Digital Marketing Trends Pre and Post COVID

While it’s been over six months since the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s still an active virus impacting the United States and therefore, consumers and business daily. We’ve seen several adjustments to how companies are advertising and how consumers are responding and proactively approaching the market as well.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, global advertising investment was estimated to grow at a 7.1% clip in 2020.  Now, it is estimated to see a rough contraction of 8.1%.

Digital marketing trends during covid

“Telecoms & Utilities”, which will experience a 4.3% increase in ad spend throughout the year as more consumers spend increased time at home using more utilities.

Even factoring in the pandemic, most online mediums will see an increase in spending according to Medium. Specifically:

  • Social media: 9.8%
  • Online video: 5%
  • Online display: 2-3%
  • Search: 1-2%

However, that’s compared to rates of 12-20% pre-pandemic which is to say that digital ad spending is seeing a rebound although it’s still off plan.

That said, 73% of media buyers indicate that Coronavirus will have an impact on Upfront 2020 and 2021 spend commitments and expect a 20% decrease in upfront spend v. original plan.

e-Commerce is a leader during covid

For those willing to invest, there’s good news. Online CVR (Conversion Rate) was up 8.8% in February showing that the dollars that are being invested are working at rates similar to Cyber Monday.

According to SEMRush, the “BUY ONLINE” keyword search volume skyrocketed in March globally for up to 27K searches per month showing consumers are ready to shop, and buy, online. Recent studies conducted at the end of Q1’2020 show that 24% of customers won’t be comfortable shopping at malls for the next 6 mos.

Even more good news is that a recent survey by Engine found that people are spending 10-30% more online so advertiser dollars are working harder than ever. This may be why West Elm invested in WFM Virtual Backgrounds. This is a creative way to drive traffic to their site while millions of Americans work from home.

Another company taking advantage of the pandemic is Bissell. They hosted online sessions of how to use steam tools and sales of their steam mop went up 500% Y/Y. One of the Top 5 Home Improvement stores has seen eCommerce jump 700% M/M.

Surprisingly, even with the increase in CVR, the jump in online shopping and these success stories, ad spends were down across the board for large and small retailers spending under $1M/mo. when comparing March and Feb. ad spends. by 1-9%. For those spending more than $1M/mo. they were up by 5.6%.

The same goes for industries, they were down across the board with travel hit the hardest however, Beauty & Fitness was up 28.9%.

Here’s the catch: With ad spend down, the cost of advertising is down as well so now is the time to get in the game. CPC (Cost Per Click) is down across the board with few exceptions such as Beauty/Skincare, Home & Garden and Jewelry.

Five tips for standing out during covid

  1. With the changing landscape, look for new opportunities. With the new online habits, consumers are online at times marketers never considered targeting. So, you may want to shift your advertising to the times best suited for your audience before your competitors figure it out.
  2. You can capitalize on the rise of media traffic and news outlets related to the constant stream of breaking news, and target these platforms with your online advertising at a lower cost than before the coronavirus pandemic.
  3. The key idea of marketing and advertising in the new coronavirus and post-COVID-19 era is to adapt to the new customer. So, keep things digital and map out how your target audience’s lifestyle is changing. For example, Nike stopped subscription fees for NTC Premium Service which gains them new customers. Post pandemic they’ll be able to monetize on these customers.
  4. Locate them at the right place and at the right time, and if you are willing to allocate some ad budget, you can now reach them at an unprecedented cost.
  5. Your messaging might also need to change along with customer behavior. You can advertise new deals, offer customer-friendly loans for your services, or just shift your entire marketing message to meet the altered customer demand.

5 Digital Marketing Ideas During Coronavirus

It will get better. Stay positive.

For many businesses things have become very difficult right now. If you’re one of the few businesses thriving, good for you. If not, know that it will get better. As the United States Surgeon General said on Monday, “Things are going to get worse before they get better.”

That doesn’t mean they won’t get better but it does mean we need to stick together to weather the storm. 

learn from history and invest in your business

We’ve been through difficult times before, from the 2008 financial crisis to the Great Depression. Take the lessons from those times that companies have learned and invest in your business. Here are 4 of those lessons:

  1. Innovation counts—Successful businesses offer new products and services often and quickly adopt new technology.
  2. Get help—Networking, hiring consultants and setting up an advisory board are ways successful businesses get external advice.
  3. Map it out—Developing a strategic marketing plan with specific targets will help to keep your business on track even as economic conditions change.
  4. Master financial management—Keeping tabs on your finances allows you to plan better, see trouble brewing and react quickly.

Harvard Business Review study of 4,500+  companies analyzed three years before, during and after recessions identified the percentage of companies that outperformed their rivals: 21% for businesses that opted for a prevention focus (more cost-cutting) and 37% for a more progressive focus. The study found that “firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish. They have the lowest profitability (21%) of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better.”

