The COVID-19 pandemic is raging throughout the world and governments are trying to grapple with the problems created by the virus.
As a business using digital marketing extensively you are wondering how you can adapt to the changing situation on the ground.
The COVID-19 pandemic perhaps will impact consumer behavior in three ways.
The first is the well underway short term during which no one can predict behavior. The second is the midterm during which researchers will develop a vaccine, and some consumer behavior parameters will change. The third is the long term where some consumer behavior parameters will change irreversibly and some others will return to pre-COVID era and new patterns may emerge.
In such a scenario here are some of the short term changes that are happening:
1. According to a consumer survey, there are significant increases in at-home activities, particularly cooking at home, watching television, browsing social media and exercising at home and an increase in online spend, growing 10%-30% across grocery and non-grocery purchases.
2. Global events impact PPC performance and the impact of COVID-19 is no different at the macro level. According to this article, there has been a 7% fall in the average Google search ad impressions. Although the fall is not too significant what is significant is the behavior of searchers.
COVID-19 has caused a drop of 21% in conversion rates. Searchers seem to be searching for new things and advertisers depending on traditional PPC strategies are finding it difficult to justify their PPC ad spends.
The experience of industries with Google Ads reveals quite a story. COVID-19 has impacted various industries differently.
The impact can be classified as positive, neutral and negative. Here are the industries coming under each category:
1. Positive impact
The industries reporting a positive impact are the following:
- Non-profit and charities
- Health and medical
- Business management
- Beauty and personal care
- On-demand media
- Greetings, gifts and flowers
2. Neutral impact
The industries reporting a neutral impact are the following:
- Real estate
- Home improvement
- Home furniture
- Jobs and education
- Legal services
3. Negative impact
The industries reporting a negative impact are the following:
- Travel and tourism
- Bars and restaurants
- Live entertainment
- Sports and fitness
- Building and construction
- Industrial and manufacturing
If you are in any of the above industries you can pursue the strategies given below to ensure you stay competitive and increase your market share:
1. Tweak your SEO strategy to adapt to changed situations. You can take the help of experts to improve your website’s SEO through Infintech Designs.
Your SEO efforts should include copy, headlines, backlinks, more target keywords and fresh content. You should also closely track keywords (by using a keyword tool) especially new ones to weed out negative keywords quickly.
2. The nature of searches is dynamic, and advertisers should monitor Trending Insights put out by Google regularly to be able to pick and choose their media vehicles to place their ads.
3. Explore cross-network opportunities as online surfing is changing its dynamics from simple Google search to other online activities.
4. Consider changing your advertising media vehicle mix. Explore YouTube and Google Display Network, which has shown significant increase of 21% and 13% respectively since the beginning of the month. Choosing other networks is beneficial as you can garner more customers from the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
5. Consider social media as a dominant media because COVID-19 has ramped up social media usage as much as 38%.
6. Since COVID-19 is affecting every individual it is beneficial if you tweak the message stance to be subtly compassionate. This will make customers see you as caring and will remember you when normalcy returns.
7. Take a relook at your website and make suitable modifications to include chat, personalization and augmented reality functionalities.
8. Use video-based technologies such as Skype, Zoom and YouTube to connect with customers individually and collectively.
As mentioned earlier, the impact of COVID-19 is undeniable but different in different industries.
The nature of impact described above is a pointer to businesses who depend on digital marketing strategies to market their products and services.
Even brick and mortar companies who don’t have a digital presence should quickly launch online services to take advantage of the changed behavior of customers so as not to lose their existing customers.
In fact, this is the most opportune time for you to enter the digital marketing space.
Remember, the more nimble you are the more customers for you. The agile advertisers can use the changed circumstances to fine tune their digital marketing strategies to ensure they get more bang for their advertising buck.