How the Coronavirus Outbreak Affects Digital Marketing


Today, it is all about uncertainty, suspicion, doubt, and fear. Clearly, this atmosphere is hardly helpful or comforting. The ongoing imbalance affects not only our daily lives and routine but also the global economy. The immense number of event cancellations and severe movement restrictions result in unprecedented complications businesses have to face.

While it is essential to fight boredom from the comfort of your homes and figure out what future holds, businesses have to become even more flexible to keep up with the situation and remain both resourceful and profitable.

How the Coronavirus Outbreak Affects Digital Marketing

Alteration of the Global Economy

As public concern grows and the situation is exacerbated by the virus outbreak, previously unaffected areas impose strict restrictions, and the world economy faces disastrous consequences. Bloomberg states that the virus outbreak might cost the world economy $2.7 trillion.

The pandemic affects every existing industry, and economic forecasts are far from being optimistic.
Apart from canceled international flights, festivals, movie premiers, trade shows and expos, the behavioral patterns along with focus, and customer interests shift very fast. For instance, there has been a major increase in the usage of streaming services worldwide.

With social distancing becoming a fundamental need, in-home media consumption amounts to around 50% worldwide and growing. Therefore, a drastic surge in streaming subscriptions is expected to take place in the nearest future.

When it comes to travel and tourism, the industry is at the greatest risk. Due to the spread of COVID-19, global tourism revenue is expected to decrease by around 20% in 2020. Since all the industries are interconnected, such giants as Facebook and Google will probably suffer further implications related to the drop in the travel industry worldwide.

While the recent boost in e-commerce sales might seem like a good sign, the growing unemployment rate and dwindling financial resources will have a massive negative impact on the industry in the future. For instance, the importance of social distancing slowly leads to supply chain issues. Therefore, some of the physical products are likely to run out of stock, resulting in future ad spending cuts.

Clearly, stopping all the ad campaigns for good during the outbreak is not the best choice. Adjusting and reevaluating, however, will prove to be useful and beneficial for most of the businesses.

Under pandemic conditions, the essential goods and services matter the most. As a case in point, online delivery services see unprecedented numbers of app downloads and placed orders. In the US, supplies and grocery delivery apps receive a further boost in downloads and sales due to non-contact delivery. Apptopia reports that the Target app showed a 98% increase in daily downloads. However, the local delivery market is slowly cooling down since such services are still expensive and cannot guarantee the highest level of safety.

The buying patterns transform daily, shifting remarkably towards essential products and services. Despite coronavirus-related fears, the demand for household and pet care products remains unaffected. Therefore, ensuring safety, entertainment, and distraction are the main goals at the moment. This trend is not likely to disappear or cool down unless the outbreak situation significantly deteriorates.

Is Digital Marketing Immune to Coronavirus?

As the crisis spreads and intensifies, digital marketing turns into the volatile industry. Pulling or stopping marketing activity is one of the main concerns and threats the virus outbreak poses. However, driving traffic to offline events is no longer possible. One of the best examples is the cancellation of performance marketing expos and trade shows.

Some of the companies consider shifting their budgets to the 2nd part or the end of 2020. Others bet on hosting or taking part in virtual conferences and increasing ad spend. Naturally, marketers have to compensate for all the lost offline leads. Therefore, some of them consider cutting ad spend to be counterproductive. Will online conferences help to win back the lost leads? It is too early to say, but the win-win situation is unlikely to take place.

This tricky, difficult time requires fast adaptation and flexibility. Currently, the advertising companies need to cooperate closely with search teams to understand and comply with the new standards created by consumers. Therefore, all the marketing campaigns have to be adjusted to fit the lockdown needs. However, excessively taking advantage of the current situation will not be well received by the audience. This approach should be carefully considered when it comes to retargeting campaigns and push notifications.

Brand-building, however, is essential at this time. Since connecting and building strong relationships with customers should be the main focus at the moment, opting out is not an option. However, the performance of any ad campaign depends on the niche. For instance, sports and fitness continue to perform well. Nevertheless, overall conversions for most of the industries have been decreasing since February.

Naturally, the recession period is likely to result in the bankruptcy of several marketing companies and, consequently, changing the performance marketing landscape. At the end of the day, it means less competition.
With great anticipation and hope, we look forward to the day when the virus passes. Meanwhile, stay safe and focus on the best-performing verticals like dating. Let’s contribute to the best of our abilities to prevent the virus from spreading and keep our digital marketing efforts consistent and effective.

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