In another report, done by Bain, it was found that getting it right during the lean years has a marked impact on a company’s growth rate after the economy improves.

5 Digital marketing ideas during the coronavirus

connect with customers on social media

Whether you’re new to social media or your company is a pro at it, now is THE time to engage your customers on social media. With the majority of the American workforce, and even global workforce, working from home they’re spending more time on social networks than ever before and have a greater possibility of connecting with, and buying from, your company.

For tips on connecting with your customers on social media during this pandemic, read our blog on Embracing Social Media During Social Distancing”. For those of you doing good deeds, giving back to the community, offering free food to truckers, sewing masks for healthcare workers, giving small businesses discounts, promote those good deeds on social media. 

ensure you can be found online

It likely comes as no surprise that Google search traffic has increased significantly over the past week and a half and will continue to climb as we comply with the shelter-at-home and social distancing guidelines. We’re all online, be it on our smartphones, computers or tablets – looking for updates on the news – or looking to get away from the news and find ways to pass the time. For many, that includes shopping online.

Anything online right now will be consumed more than ever before. This is not the time to be hidden online. You should be using search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to climb to the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) so your business can be easily found. This is not a time for a business to go become a turtle, disappearing into a shell and poking it’s head out once this crisis has passed.

Google Ads (PPC) are a good move now

Google ads or pay-per-click (PPC) is a great strategy right now as, according to the Washington Post report yesterday, users are seeing screen times increase by as much as 185% on a weekly basis.  

In addition, a report last week showed that the  cost-per-click (CPC) is down nearly 6.5% across most verticals which reduces the  amount of money you for every ad click. 

Local seo is more relevant than ever

With people staying close to home, it’s essential that they can find nearby businesses for services and supplies in the rare instances when they do leave home.  That’s where Local SEO strategies come in to play.

You want to make sure your business is using Local SEO to optimize your website for “near me” searches. You want customers in your geo region (e.g. Naperville, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Bucktown, Aurora, CO, etc.) to be able to easily find you online so they turn to you first. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, this gives your business a chance to provide assistance during this critical time.

get creative with your offerings

If you’re on of the many businesses that’s had to close it’s doors to the public, try to be creative with servicing your customers. For a gym, launch online classes via Zoom. For dental offices, launch an online billing payment portal to process payments and offer to do urgent consults via the web. Are you a therapist and can’t see clients? Offer phone therapy sessions. Do you run a restaurant? Offer free delivery or curbside pick up – even Burger King is now offering free delivery as of last night. 

Now is the time to tap into your creative juices and get them flowing. Just yesterday someone in our office received a message from their shoe cobbler saying they were offering free drop off and pick up so they could continue to do shoe repair. 

5 Ways to Gain Customers Using Digital Marketing

Every business wants more customers, right? I know we do and we’re a marketing business! The latest trend, and by latest I mean at least a decade old, is digital marketing. How do you leverage digital marketing to gain customers? Where do you spend your dollars and how? Here are 5 ways to gain customers by investing in digital marketing.

Building your own list of customers, and then nurturing it, is the best and highest return on your marketing dollars. You can do this easily by adding a “Join our Mailing List” page or pop-up on your website. You can also have a banner on the site that prompts folks to join your email list. This list can be used to market to and to gain additional customers via referral. What do you do with the names on your list? That brings me to #2.

Put your list to use with email marketing. A well-crafted email strategy will prove is worth its’ weight in gold. Highly personalized and targeted emails will net some of the highest open rates and click through rates (CTR). Plan your email campaigns around segments. Did someone sign up to receive information on picture frames but your email is about jewelry? Segment your audience so the email is customized to what they want and include a promotional offer to get the best response. This will increase your CTR and purchase rate which equals more customers.

3. SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is when a listing appears organically/naturally in Google. It’s the listings that appear below the Google paid ads and you want that to be you because it’s free, technically. SEO is an investment of time and resources and takes significant effort to maintain however, it’s the best listing you can have, and maintain. Invest in a solid SEO strategy to get this listing for your Top 3-7 keywords. This way when a user searches for your product in Google, your company will be in the first page of results naturally.

We all know Google has ads that pop up when we search something. These are pay per click (PPC) ads. Google ads will drive highly relevant traffic to your site that you pay for. This traffic is based on the keyword, or search term, the user enters into Google. While it’s easy to see how this gives you more traffic, you need to ensure you have a well-organized site to convert the traffic into more customers. If you have a clear call-to-action (CTA) such as a form to complete, call a rep or product to purchase, then it’s wise to invest in Google Ads.

Knowing which social networks to participate in is part of the battle. More than 70% of companies will participate on Facebook and Twitter. For those companies that have a visual product (retailers, cars, etc.), Pinterest makes sense. If you market services to professionals or other businesses, LinkedIn is a good option as well. For those where videos are relevant such as home improvement retailers, we recommend YouTube be part of your strategy. Start out with posting daily on all the networks and then review your analytics to determine the best time of day to post.