How Covid-19 has impacted the digital marketing landscape - Two and a Half Years Later
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It has been more than two and a half years since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. It's been two and a half years since our lives were turned upside down and "pivot" became the most used word in the marketing vocabulary.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed the way businesses operate and consumers behave. As a result, marketers have had to reevaluate their digital marketing strategies to stay relevant and profitable. But how has the pandemic affected digital marketing?
1. e-commerce is more important than ever
It’s no surprise that online commerce is more prevalent than ever, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. Statista.de found that 38% of Germans order more things online since Corona than before, and 37% do so weekly. As closures and the risk of contracting Covid-19 limited the ability to visit physical retail stores, consumers turned to e-commerce to fulfill their wants and needs. During the pandemic, both infrequent and new users switched to online shopping for its convenience and ease of use.
Although people are once again able to visit brick-and-mortar stores, the rise of e-commerce is unstoppable given the number of new online shoppers. During the pandemic, more companies entered online retail, which led to more competition. For marketers, in the post-pandemic era, this means reviewing their online buyer flows to ensure a seamless shopping experience and avoid low click-through rates, high bounce rates and abandonment. Marketers also need to ensure their strategy includes a digital advertising strategy for e-commerce that determines which ads are best for their products, such as Google Shopping, banner ads or social ads.
2. the power of the community
The inability to travel has led to an increase in the nostalgic feeling of neighborhood communities over the past two and a half years. Google searches for “local” + “business(es)” are up 80% in the last year, as is Facebook group usage. With the introduction of mile markers in cities around the world, consumers became more familiar with their neighborhoods and the businesses located there. Shoppers witnessed store closures due to lockdowns and saw firsthand the impact they had on businesses in their area. As a result, consumers felt a greater responsibility than ever to shop locally instead of buying from multimillion-dollar corporations.
This addictive trend is expected to decline as the world opens up and people want to explore again, but for some, the pandemic will remain a lasting bond with the community. Forbes reports that consumers are still thinking about and shopping in the region even after the pandemic, as this attitude has become ingrained in many. Attitudinal changes may be small, like buying a loaf of bread at a local bakery instead of a supermarket, but they should not be dismissed. If brands haven’t already done so, they should consider incorporating a local SEO strategy into their brick-and-mortar store marketing plan.
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3. the rise of digital media
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the steady increase in digital advertising spend. Kearny reports that spending on digital channels has now overtaken spending on traditional media. As a result of months away from home, the popularity of video-on-demand (VOD) services increased, and consumers shied away from touching physical goods, turning to online publications rather than print media. They also became impatient and wanted news and information on demand, and online sources could satisfy that craving.
As many companies have shifted their media budgets online during the pandemic, they now understand the direct impact digital advertising can have on return on investment (ROI). Kearny predicts that by 2023, digital ad spending will account for about 60% of all media spending. Companies are still uncertain about what the future holds, as they cannot yet assess the lasting impact of the pandemic. Therefore, they are cautious about their spending and choose to invest their money in something that can deliver tangible results, like digital advertising. With a more digitally dependent nation, marketers should continue to monitor where their ideal customers are seeking information and entertainment post-pandemic and update their media plans accordingly. However, it is imperative that brands remember the importance of long-term brand building and not just looking at short-term clicks, and the inclusion of channels like VOD can provide the perfect harmony between digital advertising and brand building.
While we cannot predict what the new normal will look like, we do know that things will never be the same as they were before the pandemic. Consumer behavior and attitudes have changed fundamentally. They now expect more, crave convenience and have an inherent desire to support the local economy.