3 Digital Marketing Trends in the Age of COVID-19

Adapting to changes in consumer behavior is the key to staying competitive. And, nowhere is this more true than in the sphere of marketing. In particular, keeping up with trends in digital marketing is critical to connecting with today's consumers. As of this writing, more than 96% of small business owners in the United States have reportedly been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. And, approximately 51% of them say they'll only be able to stay operational for no more than 90 days under the current conditions. This is according to a recent Goldman Sachs study of over 1,500 small businesses.

In response, The Small Business Administration (SBA) increased its funding from $20 billion to $50 billion to support these businesses. With more Americans turning to technology during shelter-in-place, digital marketing will be a lifeline for many SMBs.

Below, we explore the top three digital marketing trends that have emerged during this crisis.

1. Facebook and Google Ad Credits and Grants for Small Businesses

Social media giant Facebook has created the Facebook Small Business Grants Program to help small businesses qualify for cash grants and ad credits. The Small Business Grants Program is a part of Facebook's Business Resource Hub, where small business owners have access to a range of helpful tools. Considering the current challenges faced by many small businesses, a little advertising help can make a big difference.

"We've heard from small businesses that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time." —Facebook

Google is actively reminding business owners to keep their Google My Business listings updated. It also advises businesses to ensure that website content answers vital questions (e.g. whether they're open, have implemented store hygiene policies, or have critical items in stock). In addition to the aforementioned things, adding FAQ schema to high-traffic pages may lead to higher SERP (search engine results page) rankings. All of these factors can increase traffic to your website.

2. Less Competition and Lower Costs for Social Media Advertising For Essential Industries

According to Google Trends, search queries have shifted slightly in scope but have thus far remained constant. One thing advertisers didn't expect was Google search ad impressions dropping by 7% due to shelter-in-place orders. Conversion rates have also dropped by over 20%. For this reason, many brands have cut pay-per-click (PPC) advertising from their digital marketing budgets. In turn, there's less competition and lower expenses associated with social media advertising.

Still, some industries are doing better than others.

For example, non-profits and charities have seen a 10% increase in search ad impressions, a 20% increase in search ad conversion rates, and a 23% increase in search ad conversions. The rise in search queries and ad conversion rates for these sectors may also be due to provisions in Google's ad grant program.

Similarly, ad clicks and conversion rates for businesses selling health and medical-related items are significantly higher than normal. Search ad conversions for packing and shipping supplies jumped 123%, which is more than double its previous amount. Other industries with lower cost-per-click (CPC) expenses include:

  • Business management (searches grew by 23%)

  • Finance (-27% change in search CPC and +1 percent change in search CVR)

  • Accounting (-19% change in search CPC and +23 percent change in search CVR)

  • Insurance (searches grew by 23%)

  • Beauty and personal care (-14% change in search CPC and +6% change in search CVR)

  • Greeting cards (15% increase in CVR), gifts baskets (30% increase in CVR), and flowers (43% increase in CVR)

Data provided by WordStream.

3. The Increase in Organic Traffic is Helping Brands Stay Competitive

The worst decision businesses can make during the COVID-19 crisis is to pause or adjourn SEO campaigns. However, that's exactly what many are doing. And, that can be a critical mistake. Here's what you should do instead: While other businesses are de-prioritizing SEO, seize the opportunity to capitalize on it.

So, continue to optimize your web content daily. Put in the effort to increase your SERP rankings and implement decisive optimization strategies. Organic traffic is king, even if consumers have cut down on discretionary purchases. The COVID-19 crisis may have disrupted previous consumer trends, but the consideration phase in the customer journey is still alive and well. According to SEO Compliant,  " [...] paid-traffic traffic is only responsible for 15% of allover traffic while organic traffic is giving 53%!"

"If your business is selling a product or service with remained or increased demand, you could gain benefits from digital advertising. SEO on the other side, is your to-go-to for services and products with low demand during the crisis." —SEO Compliant

Though times may seem uncertain, there's always light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The COVID-19 crisis may have disrupted supply chains and taken an unprecedented toll on world economies, but a rebound is imminent. For now, there are things you can do to protect your business.

Looking for the right digital marketing strategies to leverage? GRBA Consulting has worked with big names such as Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T Mobile, Samsung. For answers on organic search and effective strategies for maintaining brand relevance during this crisis, contact us today.

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