old techniques. But, first, you must learn what exactly these changes are.
This is where we can help. At Improvado, we study every digital marketing trend with a close eye. Today, we’re going to share some of our insights with you. Read on to learn about the changes in the digital marketing industry, which organizations have been impacted the most (and how), and the ways in which you can adjust your marketing practices.
The State of Digital Marketing: Pre-COVID
Before the COVID-19 pandemic vastly altered the state of 2020, prominent and measurable digital marketing trends were apparent: influencer marketing, video marketing, engagement-based email marketing, and micro-moments.
It was clear that digital marketing was transforming in order to keep up with new technologies – for instance, AI solutions are being integrated within the market. Furthermore, changing consumer preferences were addressed, like personalized, relevant content, and ads.
The Shift in a COVID World: Online Engagement
Even though we were already heading towards a digital world, COVID shortened the timeline. People were suddenly stuck at home during social isolation, meaning that they spent more time online than ever. And the ways that we are spending our time online are more diverse than ever. Entertainment, virtual learning, career development, telehealth, remote work – these are all just a few of the hundreds of areas that consumers engage with over the web.
Businesses can also see this shift in the interests and behavior of consumers – thus, they are changing tactics and reallocating budgets to solve new challenges (limited amounts of in-person experiences, new, remote workspaces, unprecedented safety rules, and so on). Here are some concrete ways that companies have had to adjust to the dynamic market changes.
1. Acceleration of Social Media
Over the past few years, there has been a trend of “unplugging” – social media users would proclaim that they were “taking a break” from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other forms of social media. Social platforms were beginning to gain a notorious reputation for oversharing and facilitating a breeding ground for jealousy. With the pandemic-induced lockdown, however, consumers turned to social media as a way to keep in touch with friends and family. Plus, the entertainment factor helped people keep their minds off of the confusing state of the world.
In a study carried out by Global Web Index, 43% of respondents said they have been spending more time on their social channels due to the pandemic. And, more importantly, nearly 20% stated that they would probably continue using social media more frequently even after COVID-19 has subsided. It is clear that the pandemic has caused the evolution and diversification of social media usage in the average consumer’s life – and this can be leveraged for digital marketing.
Yet, there is even more to consider: various social media platforms have different attitudes and guidelines when it comes to mentioning COVID-19. For instance, TikTok has had many trending moments revolving around the pandemic.
There are nearly 2400 videos made with the “COVID19 anthem” playing in the background, in which essential workers show themselves gearing up for workdays that could put their lives at risk. Health workers can even post videos on TikTok and convey public health messages.
Facebook, on the other hand, takes a much stricter stance when it comes to what COVID-19 related content is allowed to be published. All ads that mention the virus have been blocked, and advertisements for sanitizer and masks have been blocked. Thus, do your due diligence before publishing an ad campaign related to COVID-19 on any social media platform. Research the platform’s stance to make sure that your ad won’t be throttled.
2. Virtual Events
Digital events have increased by an astonishing 1,000%, and this is directly correlated to COVID-19. Zoom meetings, webinars, online conferences – all of these are excellent opportunities for marketers to advertise their services, showcase innovative products, and participate in professional collaborative experiences.
Now, more than ever, you can easily gain exposure to your brand, convert viewers to customers, and grow your business by hosting a virtual event. Some options include publishing a video series, hosting a Facebook live session, or scheduling a webinar with an expert speaker.
Digital events can be attended at the consumer’s convenience, and they facilitate safety during the times of COVID-19. We anticipate that this trend will actually remain long after the pandemic subsides. Virtual events are simply more convenient, more affordable, and more practical than hosting in-person ones.
3. Personalization and Transparency
Social media users are more invested in brands’ ideals than ever before. Just look at the rise of “cancel culture” for proof. If a company publishes social media posts that are non-inclusive, use gendered language, or contain material that could be considered offensive to a marginalized group, hundreds upon thousands of people may call for a boycott of the brand. However, it is not enough to simply avoid being offensive.
Consumers expect companies to make statements about their support for social movements, such as #BLM and #MeToo.
This doesn’t mean, though, that a brand’s social media needs to be solely focused on being “woke.” Consumers also love to see a company’s personal side, and they respond favorably to humor and inspiring stories about employees. Adding a humanizing touch to your digital presence goes a long way towards gaining customer loyalty.
4. Multi-Channel Marketing
One highly effective, viable marketing tactic is multi-channel (or omnichannel) marketing. Leveraging this helps you maximize returns on your company’s marketing budget by expanding reach across multiple ad platforms.
