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Digital Marketing Trends During A Pandemic & How To Respond

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It is no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our way of life in a drastic fashion. The same is true for how businesses think about their online presence. Although things seem uncertain right now and are difficult to predict, it is important to know that there are effective adjustments you can make to your digital marketing strategy that will bring solutions that can also meet your customers’ needs. Here are 4 digital marketing trends that are developing amongst this pandemic and how you can respond in a proactive and effective manner.

The Trend: In-Person Store Visits Nearly Eliminated

Since the start of the virus pandemic, businesses have seen in-person store visits drop 90% within just a month’s span. This unexpected limited foot traffic, that most businesses rely on, has been affecting the way advertisers and businesses are handling their digital needs. The question that arises from this is, how will you respond? Now is the time you should be focusing on your digital marketing strategy, and how you are portrayed to your customers. You want to make things as easy as possible for them while also making sure you are positioning yourself for the highest level of success.

  • Solution 1: Website Maintenance This is the foundation of your online existence, and what ties all things digital together. That being said, you want to make sure your site is optimized properly and running smoothly. Such optimizations include making sure your site speed is up to standard, and your landing pages are refined which in turn will directly affect your PPC efforts since this is where your ads are leading to.

  • Solution 2: Google My Business You want to make sure you get your business listed on Google. With the physical visit either being eliminated or altered, you need to make sure your updated business hours, address, any posts, or photos as well as reviews are properly and accurately displayed. With most of these attributes being modified, it is important to make sure you are getting the right information to your customers.

  • Solution 3: Social Media The effectiveness of social media is almost more prominent now than ever. You want to make sure you are staying active and strategic, and using social channels as a tool of communication with your customers. This is where the bulk of your digital marketing strategy will be altered. Being active on these channels builds a level of trust to your customer and lets them know that you are still open or conducting business in other ways.

  • Solution 4: eCommerce To put your business in the best position for success, think about adjustments you can make to meet your customers’ new needs. One way to keep sales coming in is by adding eCommerce to your website if it makes sense for your customers and product lines. Stay proactive and have options available to your customers.

  • Solution 5: Promote Yourself Online Once you have all the foundation pieces in place, get to promoting! Make sure you do your research and take advantage of all available PPC avenues. Areas to look to for promoting yourself through paid ads are Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, and Facebook as well as other social media outlets such as Instagram and LinkedIn.

The Trend: Online Searches Dominated By COVID-19

The COVID pandemic has had a major impact on what we are seeing in users’ online behavior. Anything related to COVID is dominating searches which means you need to look at adjusting your paid search strategy. What is developed from this is we are seeing a lot of new searches that we’ve never see before such as more questions being asked, and topics that we have never encountered. So, if you are already established in paid advertising, the question is, how do you respond to this new activity?

  • Solution 1: Search Query Reports First, you should make sure you adjust your paid search campaigns for these new search terms and volume that is coming in. Make sure you are reviewing search terms regularly in order to understand what sort of traffic you are getting.

  • Solution 2: Negative Keywords Along with running more frequent search query reports for your campaigns, you should make sure you are adding the right negative keywords that could have a damaging effect on your campaigns. With the new type of traffic that is coming through, there’s also more irrelevant terms within those queries. You want to make sure you are flushing those out, so you are not spending budget on terms that do not apply to your business.

  • Solution 3: Follow Trending Searches You can use Google Trends as an effective tool to dissect and understand how people are searching. Trends, includes a new hub specifically related to Coronavirus search trends. Here, you can review on a regular basis to see how people are prioritizing within their searches, which will help when filtering through your keywords in your PPC campaigns.

The Trend: Declining Mobile Traffic

This is where there’s more detail in your paid search strategy. Besides what we are seeing in new traffic, we are also seeing new places this traffic is coming from. In the month of March, Google saw paid search mobile search traffic cut by nearly 25% due to the pandemic. What is usually traffic we can always count on, is now suddenly beginning to dissipate. Besides people being physically less mobile, they are also being less mobile in their online behavior.

  • Solution 1: Device Bid Adjustments An area you can capitalize on this within your PPC account is by revisiting device bid adjustments. Generally, you would make this type of adjustment based on specific data with your campaigns, but now due to the pandemic you need to take into account that more users are going back to their desktop.

  • Solution 2: Smart Bidding Secondly, you could consider implementing smart bidding in your campaigns. With PPC strategy being altered during the pandemic, it is going to become more difficult to know how search behavior will change abruptly. Smart Bidding may be a potential avenue as it will allow you to be able to digest data that is changing and adjust CPC bids in real time.

The Trend: Have An Open Mind To New Opportunities

It is important to note that overall internet use is still up 50%, and the good news is that you can still reach your customers. The difference is that they are just looking in different places than usual, like YouTube and social media, which is why it is crucial to advertise across multiple networks rather than just Google Search. This where you can look to make the most effective changes to your paid search strategy.

  • Solution 1: Advertise In Multiple Areas With Google search traffic in a downward trend, it will be important to blend your PPC advertising across multiple networks and platforms. Some effective examples of this are combining Google search with Microsoft Ads, or Google search with Display.

  • Solution 2: Google Search Partners Google Search Partners is a network of sites that partner with Google to display PPC ads. By using Google Search Partners, you are not only hitting Google search traffic, but also many more search engine sites that are included within this network. This will help expand your reach and brand by not solely relying on Google search traffic.

  • Solution 3: Remarketing Although new business might be difficult to bring in at the moment, you can still focus on your past customers and website visitors by nurturing those leads and bringing them back to your website. Serve ads where those users are now spending their time, like YouTube and social media, using display remarketing ads. You’re likely to see more conversions on those return visits.

I’m not sure anyone is able to give a prediction on how this pandemic will end. The future appears to be very unclear. But the important thing to remember is that you still have control over how you are getting in front of your customers. You just have to make sure you are being proactive in responding to the digital marketing trends that are developing, and stay open minded when it comes to your paid search strategy. If you are unsure what these new digital marketing trends mean for your business, give us a shout! We’re here to help however we can.

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