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Digital Marketing Trends During COVID-19 & Strategic Tips from Top Industry Leaders

Digital Marketing Trends During COVID-19

Digital Marketing Trends During COVID-19

Digital Marketing Trends During COVID-19

We have seen a lot of fluctuations in our ranking in SERP during COVID-19. Google announced the algorithm update recently. Local business sales got impacted. A lot of businesses are facing digital marketing challenges and looking for tips to grow their digital marketing strategy going forward.

Here are some recent SEO updates and digital marketing trends observed by industry leaders. Learn how to prepare for these trends.

These are the questions you will find answers for in this post:

Question – 1: What you think will impact the most on SEO, post COVID-19 crisis?

Question – 2: What trends have you observed in the digital marketing landscape recently during COVID-19?

Question – 3: How businesses should make themselves ready for digital marketing in the future?

Read what industry experts are saying about the situation of digital marketing trends landscape right now and the possible future trends after the COVID-19 crisis.

#1 Jordan Brannon, President & COO Coalition

SEO impact:

I believe the shift of Google Shopping to a primarily organic search result page is likely the biggest, the lasting impact of COVID19 on SEO. I also believe we’ll see a sustained increase in search terms in many interests around health, wellness, stress, remote life, and social distance behaviors. Keywords reflecting those interests will become more competitive, harder to compete on, and also more valuable. Keywords focused on industries that require more in-person get together will likely experience dramatic downtrends that will be sustained for at least 12 months.

Recent digital marketing trend:

The biggest overarching shift in digital marketing is the willingness of end consumers in all industries to spend more time engaging with digital content. Blog posts are no longer just throw away landing pages- people are reading them. Fledgling social media platforms are exploding in user count, time in-app, and volume of publishing. Message-based digital marketing is also having a heyday with people opening more emails and profitably interacting with them.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Brands need to learn to be more aggressive on their content publishing schedules and need to be willing to be more relaxed about their content publishing standards or objectives. You won’t be able to compete if every social media post, landing page, blog post, etc. requires 5 layers of review, professionally shot photography and videography, etc. Further, I think brands need to make a concerted effort to provide opportunities for customers to be the voice of the brand on a per URL basis.

#2 Richa Pathak, Founder & Editor at SEM Updates

SEO impact:

Local businesses: Most of the local business which is getting rank for the keyword + near me are now losing their position in the search engine result page and online services are taking place now. The local businesses got hit badly because of this COVID-19 pandemic.

Searches from Google maps: Google map searches are going down, very less number of people using it to check the directions amid lockdown.

Fluctuations in keyword ranking: The people now consuming different types of content in various formats as they are staying home. People choosing audiobooks, podcasts, videos, and gaming apps mostly to utilize their time to break the monotonous schedule in the lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the search engine is adapting their search patterns and returning the most relevant content to the audience.

Recent digital marketing trend:

Some industries got impacted badly: Industries like travel & tourism, automobile, manufacturing, production, real estate lost their ranking mostly in search engines now. But because of this situation, now companies are adopting the digital platforms for promotions, giving better customer experience, nurturing leads through various omnichannel interactions.

Virtual reality and augmented reality integrations with websites: Companies are employing various creative approaches to entertain customers to keep them engaged with their products and brands. Augmented reality/virtual reality experience through the website is attracting more visitors to the site now.

Virtual product experience: Virtual product experience for various products and brands are now trending.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

AI & ML-powered tools: Artificial intelligence-powered tools will solve various challenges related to analytics reporting, customer experience enhancement, providing a quick response to the customer’s queries. Predictive analytics will help business owners in decision making. Data will be analyzed and used for campaigns based on machine learning patterns and projections. The adoption of the latest technology will keep the businesses running post-COVID-19 crisis.

Structured schema markup: Utilization of structured schema markup should be in your digital marketing strategy. As Google displaying different content formats in the search engine results, it would be a plus for the companies to make the most of it, by implementing the right microdata for their website.

Better customer experience through chatbots: Better customer experience going to be the top priority always. As the competition is high, consumers are exposed to the millions of businesses these days, and getting a lot of deals. Providing better experience and retaining the customer is a big challenge and needs to addressed in the future too post-COVID-19.

#3 John Howard, CEO at COUPON LAWN

SEO impact:

Search behavior will continue to drastically change. Everyone will continue to talk about COVID-19 so sites might as well include it as a topic on their content. Keywords and search intents will keep up with what most people are talking about after the crisis.

E-commerce sites that sell non-essentials are trending down. It is noticeable how people are looking into purchasing more necessary items than trivial ones. This means that e-commerce sites that sell non-essential products will need to up their game.

Recent digital marketing trend:

Augmented and virtual reality. ARs and VRs are now becoming a trend since we are all avoiding physical interactions and most people are spending their time online. It also serves as an interactive way to engage people in your marketing efforts.

Contents focus on social distancing and isolation. More and more marketing contents are made related to how to cope up with the crisis. This catches the audience’s emotions that lead to purchases.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Don’t expect that once this crisis ends, everything will go back to normal. We will now be forcefully adopting a new “normal” where people will still have the fear of physical interactions and going to crowded public places. Aside from keeping up with the new trends in digital marketing that will emerge in the future, people will also want to have the assurance of safety and sanitation if ever they decide to avail of your services.

#4 Drew Donaldson, Growth Strategist and Founder of GroHaus

Recent digital marketing trend:

Virtual lunch meetings are a fascinating idea I stumbled upon recently. The host sends a gift card for a food delivery service like Grub Hub, or Uber eats for the guest to use to order lunch during their meeting. So that while apart, they can still share a meal, albeit virtually.

Now, this is a great tactic to employ as a salesperson, but what’s more intriguing is how marketers are using to drive webinar engagement. By offering to either buy all or some (via giveaways) of their attendees’ lunch, registrants are not only more likely to attend the event, but if you happen to host your webcast during lunch, there is a good chance, they will log in while eating.

The genius here is that while attendees are busy eating there, paying greater attention to the content. By occupying their hands with lunch, you effectively limit their ability to click away from your presentation or otherwise become distracted. It’s arguably the most impressive marketing hack I have seen come out of the crisis.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

This crisis is providing companies of all sizes the ability to hit the reset button with their marketing programs and reevaluate how they interact with prospects and clients.

For too long, marketers have been treating their audience as prey instead of partners. The language marketers use reflects this reality: tripwire, targeting, lead capture.

There is no long term value in trying to outsmart your prospects or tricking them into a sale. Instead, the goal should be to establish a level of trust and respect, thereby creating a foundation on which customer loyalty can be built. You do this by actively listening to your prospect’s needs, helping them solve their problems, and providing outstanding value beyond the sale.

#5 Janice Wald, Academy Founder at Mostly Blogging

SEO impact:

As always, brands must answer searchers’ queries to be found in search and be relevant. For example, if people will be job hunting once they can leave the house again, they will enter words pertaining to their search in Google. Brands should focus their content on what’s relevant to the current climate as always.

Recent digital marketing trend:

People don’t have money so they aren’t making purchases. Also, not all products like cars and businesses like sporting events are accessible.

To stay relevant, brands are focused more on making connections instead of sales.

Brands are using social media more than ever to make those connections and remind potential customers that they exist.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

In order to be ready for a post-COVID-19 world, brands should continue what is working now–kind, concern, and empathy. For example, when sending newsletters to your email list, ask what you can do for them. Offer to help. Pivot from telling them what you have to asking your list members what you can do for them.

#6 Lars Helgeson, CEO at GreenRope

Recent digital marketing trend:

People are realizing that digital transformation is a necessity for survival in a rapidly evolving business landscape. Companies that don’t embrace this technology migration will fall behind and eventually become irrelevant. As organizations move toward this transformation, they will see the benefits of integration. Through unifying and consolidating data from sales, marketing, customer service, and operations, the most successful companies will grow through efficiency, automation, and deeper insights.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Complete CRM will be a transformation in both marketing and sales. Marketing will be able to leverage more data from sales activities, and sales will be able to learn more about leads and customers from marketing data. This sharing of information will foster a team-focused, data-driven environment. Combining mobile marketing, social media, email, web, video, customer service, and events into a single platform will create that environment and drive the success of the best companies.

SEO impact:

People will be in the habit of making purchasing decisions online even more than we already were. That’s important to SEO for two primary reasons:

  • Google will likely update their algorithm to account for an increased intent to shop or buy online.
  • Companies that can’t reach their audience organically will get crushed by competitors with better SEO.

Recent Digital Marketing Trends:

I think one of the most relevant trends right now is related to PPC advertising. Google and Facebook are both losing out on ad revenue as businesses cut their marketing budgets. As a result, the ad-buying marketplace is less competitive. Facebook ads, for example, have become more than 15% less expensive.

Conversions are dropping, too, since consumers are adjusting their spending during our economic downturn. Companies that continue to shop online should optimize their campaigns for conversions and keep a close eye on ROI. Strong CTAs and careful targeting are critical.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Businesses have to accept that people will likely stick with the habit of making purchasing decisions online. Late adopters to digital marketing should definitely get on board as soon as possible, and everyone should adjust their digital marketing strategies.

SEO will be more important as businesses duke it out for top positions in search results. Performance-driven digital marketing platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads Manager will also be especially useful as companies try to generate sales.

#8 Dan Moyer, VP of Sales and Marketing at RA Fischer Co.

SEO impact:

They say content is king, but post-COVID-19, too much content becomes clutter. With everyone social-distancing from home and spending more time online and on social media, companies are racing to push out content. Blog articles, infographics, new landing pages, new social platforms – it’s an arms race of sorts to see who can earn the most brand impressions while everyone’s eyes are glued to the TV or their smartphone.

Recent Digital Marketing Trends:

The educational journey for today’s customers looks a lot different than it did even just a year ago. Customers are researching on Google, YouTube, even Tik Tok now looking for answers, reviews, and more. If they don’t find anything of value, you’re going to lose them. And while most companies can’t do all of the things across all of the platforms all of the time, every company can focus on 2-3 areas where their core audience is regularly engaged.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Be prepared to use digital marketing to differentiate your brand from competitors. In the past, companies have largely seen digital marketing as a top-of-funnel approach to spreading awareness, driving clicks to the website, and earning more ‘likes’ or ‘follows.’ Post COVID-19, with the marketing landscape cluttered with content, digital marketing strategies relying on Google Ads and SEM will need to articulate what makes a brand special. How is this company different from the 3 other ads listed on top and below it? Is there a unique Call-to-Action or Value Proposition featured prominently in the headline that will earn better engagement rates at a lower Cost-Per-Click? Watch out for brands shifting their digital marketing focus from general awareness to competitive advantage.

#9 Norhanie Pangulima, Content Ambassador at Hernorm

The coronavirus has become a global pandemic that has affected human health, lifestyle, and businesses nowadays. The demand for digital marketing has significantly increased and has affected SEO practices which have been a major problem in the business industry. It is estimated that the coronavirus will cost the global economy $2.7 trillion. SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3bvCkwg.  Digital marketers are not only losing traffic but losing conversions is also inevitable. As a content ambassador, I am seeing this firsthand.

SEO impact:

As an expert on SEO, I believe the coronavirus will have a long-term impact and while we can be able to rise from this crisis, it will take time to come back. SEO will be affected in the way that it will lead to major consumer shifts thus affecting industries that provide non-essential services in this time of crisis.

Recent Digital Marketing Trends:

  • Chatbots: Due to the massive amount of consumers relying on digital marketing, utilizing better customer service is a way to satisfy customer’s needs. Many people prefer chatbots because it is responsive 24/7 and can answer queries accurately and promptly.
  • Video marketing: This is one way of hooking the consumer’s attention as the majority of consumers said that product marketing videos help them to be confident in their online purchasing decision.
  • Social Commerce: Transactions through social media have now been a trend, most especially since the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the number of people engaging on social media, entrepreneurs tend to grab this opportunity to sell their products as it is less of a hassle and it decreases the chances of sales abandonment.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Businesses should start by gathering together various digital technologies for a wide range of consumers. It is all about acquiring and using the right technology to analyze and interpret data in order to achieve an important business advantage. The willingness and the maturity to engage in such a platform is also important to improve customer interactions.

#10 Tonya Davis, Marketing Manager, ThoughtLab

When it comes to post COVID-19 crisis, I think the most impactful thing to be mindful of is how searches will change. Many people have adapted to working from home, and some people are now permanently remote. I think people are going to be much more mindful about cleanliness and looking to do more from home vs going out.

You need to consider if your niche has been affected by this, and consider how searches have changed for you. For example, many gyms have adapted to offering virtual classes as the demand for at-home workouts has skyrocketed. You will need to assess the demand for these types of searches and adapt your SEO strategy to cater to them.

We’ve seen this a lot during quarantine, instead of going out, people are opting to do their own nails, dye or cut their own hair, or trying new hobbies out of boredom. I think we’ll see a large shift towards virtual demand and DIY, and businesses should be prepared by making sure they have the right type of content on their site to suit both needs of virtual and physical type searches.

SEO impact:

Coming out of COVID-19, there is going to be as quick of a rush to Digital Marketing as there was a drop in it as the pandemic responses took effect.  It was seen in the drop in PPC prices as well as the increase in traffic for sites utilizing good SEO practices.  As fast as they slowed or stopped spending, many companies are going to try to ramp it back up which will impact costs and conversion rates.

The “new normal” after will require adaptations and heightened pace of change similar to what we experienced when it started.

Recent Digital Marketing Trends:

Video content has experienced a bonanza while Podcasting has hit the skids.  Audio will rebound (some) as widespread WFH reduces and gyms are allowed to reopen.  However, the massive shift that has occurred (even in this short timeframe) is going to have a lasting impact on the Content landscape.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Voice searches are at their infant stages and businesses who are not actively figuring it out now are going to be way behind very soon.  According to Search Engine Land, nearly 50% of users report using voice to perform “general web searches”. Different than keyword style searching that users perform typing a search, voice searching is performed in a more natural-language pattern. SEO supporting voice searches will be a massive growth area in the Digital Marketing space coming out of COVID-19.

#12 Abhishek Joshi, General Manager Digital, Michelin

SEO impact:

SEO would take a primary seat in the absence of dedicated or high decibel paid campaigns. User Experience and content that helps consumers beyond the templates that brands followed pre-pandemic would come in handy. For instance, Google My Business listings can be updated to show how it is safe to visit, buy from a particular outlet. What the brand is doing for implementing hygiene – social distancing, etc. Infographic or long-form content on these specific to industries would be helpful.

Recent Digital Marketing Trends:

With the pandemic running rampant across geographies, the lifestyle and event outreach via Influencers has taken a definitive hit. Events getting canceled, launches, and lifestyle collaborations have taken a downswing. As brands are moving forth to rationalize marketing spends – Influencers are the worst hit. I am being approached by agencies and Influencers who are willing to revise their rate cards for a long term engagement.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

Bracing themselves with the flexible approach would really help businesses in the future – with all the uncertainty, pre-empting consumer needs via data intelligence and gearing up for the same would help take course correction – campaign outlays media budgets, etc. Focus on SEO and organic would be ever important. Digital would have to look into communication and copy even closely – depicting people and their interaction with the brands (1:1 as against masses). Perhaps it is also a good time to take a pause and study via machine learning and AI to predict trends and patterns in advertising spends (fluctuations), the resonance of creative/copy with an audience – creatives would need to be refreshed.

#13 Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO Mavens & Moguls

SEO impact:

Websites must be optimized for voice search 

Voice user interface allows users to interact with websites through voice commands so it adds usability and functionality to your site making it accessible to all users including those with limitations and disabilities.  It is not just about complying with the ADA, responsible web design, and corporate social responsibility goals but it is also good for the bottom line by reaching a broader audience.  Inclusion is the right thing to do and it is good for business.

One key trend to address and tackle to grow your audience today is that smart speakers and voice search are growing in importance so being able to optimize for voice search will be key to maximize the marketing and advertising opportunities on Siri, Alexa, Google Home, etc.  Brands that perfect the “branded skill” with more customer-friendly, less invasive ads are going to win big.  Are you prepared when customers ask for help like “Alexa ask Nestle for an oatmeal cookie recipe”  or “What is the best Mexican restaurant in Boston?”  If not you are missing a big opportunity!

There are always new shiny objects in marketing to distract you, social media and technology are 24/7 but SEO is here to stay whether it is via Google or voice.  You get one chance to make a great first impression so if you want to improve the impression you are making and give your business a boost make sure your site is optimized.

Recent Digital Marketing Trends:

  • Geo-specification is on the rise: Digital marketing is becoming more targeted and location-specific so with the evolution of machine learning along with input from smartphone search trends, localized businesses or regional brands are finding new markets. This trend makes the digital landscape a lot more competitive for local businesses than ever before which may be very helpful as they reopen post-COVID.
  • Mobile continues to grow: Mobile has officially replaced desktop as the user’s favorite searching device. TV and direct mail are on the decline. People clearly prefer to move forward with mobile-first or mobile-only and the rise of IoT and video will continue to accelerate.

Preparing for Digital Marketing in Future post COVID-19

  • