How will the pandemic impact your digital marketing plans?

Digital marketing blog - an up growing green arrow with text "Internet, social media, and video content to surge"
Media usage hit an all-time high, as people are forced into self-isolation.

Most of us have not personally experienced a pandemic. And this is not a crisis that will go away any time soon. The impact will be far and wide. It will change how we collaborate with our colleagues. It will drive how we spend our time away from work. And as digital marketers, it will force you to review your current digital marketing plans.

During the crisis, it is important that consumers who CAN continue to buy do, and that those who don’t still maintain affinity with your brand through this time. The question is how?

2019 saw the number of people using the internet climb. Social Media usage drove that trend. Hootsuite and We Are Social’s 2019 digital trend report predicted that “nearly 60 percent of the world’s population is already online, and the latest trends suggest that more than half of the world’s total population will use social media by the middle of this year”.

As the effect of the latest Coronavirus pandemic reaches every corner of the globe, you will see internet usage surge. We can expect the role of digital in our lives to reach new heights as populations are forced into isolation, and it would be essential to add digital proofing into your business.

Digital marketing usage will surge

According to the Digital 2020 Global Overview Report, the number of people around the world using the internet grew by 7% to 4.54 billion in 2019. Interestingly even though the number of users has grown, the time spent online each day is 3 minutes less per user than the previous year. Nevertheless, the connected time of an average user still equates to more than 100 days per year. 

Add to that the already growing trend towards online buying behavior. There is no doubt that the current outbreak is going to take online shopping to a whole new level, forcing people of all ages to rethink how they live their lives and how they buy. Search engine marketing is, therefore, an opportunity not to be missed.

Search engine marketing is an opportunity not to be missed during COVID-19

Moreover, people will continue to use different devices at different times and for different needs, so marketers must consider the various use cases and contexts for each device when building their plans.

Social media to explode

The use of social media users grew by 9% in 2019, meaning that there were a staggering 3.80 billion social media users at the start of 2020. Enter COVID-19. Cities placed into lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. People quarantined in their homes. In these conditions, social media serves as the easiest way for victims of this virus to communicate with the outside world. They can keep in touch with their friends, get the latest news (good, bad, fake or real), and be entertained thanks to social media.

More than ever, people have the time and inclination to spend time on their personal devices. Be where they are. Ensure you have a continuous stream of organic content on your social channels that balance both value and product information.

Video content to cut-through

Social media and the way in which people consume media have all contributed to making video content more important than ever before. In fact, according to Hubspot, 87% of online marketers use video content.

Looking at the favorite social media platforms of 2020. Video content works successfully in the top 7. Interestingly, YouTube has the second largest active user base in the world, with the Digital 2021 April Snapshot reporting that advertisers can now reach almost 2.3 billion users on the platform each month.

Video is and can be, a powerful tool in your digital marketing strategy. As people spend more time on their devices, there is no doubt that the creation of video content will have increased cut-through. So use it to your advantage and utilize video content across platforms.

Television viewing will jump

Media consumption is already at an all-time high. And television has been holding its own. In the face of the latest crisis, Americans are predicted to watch at least 60% more television as self-isolation is enforced in cities around the country, according to an analysis from Nielsen.

Type of content consumed? People will stay indoors binging content, watching movies, and keeping up with news from the outside.

So if television is part of your current marketing strategy and you are a product or entertainment that people seek out in a crisis – you are in a good place! You will be reaching more viewers than ever before.

The clear message is that consumers change the way they live and work during a crisis. Their usage of digital is multiplying. What you need to consider is how best to develop and maintain the brand relationship until the lockdown is lifted. If you are an essential product your there will be less need to develop awareness. Driven by necessity. But regardless, it is imperative to maintain your presence online, in video, and on social media.

Note: Updated November 2021 for the latest digital trends.