As the Coronavirus pandemic hits the entire world, uncertainty and fear are having a major business impact. In the past few weeks, we have witnessed event cancellations, supply chain disruption, declining consumer demand, logistics interruption and the overall downturn in business activities. While finance experts say it is too early to calculate the long-term economic impact of the pandemic on the business economy, the general consensus is that the pandemic will have a negative impact on the bottom-line. But that could also give rise to new online business opportunities arising from a digital-centric lifestyle, work from home culture, social distancing and changes in consumer buying behavior.
Here’s taking a look at how COVID-19 has affected the online marketing landscape including search and digital marketing.
Decline in organic traffic and paid ad campaigns
From the limited available data, it is clear that there has been a huge shift in the online search and consumer purchase behavior in the past few weeks, in the wake of the pandemic. The only industries that currently seems to be gaining in website traffic from the coronavirus pandemic are Media, Finance, Food, and Healthcare industry. The reason is predictable – with uncertainties prevailing all around, the natural human tendency is to limit their expenditure and focus on buying necessities and essential household items and even hoarding up as much possible.
In times such as these, staying updated on what’s happening around locally and globally is crucial and this has made the consumers in this smartphone era flock to news portals and healthcare websites talking about COVID-19 and preventive measures. As per NYTimes, the traffic to HuffPost and Yahoo News website increased nearly 80percent and many news websites saw a sudden upsurge in subscription in the first two weeks of March as compared to the same period last month.
Source: NeilPatel Blog
That brings us to the other side of the story – the mass decline in search traffic for almost all other industries, except the above stated few. The downward trend in organic search traffic directly correlates to a decline in online enquires, leads, slumping sales, and revenue.
As a digital marketing agency with a presence in UAE, India, and the USA, we have started to see the impact of low search volume and reducing ad impressions on online marketing campaigns. Many businesses have decided to slow down or postpone their digital marketing expenditure in the wake of the recent developments leading to low sales conversions.
However, the good news is – this is just a temporary dip which may last a few weeks or months proves China, who is currently on the recovery and bounce-back mode. Business owners and digital strategists should take this opportunity to come up with a futuristic digital marketing strategy for their business, in the absence of which, it may take many months or even years to make up for the losses.
Review your marketing strategy
The short-term impact of coronavirus is a downturn for most of the industries around, but it is a chance to build a long-term relationship for the next upswing and adjusting the marketing strategies for uncertain times. As people spend more time at home and communicate in person less, digital media consumption increases across various platforms like social media, online gaming, video streaming channels and more. Many brands are making use of this opportunity to take out to the social media to make their audience aware of COVID-19 preventive measures, while at the same time increasing their brand exposure and social responsibility quotient.
Coronavirus scare lead to many major events cancellations and marketers are exploring digital alternatives like conducting virtual events like digital conferences, virtual exhibitions, video chats, and interviews. Since the core intention of all these vents is content distribution, marketers are emphasizing more on account-based strategies, where they tailor content campaigns that are beneficial for a smaller set of target accounts.
Digital marketers are trying to connect people with real-life experience which they value most by creating an exclusive online experience that makes people feel like connected as in-person, give them a voice and allow them to interact on their own terms. Emails can be a great way of connecting with people around an event or experience directly.
During an economy downward time as this, there are chances of less competition which results in faster results and higher conversions. Businesses need to act proactively as it’s the best time to strengthen and fine-tune your company’s promotional and marketing strategies. Your online content should be revised to right and appropriate marketing messages with the right Call To Action. Blog posts and newsletters should utilize this opportunity to communicate high-value content. Conduct webinars to answer frequently asked questions or to introduce new teams or products and services.
Hopefully, the whole crisis will end soon and the economy will recover from this massive set back. Meanwhile, as a responsible digital marketing agency, we assist you to build connection and trust with the people you care during these challenging times.