Life has changed drastically over the past two years. While we were becoming accustomed to hearing about these “unprecedented” and “uncertain times”, adjusting to a “new normal” and trying our best to “flatten the curve”, the COVID-19 pandemic was leaving its mark on almost every industry.
Internet usage has gone up significantly due to the pandemic since more people have to rely on the Internet to conduct their daily activities. A survey showed that 48% of Canadians alone performed an internet related activity for the first time during the pandemic.
But where has COVID left digital marketing and what has changed? Is this in fact the new normal or will it go back to what it was? Read on to find out.
What effects has COVID-19 had on digital marketing?
The pandemic caused great uncertainty in the nature of the global market. People were unsure of which way their investments would fall, and to what extent. However, there was a stark increase in the importance of digital marketing, possibly because of this uncertain nature. Companies realised that to stay in business, they had to build their online brand value. According to CMO Survey, 72.2% of companies said they saw the importance of marketing because of the pandemic.
This was a result of the demand for reaching out to and keeping consumers engaged online because there was no in-person contact. Companies had to rely on and work harder at doing so. Statistics showed that the digital marketing sector could grow by as much as 34% thanks to digital platforms seeing high revenue recently. (online revenue?- was this as a result of increasing digital marketing efforts?
It worked well for the most part as online shopping saw a massive increase due largely to social distancing. 80% of sales during the pandemic were directly linked to online purchases. It’s also likely that people will continue to shop online in the future, and the market will continue to expand.
But despite the increase in digital marketing and online sales for a number of companies, COVID-19 had a devastating impact on others. The travel and tourism sectors saw drastic declines in their industry and it’s predicted that they won’t be able to meet old standards or see improvements until 2023.
What digital marketing trends were a result of Covid?
- Retention marketing
During the pandemic, companies had to work on maintaining their relationships with their existing customers. The competition heightened between brands and so this led to more demand from advertisers. There was a big shift towards encouraging repeat purchases and engagement rather than spending money trying to acquire new customers. According to insights from Marketing Dive, there was a 15% increase in spending on loyalty and retention marketing.
Brands will continue to focus on retention marketing in the future and likely cut back on product and performance-based marketing. This is in line with statistics that showed that 50% of consumers tried new brands during Covid. So brands will need to become more aware of when and why their consumers are switching to other brands and to increase engagement and relationships to prevent that.
- Automation technology
Since in person interactions were severely limited, brands had to improve communication with their consumers to maintain their loyalty. As a result, 42.8% of marketers began investing more in automation technology in 2021 as compared to only 17.8% doing so in 2020. Automation will help marketers perform their tasks faster. It can be used for posting to social media, maximizing exposure of products or services and addressing customer concerns via chatbots. These technologies can also help better target specific audiences and keep them engaged. And because of this, marketers not only save time, but money as well.
- Social media
It’s no secret that social media has become a huge part of our lives, even before Covid. But, usage went up by 13% in the past two years as users took to interacting online with family and friends.
As social media holds a pivotal role, many users also take to it to make decisions on which brands they should buy from and trust. Statistics demonstrate this as 54% of internet users access social media to conduct brand and product research.
Engaging with customers is a key marketing strategy for success. It helps maintain your relationship with them, increase trustworthiness and prove your value so that they remain loyal to the brand. This has been even more important during the pandemic as consumers looked for brands they could turn to and trust in these trying times.
- Audio advertising
Audio marketing has been gaining momentum of late. Examples include podcasts and streaming ads. Reports have shown that 37% more Americans listened to podcasts in 2021 than 2020 and 67% of marketers say that they have been frequently using it to contribute towards their marketing strategies. There is still plenty of room for the medium to grow as it can cover a variety of niches and offer something for everyone.
The popularity of podcasts and other audio mediums is largely due to their convenience. Consumers can tune in at any time, from anywhere and while doing anything. Plus, they’re a great way of absorbing a lot of information at once. They also tend to keep consumers interested and hanging on to every word because of their engaging tone.
- Local marketing
Consumer behavior has changed and so marketing has become more targeted. During the pandemic, it was important to address each of the various needs and concerns of different audiences. Generic solutions weren’t going to help because people were affected differently in various regions. What was needed was understanding each local situation, even if it meant a difference in messaging between zip codes.
This trend will continue to take shape as marketing becomes more tailored and personalised. Consumers want to feel a human connection when engaging with commercial content. This will help influence their purchases.
COVID-19 has had a big impact on most aspects of our lives. The digital marketing space was influenced in a number of ways, and these trends are likely to live on in the next few years. While we adjust to the new normal, you can be assured that at Lilo, we’ll always be on top of the game. Just ask any of our clients.