Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of months, the new coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday lives and is likely to carry on dominating for the next couple of months. Global financial markets have become increasingly volatile, especially as the US now has more than 245,000 confirmed cases. When the financial markets rattle so do the world’s businesses and households.
These unprecedented and uncertain times can cause a lot of confusion and fear. In this article, Ben Givon will give us a quick rundown of how online marketing has been hit by the Covid-19 outbreak.
First things first – avoid taking advantage of the current situation
Facebook and Google have started cracking down on content and advertising that deliberately tries to exploit the widespread consumer fear and uncertainty. With ransacked supermarket shelves resembling something out of a science-fiction movie, supplies and products are running low and some marketers are trying to exploit the situation by launching ads that offer in-demand goods and necessities at a high price to make a profit.
These get-rich-quick schemes are very short-lived and are unethical; more importantly, search engines and social media platforms are taking strict measures to filter these types of ads and content. On March 16th YouTube published the following statement in a blog post: ‘The situation with coronavirus continues to change day by day, and we’ll continue to take the steps needed to protect our teams and the communities where they live. This may affect additional types of YouTube user and creator support and reviews, such as applications for the YouTube partner program or responses on social media.’
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Businesses are taking a lot of the impact
Economists have forecast that businesses around the world will be feeling the aftershock of the pandemic for quite a while after the crisis dies down a bit. China’s economy is now facing record level drops as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. According to an article on Bloomberg ‘Industrial output plunged 13.5% in January and February from a year earlier, retail sales fell 20.5%, and fixed-asset investment dropped 24.5%. The unemployment rate jumped to a record 6.2% in February, when the outbreak worsened and much of the economy was shutdown.’
To read the full Bloomberg article click here.
While major global businesses shut and reduce normal operations to help curb the spread of the virus, other small and medium-sized businesses face difficult times ahead as profits and losses plummet. Brick and mortar retailers and shops have also reported a huge drop in consumer traffic as most governments around the world have imposed strict lockdowns to try and cushion the impact of the coronavirus.
Organic traffic and conversion rates
Where some industries and sectors have seen a huge surge in traffic others have suffered huge drops. Let’s have a look at some examples; the travel and real estate sectors have seen a huge drop in organic traffic whereas companies that post news and financial news have seen a surge in traffic.
The e-commerce industry has seen mixed results depending on what the business offering is. Businesses selling essential hygiene products have performed better compared to businesses selling suitcases.
The same can be said for conversion rates, the news and financial sectors have seen an increase in conversions as more people are spending a lot of time indoors browsing the internet for answers and information regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Adapt to the change…
During economic recessions or difficult times such as these, you may notice that your competition may die down, now this is an invitation for you to optimize your online marketing campaigns and to invest more time, effort and money. The results may not show up in the short-term but over the long term, given that you have enhanced your SEO strategies and have adjusted your ads to deal with the changes that are happening online.
Despite the global distancing stay connected with your audience on social media
The whole world is dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Our everyday lives have been turned upside down, with many facing unemployment while others work from home. You should be working to building your brand awareness, especially during difficult times. Get on social media and create content through posts and live videos that will offer users quality information. Remarket to users who have previously shown an interest in your business. Online traffic has surged in recent weeks as more and more people are cooped up in their homes; so this is an opportunity for you to optimize your social media ad campaigns, profile and content to reach a wider audience and to gather those all-important leads and conversions.
PPC ad campaigns are the way to go right now
As competition dies down a bit now, CPC (Cost-Per-Click) rates have decreased. Mark Irvine, a contributor for business2community.com wrote ‘the markets may be performing poorly, but it looks like now more than ever searchers are looking for experienced help. In an industry that normally has some of the most expensive keywords and a high cost per click, we’re seeing CPCs fall and relieve some pressure from a normally competitive industry. Many are also noticing increased CTRs and CVRs, as well.’
To read the full article, click here.
Brace your business for the Covid-19 aftermath
According to Xinhuanet.com China is slowly resuming normal business activity and lifting some of the heavy restrictions. As restrictions lessen and things go back to normal, consumer sentiment should then rebound. SEO is an ongoing process meaning that whatever you do now will have an impact on your organic search traffic.