It will be a lie if someone says that the Coronavirus isn’t making them anxious. The epidemic has hit all industries, and the infectious disease has already made its way all around the world, making it a global tragedy. Discovered back in December 2019, we are yet to find a cure for the disease.
Considering the nature of Coronavirus, quarantining yourself is the best decision you can make right now. This virus will have an impact on the economy, and the effect will translate to the field of digital marketing as well.
Quarantined to stay indoors and increase in consumption of online resources, magnified attention spans and rise in need for entertainment are heavily influencing the current digital marketing trends. So, let’s take a look at some of the unprecedented changes brought in by COVID-19.
How will the virus impact the digital world?
Change in the search pattern
The virus has already been termed as the most significant change in Google search history. People are already searching for information related to the virus, about the economy, the stock market and on national leaders of different countries. Even though topical searches haven’t seen a decline, searches associated with the outbreak have taken a high spot. Most of the long-tail keywords now look like these:
– Are shopping centres closed?
– Where do I get tested for Coronavirus?
– Movies to watch during the quarantine
– Pandemic vs epidemic
This puts marketers under a lot of stress. Targeting the right keyword while also strategizing the search needs to be sensitive and thoughtful. And that is what you should be focusing on right now. Searches related to the virus are here to stay for a while. Therefore, you should be looking at possibilities where more combination of searches is involved, e.g., COVID-19 + schools or coronavirus + banks.
If you are into writing medical blogs, the search engines will give you a lot of preference right now. Google is giving preference to health organisations and ministry websites over others.
Change in social media consumption
Social distancing has become the number one reason for the boost in the organic ranking of your website. And considering the current situation, ranking high is the need of the hour. We have seen changes in social media consumption since all the social distancing is taken care through socialising more on online networking platforms. With the rise in people working from their home and, the need for frequent break has caused social media consumption to skyrocket.
There has been a significant increase in social media marketing activities in the last month as the self-quarantine norms set in. This is because brands will try to utilise the opportunity of the rising use of social sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. where they have reported a spike in their traffic, session durations, as well as new sign-ups. As more countries go into lockdown, the consumption of social media will only rise.
Change in online shopping
Majority of the e-commerce giants have shifted focus to delivering essentials first. This does not mean that online shopping of non-essential items has taken a hit. Considering the current situation of the service industry, people are avoiding buying things they do not need currently. Pet food, sanitary essentials, toilet rolls have taken over furniture, clothes and toys. But you definitely would want to invest in some board games, since you are being quarantined with your family for an unforeseen period of time. But this trend will come back to normalcy regardless of the Coronavirus situation. Although people hoarding food and other essentials will be problematic.
Change in content consumption:
Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have already received a government directive to cap their video quality to a specific limit to reduce the strain on web service. This is because of the rise in consumption of videos through these streaming services. And not just streaming services, there have been reports in the increase in TV usage too. Video-heavy platforms like Twitch, Mixer, Facebook, where there’s support for live-streaming have also seen a surge. With unaffected countries also going into self-quarantine, this type of consumption will also keep increasing. WhatsApp group messages will keep growing, and also there will be spread of fake news, even when it is not related to Coronavirus.
Change in channel preference:
The line of priority currently will be your smartphone, your computer and then your TV. All these platforms will be used by people to stay abreast with the current situation as well as to calm themselves. Therefore, marketing campaigns need to move singularly towards search engines, social media platforms and media websites. Do not leave behind the TV.
How to optimize your digital marketing process:
- Review your account: Keep an eye on drops in traffic and impressions and analyse what data will guide you the best.
- Evolve your search terms: Instead of using your traditional long-tail keywords, imbibe your keywords with Coronavirus and COVID-19 to get better ranking.
- Content strategy: Devise a content strategy that uses a concept of virtual 3D communication. Works best if you have an offline store.
- Content vetting: Even if your content is as small as an Instagram caption, make sure it is following all the guidelines, and you are avoiding every fake and incorrect data. This will help scale up verification of all sorts. Follow your country’s health guidelines.
- Inform clients: Keep your client apprised of every significant development with their account, even if its underperformance of sponsored posts or disappearance of their website from search. You should keep your clients informed of all updates.
- Avoid predatory practices: Though your business needs to go on, do not capitalize on a situation where countless lives were lost and the endless wave of desperation and hysteria. It is best to man-oeuvre your brand safely through the epidemic.
There is a lot at stake for digital marketers. Instead of panicking, it would be best to observe the trends and take small actions that can make an impact. Keep an eye on your numbers and devise a strategy that’s a win-win situation for you and your client.
Authors Bio – Abhijit Mandavkar is a Digital Marketing Manager. He plans and coordinates marketing activities of ValueHits, a full-service Digital Marketing Agency based in Mumbai, India. With his experience and expert knowledge in the field, he identifies potential customers and develops marketing campaigns.