The Impact of Coronavirus on Digital Marketing

There’s no denying the impact coronavirus is having on businesses. The global pandemic has created unexpected shifts in our lifestyle and as a result has changed the way we are consuming media. In particular with the “social distancing” policy in place in many countries, we are no longer looking at billboard advertisements which typically get a lot of eyeballs during spring and summer, nor are we listening to the radio on our way to work since many of us are now working remotely from home. More than ever digital advertisements are at the forefront of engaging with your audience. So, what are the things you need to look out for as a digital marketer?

How are digital advertisers responding to coronavirus?

Marketers are pulling spend away from their campaigns

A study from eMarketer showed that in the US, among those that participated in the survey, 49% of digital marketers are delaying new campaigns from launching until later on in the year and 34% are cancelling campaigns all together as a result of the impacts of coronavirus. Previous studies have shown that companies that have maintained marketing spend during economic downturns fare much better than those that cut back or stop spending, especially during the recovery period of the economy.


What is the impact of coronavirus on the cost of digital marketing?

The cost of advertising is decreasing in general, and we are also seeing this in digital

As we discussed in a previous article, pay-per-click digital marketing channels, such as Search and Paid Social calculate costs based on a real-time auction. So as a result of advertisers pulling spend away from digital marketing and marketing in general, we’re seeing that cost per click across many industries are lower than February, especially in the Travel industry.


However, this decrease in cost per click is not seen everywhere. An example below shows a Search advertiser that was bidding on the keyword “Toilet Paper” and how much they were spending. Previously this was not a keyword that was driving significant traffic for this particular advertiser but as this product became more and more relevant we can see just how the cost begins to sky-rocket from mid-February.


So what should you be doing as a digital advertiser during this time?

1. Closely monitor your keywords and how they are performing

Did I forget to mention, in the example above, that this advertiser was not selling any toilet paper to begin with? They were hoping to drive traffic from those wanting to purchase toilet paper but hadn’t realised the cost was increasing so much as this was a keyword that was previously driving very little traffic. So, it is important to look at your keywords and understand if anything is acting strange during these times. Setting alerts on your campaigns to notify you when your cost per click reaches a certain spend and setting maximum bids are often good ideas.

2. Tailoring your messaging and being sensitive to your customers

We are all going through something that is unprecedented, so it’s crucial that the messaging of any advertisement is empathetic to those that may be affected by the coronavirus in any way, shape or form. There are many companies that have changed the narrative of their ad-copy to reflect the fact that people are now working from home as opposed to being outside.

What if you want to cut back on advertising, is there anything else you can be doing?

If this will impact your business short-term, take this opportunity to focus on things that drive your business in the long term

Brightblue Consulting is offering a free one-to-one workshop for our clients to provide insight and help creating a tailored marketing strategy for this time, whatever your position may be.

Although purchasing patterns are shifting in favour of online and internet usage increases as people work from home, we’re not seeing this being reflected in traffic everywhere, many industries are experiencing lower levels of visitors.

If your business is not be faring well because your product or services is unfortunately not in demand right now, this does not mean you can’t do anything. Quite often, “business as usual” means a company is operating at fast rates to drive short-term conversions. This is a unique opportunity to take a step back temporarily and focus on things that will help you in the long term, such as:

  • Conversion rate optimisation – making changes to remove the bottlenecks that might have previously prevented your customers from converting
  • SEO – focus on optimising your website for popular search queries that are relevant

  • Website structure – making sure your website is as efficient as it can be

Here’s an example of an industry that is doing well

Whilst monitoring the cost per click is an important aspect to determining the impact of coronavirus on your digital marketing performance, another element is what happens after they click, or in other words, the conversion rate. With more people shifting their buying habits online with physical stores closing and social distancing remaining at large, we’re seeing that people are more responsive to ads in the Sports Programs industry as people substitute away from exercising in the Gym to exercising by themselves. This is true to this industry but in other industries such as Travel and Tourism this might not be the case, so think about whether the demand for your product is higher or lower.


The Brightblue team have decades of experience helping clients understand media efficiency by truly digging into the drivers of sales and revenue. We have experience across automotive, retail, travel, entertainment, telecoms, FMCG, white goods, financial services, health and many other sectors. Our unique way of modelling the entire client journey truly helps marketeers understand what they can do to shine in their organisation by driving business and making a real difference to their bottom line. Get in touch if you have any questions on this article or any of the ways Brightblue can help.

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