Why Advertising During COVID-19 Is A Brilliant Strategy?
Should brands advertise during the Coronavirus pandemic or pull away?
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and has hit all sectors, whether it’s business, education, or marketing, for that matter. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure about the present and the future in this phase. The one area that has benefited majorly from the advent of COVID is the marketing sector. Marketing, that too online, has become popular during these tough times.
Over 100 countries have imposed a full or partial lockdown, affecting businesses all over the world. Many businesses have temporarily closed, which has increased the percentage of unemployment. Financial experts have named this phase a “coronavirus recession.”
Many business owners are pondering over the question, “Should they continue advertising or stop altogether?” If you are a small business owner looking to reach the right audience, this is the time. With ad rates experiencing a drop of 35%, smart companies are taking their opportunity and using digital marketing services to advertise their brand online while their competitors are backing out.
Since the lockdown, most people spend their time at their home, surfing the web, this is where they will notice your brand.
According to an article by Business Insider, more than 99% of all U.S businesses are small businesses, hiring around half of the U.S workforce. Your business has a significant potential to thrive and grow if you make some changes to adapt your business model and practices to suit consumer behavior during the “new normal.”
The number of online consumers is increasing drastically. It is time to come up with a digital marketing strategy for your business.
Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in online advertising and digital marketing during COVID
People are now spending more time online more than ever
Earlier, many businesses relied on traditional forms of marketing to broadcast their brand aim and message. Now that people have adopted social distancing to avoid close contact or sheltering, traditional advertising and marketing channels have a much smaller audience than ever before. The big eye-catching billboards would be of no use and would not serve their purpose when there are fewer people outside, with the rest of the population following the rules of lockdown and sticking to their homes.
Since they are not heading out as much, more and more people are spending their time online than before the pandemic. According to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal, Internet usage boomed 25% within a few days during Mid-march when the pandemic hit hard and forced people into lockdown. Since the lockdown was imposed, people have been spending their hours visiting websites, streaming, video chatting, video gaming, and connecting on social media in peak numbers.
It may be surprising, but your customers want to be in the know, they want to view your content in the lockdown. They want your Facebook and email updates advertising your latest product and campaign. They want to view your YouTube ads and videos to understand and learn more about your brand and the services that your company provides. Make sure your content is unique and up to date with the current trends to catch the audience’s attention.
Your target audience is spending most of their time online every day. It is a smart strategy to invest in digital marketing, whether it’s social media, digital ads, blogging, or all of the above.
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Most events and networking have moved online
Almost every event is canceled amidst the pandemic. Your company might also have had to cancel in-person events, tradeshow, conference, or a meeting and resort to group video calls online.
Although it is tough not being able to connect with your colleagues in person, social distancing doesn’t have to turn negative for businesses when it comes to events and meetings. Many companies are still functioning and trying to bring people together by various digital marketing strategies. You might have noticed people posting about zoom sessions, upticks in ads, Instagram polls, and other online events being marketed all over every social media platform.
Promoting events through various platforms and increasing engagement with the audience is one of the business strategies that might help your company market online.
Until the danger of Coronavirus looms over us, it is not safe to step outside or organize an in-person event. The digital way is the new way of life for many people all over the world, and this has led to new trends in digital marketing. Even after the threat of COVID ends, the after-effects might still influence all the industries massively. Don’t wait for life to get back to normal, and start investing more funds and resources in digital marketing, advertising, and strategies. If done correctly, digital marketing may make the events easier and succeed, if not all, but some of your business goals.
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The digital economy is thriving
The Internet has changed a lot of aspects, especially in the ways of conducting business. It has set new trends and changed the traditional techniques of marketing.
E-commerce has grown rapidly and put a strain on brick and mortar stores as a result. As we continue living our lives amidst the pandemic, the earlier you realize that the digital economy IS the economy, the better.
The pandemic has changed consumer habits and has led to a complete shutdown of many retail stores. According to a research report by UBS, 100,000 brick-and-mortar U.S stores might shut down before 2025.
A lot of popular brands like Zara, Bath and Body Works, Nordstrom, and Gap are shutting down a large number of their in-person stores permanently. This indicates that it is safe to assume that online websites, storefronts, and social media pages will be the new way of shopping.
If you are an e-commerce business owner, you might be knowing that the quality of your website plays a significant role in your success, especially when it comes to audience engagement. Even if you are not selling your products, you need a great website with a beautiful but minimalistic design and a comprehensive digital marketing plan to make sure that you’re reaching your target audience or people who are looking for the services that you offer.
Everyone is asking the same question; when will the pandemic come to an end? When will things get back to normal? But, nobody has the answer. We also don’t know for how long this pandemic will affect the global economy. Search effects take time to develop, and investing money in elements like on-page SEO and content can make a difference even after the pandemic ends.
The power of social media
Social media has gained popularity amidst the pandemic. Since people can’t go out of their house, they resort to social media to connect with the world. It is not a surprise that more than half of the people all around the world are using social media, and the number keeps growing! There are a wide variety of platforms serving many different purposes. A typical user is known to be at least on nine different platforms.
It is obvious why more and more businesses are investing in social media advertisements. It is one of the best ways to reach your target audience due to the unique algorithms. It is affordable and also popular among small business owners. No doubt that many people use Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and other platforms to connect and be aware of the latest trends, but they also use social media to look at reviews, posts, to check out new products, and notice how many brands interact with their audience.
It is advised and significant that your company should be on at least one of the mainstream platforms. Here’s how some of the social media platforms help you market your brand.
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Digital marketing sites to pay attention to
There are a lot of different channels where you can advertise and market your brand. It is important that you know the most popular and most used sites to have the maximum reach.
Below are 3 platforms to pay the most attention to when it comes to advertising
According to Statista, Facebook reached 1.73 billion daily users in the first few three months of 2020. It is obvious that your customers use Facebook. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, advertising and marketing on Facebook might not have been possible due to budget limitations, but now the cost is on a serious downward trend. An article published by the Wall Street Journal reports that on an average, people spent 15-20 percent less in March to reach 1000 impressions by Facebook ads as compared to February. Some companies noticed a massive 25% decline in ad cost. As the cost continues to dial down and the competition decreases, marketers and businesses conclude that they are met with more impact and results than they paid for. Advertisement budgets that generally reached 1000 people are reaching 2000 now due to the increase in the number of people online.
During the start of the pandemic, conversion rates had dropped along with the ad rates. Although now, conversion rates are rising back up again, making it worth your ad money. The last week of March 2020 noticed an increase in conversion rates by 10%, this means that people are buying the products they see online.
Youtube publishers were confident and reassured that they would make tons of money when the lockdown was announced. People would spend hours of time watching videos on YouTube, one of the few online streaming platforms that provided services for free. This would bring in the money.
Soon, the publishers were met with two problems. First, the advertisers were canceling their ad campaigns during the coronavirus pandemic. Second, those that continued to publish ads didn’t want to be associated with the pandemic. Since then, advertisers and marketers have been barring ads from being published, ads that have anything to do with the crisis.
These two reasons are the major factors plummeting the price of Youtube advertisements. The decrease is similar to the decrease in Facebook advertisements, although there are some advertisers that have witnessed a decrease as high as 40%.
If your company offers products and services related to coronavirus, then you are at benefit. The hygiene and medical sector are plummeting and if your company is related to the hygiene, sanitation, or medical field, then this is your chance. Publishing videos and ads related to the crisis is a smart strategy. Although if your products and services aren’t related to the pandemic, you can still benefit from the lower cost of ads. It is important to be mindful of your placements to reach the right audience.
Instagram has nearly one billion users every month. This social media platform is built around sharing photos and is the best form of visual content. It’s to the point and catches the eyes of the audience in a heartbeat.
Instagram is best for building your brand and for businesses who want to create audio and visual content for their audiences. The Stories feature is an effective way to connect and engage with your audience. Thanks to updates such as tagging accounts, stickers, shoppable tags, it has become one of the most popular platforms to advertise and market. Stories also let you interact one-on-one with your audience. If you own a B2C company, you can use Instagram to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your company and office to make the audience more familiar with your brand. You can also reach a lot of people by using hashtags under your post. The live video feature is a very intelligent way of expanding a company’s social presence.
Instagram also offers advertising options for businesses to promote their services and products. If you are familiar with Facebook’s advertisement management system and the algorithm, then Instagram could be an easy transition to start publishing sponsored posts.
There are tons of platforms to run your advertisements. You can save money on most of them since the prices are lower than normal. Google Ads is one of the most effective ways to get the reader’s attention along with LinkedIn, a social media site.
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Why shouldn’t you stop advertising?
Many brands decide to go dark during a recession, businesses might decide to reduce or completely stop marketing activities. This is probably a bad idea. A wealth of historical records suggest that this isn’t a good business strategy for ensuring profits in the present and helping the business entity to recover in the long term.
An extensive review by Tellis and Tellis was published during the last recession in 2009. According to their research;
- Reducing advertising and marketing campaigns can hurt sales during and after the recession. Moreover, you will not be generating any substantial progress in profits. Such cutbacks can affect your brand by a huge margin and result in a loss in capitalization.
- Whereas not cutting back or canceling your ad campaign amidst a recession can increase sales and generate profits during and after the recession
. Itwas noticed that firms that increased advertising and invested more in marketing experienced a higher market share, sales, or profits during and after the recession.
According to Tellis and Tellis, most brands favor cutting back on advertising amidst a recession. This action reduces the noise of your company and instead increases the effectiveness of the business entities that choose to advertise. As a result, the firm that increases advertising during the recession can enjoy a positive increase in sales and market share. Once the economy expands, brands start to chip in and get back or increase advertising. When this happens, no single firm is highlighted or gains that much. The profits of the companies that maintained or increased advertising during the recession, persists and flourishes.
This is a rare opportunity for many business entities out there. This is your once chance to reach a larger audience with valued media spots at a much cheaper price. It definitely is the best of both worlds.
Another important question to consider is if the consumers think it is relevant for brands to advertise amidst the pandemic, or do they think that the company should be stepping in to help the masses to cope with the pandemic by utilizing their resources to other uses, and to provide assistance during the crisis.
Consumers expect brands to advertise and market even during the pandemic, although your advertisements should be sensitive and appropriate for the crisis at hand.
Get the tone right
It is no surprise that consumers expect firms to advertise during the crisis. It is necessary that your content hits the right tone with respect to the current mood and the emotional situation and needs of the audience.
As a result, many brands have replaced their brand motto and campaigns with messages of unity, hope, solidarity, and empathy. Although make sure that your brand’s content is unique and the message is different from the other brands, you don’t want your content to get lost in the sea of “in this together” posts, the aim should be to hit the audience at the right spot, catch and hold their attention.
To conclude, don’t back down with your advertising and marketing plans. Although it is a difficult and challenging time for most businesses, and it is understandable that cutting costs on advertising right now to protect your funds and profits. Being present and visible to your audience right now when most brands are pulling away is your best business strategy. It will highlight your brand and put your business in the limelight.
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