With a multi-channel approach, you may invest in a wide variety of strategies and platforms, including:
- Social media marketing
- Direct marketing
- Mobile advertising
- Endorsements and sponsorships
And many more! 70% of consumers utilize 3+ channels, so it’s a good idea to diversify your marketing content. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be a very difficult task. Play smart, not hard! Pull materials from your blog or case study content to create ad content, social posts, and videos.
5. Shift From Long-Term to Short-Term Marketing
Right now, the global economy is in an unstable place: to match that, companies are doing what they can to stay afloat and changing marketing tactics to short-term solutions. With the shift to remote work, increased unemployment rates, and an altogether uncertain atmosphere, customers are facing many challenges, and digital marketing must be adjusted, for now, to address that. Think about what your target base needs and wants during this period of time.
Keep in mind that your analytics metrics may be affected in the short-term due to the influx of employees working remotely. Their inboxes are likely fuller than ever with work-related memos – thus, your own emails may suffer from lack of engagement. Keep a careful eye on each of your digital marketing campaigns; aim for daily management so you can quickly react to changes in engagement.
Which Industries Have Been Impacted the Most?
Some of the industries that have been heavily hit by COVID-19 include:
- Public transportation. Most countries are advising residents against using public transport services except for essential journeys. Thus, coach, bus, and minibus companies have fallen into crisis.
- Ride-sharing and taxi companies. Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services (plus taxi companies) have had a dwindling base of riders. Some services, such as Uber, are hemorrhaging cash due to the financial aid they must provide drivers who quarantine after being exposed to COVID on the job.
- Charities. This seems rather unexpected, as charitable need is at an all-time high. However, while the demand for charity services has grown, the volunteer workforce has drastically fallen.
- Farming. This may seem like another unexpected hit, but it makes sense: due to shop closures, farmers are struggling to sell all of their products. The Dairy Farmers of America organization has stated that US farmers collectively threw away 3.7 million gallons of milk daily during the worst of the pandemic.
- Automobile industry. Automakers were hit hard by the pandemic because of three factors: the closure of dealerships and factories, disruptions of the supply chain, and a sharp declination of consumer demand. In the US, this is the worst year for car sales since the Great Depression.
- Oil and gas. The price of crude oil, at the time of writing, is $49.18 per barrel. While this is better than during the height of the pandemic (at $18/barrel in April), it is still much lower than at the beginning of 2020. Experts predict that the price per barrel won’t fully recover until 2022 – and still, due to the advent of electric cars, it is possible the price won’t recover at all.
Because of the negative effects of COVID-19 upon myriad industries, corporations are intensifying and updating their marketing approaches in order to add to their customer base. With steady and well-planned digital marketing, the future can once again be bright.
How to Choose the Most Effective Advertising Channels for Your Niche
Picking the best advertising channels for your brand is all about strategically building a web of engagement and messaging that allows your target audience to follow your brand seamlessly, no matter where they are. We touched upon a few advertising channels during Point #5, but here is how you can determine which avenues work best for your individual brand.
- Pay attention to your budget. Figure out how much marketing money you have to work with. Working with exact numbers will help you narrow down channels and place priority upon ones that give you the greatest ROI.
- Make sure your ads have substance. Spending lots of money doesn’t guarantee great results – but utilizing good branding and snappy writing will definitely help.
- Understand and define your brand, value proposition, and product. Doing so helps companies create a message that attests to who they are.
- Know your audience. This doesn’t just mean who they are or where they shop. You must also pay attention to their values and adjust your messaging accordingly.
- Research where the competition is advertised. This may lead you to unexpected channels that deliver great ROI.
- Most importantly, set realistic goals and measure them regularly. This is, ultimately, the best way to refine your marketing strategy.
Key Takeaway: Measure Ad Campaign Metrics and Make Data-Driven Changes
Data-driven marketing is impossible if you don’t measure your ad campaign metrics. If you are an enterprise company or brand, Improvado is the premier tool for analyzing the results of your marketing launches. Our software centralizes all of your marketing data from across 200+ connectors, compiling them into one solution. Improvado collects, clean, and normalisze your marketing data and loads it into visualization tool you use, so you can see marketing trends and results with just a glance.
While COVID-19 has negatively impacted companies across the globe, we can directly influence how long those effects last. With an excellent, data-driven marketing strategy, you can get back on your feet much faster. If you’re interested in learning how Improvado can help you revolutionize your brand’s digital marketing, get a demo today.