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Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic took the world of business by storm. Industries all over the world had to make rapid changes to adapt to the new business environment. Facing unprecedented challenges, business owners had to account for the many enforced changes and lockdowns worldwide.

With changing consumer buying behaviour, businesses had the challenge of finding new ways of reaching consumers. As such, digital marketing has become the powerhouse of business marketing strategies.


Digital Marketing Before the COVID-19 Pandemic

Before the onset of COVID-19, digital marketing was on the rise. More specifically, there was an increasing emphasis on video marketing, influencer marketing, and engagement-based email marketing. Yet, these priorities shifted almost overnight once COVID-19 became a global phenomenon.


The Impact of COVID on Digital Marketing Efforts

Many changes occurred within the sphere of marketing as a result of the pandemic. Amongst these involve emphases on online ad spending, a focus on customer experience, and accounting for the shift in consumer shopping behaviour. The main theme underlying these changes is an ever-expanding online presence.

Online ad spending

With more and more people forced to spend time at home, the ROI on PPC ads has skyrocketed. Social ads have seen an increase in both click volume and click-through rates by 40% and 4%, respectively. These increases were more prominent in industries such as finance, groceries, personal care, and e-commerce.

Customer experience

There has also been an emphasis on nurturing current consumers and ensuring that they view the company favourably. To achieve this, companies have emphasised a nurturing customer experience. This involves focusing on online content that highlights empathy rather than sales.

Adapting to changes in shopping behaviour 

Consumers are spending less on discretionary items and more on health-related items. This is due to consumers’ worry about their financial security. Given the pandemic’s economic impact, consumers’ purchases are influenced by their new priorities (i.e., health and safety). To adapt to these changes, digital marketing efforts emphasise the health and wellness benefits of their products. Moreover, companies are offering higher discounts. This helps their consumers with being able to justify certain purchases. 

Are These Changes Here to Stay Post-COVID?

While digital marketing efforts have increased due to the pandemic, whether these changes persist in a post-pandemic environment remains uncertain. 

With companies’ increasing online presence, online brand positioning has become more competitive. To help companies with this shift, digital marketing agencies have increased by 13% in one year. This represents the increase in demand for digital marketing expertise. Yet, companies also expect that customers will become more discerning as they become more comfortable online. Consequently, they’ll be more selective with which marketing information they’ll absorb.

In conclusion, COVID-19 hasn’t completely revolutionised digital marketing. However, it has bolstered certain digital marketing trends. These shifts have affected both customers and businesses, with the only surviving business being those willing to adapt.