Crises and Opportunities: The Impact of Covid-19 on Digital Marketing

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Almost two months into global lockdowns and operational closures, the economic effects of the pandemic have started to take on a more concrete shape.

Many industries have been hit particularly hard, including those in the tourism, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing sectors.

And yet, some companies have managed to keep heads above water, with some even thriving in these first few months of the new normal.

But with expected cuts in marketing and advertising budgets looming, what can the world of digital marketing expect in terms of prospects and constraints?

Let’s take a look at the ways Covid-19 has impacted the digital marketing industry thus far, for better or for worse.

Struggling Businesses and Traffic Slowdowns

Not only is the pandemic costing lives, it is also costing livelihoods across the globe. Lockdowns mean that people cannot go out to shop, dine, travel, and attend events. School closures mean that even when things begin to reopen, many parents can’t go back to work.

Coronavirus appears to be leveling in some places, slowing down in a few, but not everywhere – and in many countries like Germany and South Korea, post-lockdown cases and reinfections are still rising.

As this persists for weeks or months, vulnerable companies are bound to struggle for a while. Already, the travel sector is expected to lose some $820 billion, give or take.

The abrupt dip in consumer demand across various industries, unfortunately, also translates to substantial drops in organic traffic and conversions.

Traffic and Conversion Upsurge in Select Industries

And yet, digital marketing outcomes in the time of Covid-19 aren’t all dips and downturns. While some websites have gone through downward slopes in organic traffic and sales, those in media and finance, for example, have experienced a surge in traffic.

As for e-commerce, websites that catered to food, grocery, and healthcare demands have all experienced an upwelling of traffic or conversions as well.

Depending on which industry you operate in, this pandemic season could actually mean windfalls and dividends, whether for the short-term or in the long run.

Paid advertising is also cheaper, which means shifting to paid ads at a time when organic traffic has slowed down could be a sound strategy. This will depend, of course, on how much budget company has allocated for paid advertising as part of their bigger digital marketing plan.

Digital Strategies Equal Resilience

At a time when social distancing appears to be the next normal, the adoption of timely and relevant digital strategies has become a tool for resiliency for many businesses.

Although restaurants remain closed or can only accommodate more than a few diners at a time, food take-outs and deliveries do help recapture a bigger share of the market.

Almost all schools have adopt alternative learning modes, including remote or online classes.

Patient diagnoses could be carried out through telemedicine. Events and seminars have shifted to online delivery through virtual meeting platforms across the globe.

And with more and more people spending time on the internet during lockdown, now is the time for businesses to become highly visible online.

In a new study published by eMarketer, the past few months have seen more online purchases of food, medicine, and office equipment and supplies.

The digital shift can help businesses explore new avenues for survival – or even growth in a post-pandemic world.

Covid-19 and Digital Marketing: Key Takeaways

To say that these are challenging times is an understatement. But digital marketing strategies could lead to more openings than limitations.

Businesses that have previously and primarily relied on traditional marketing strategies will now necessitate a transformative online shift.

Now, more than ever, digital marketers are called to bring their expertise and analytics to industries and brands that need to expand their digital reach.

And while digital marketing has evolved significantly for the past, almost 50 years –  beginning with the very first Tomlinson email of 1971 –  it may finally earn a more permanent place in the overall marketing plans of many businesses, moving forward.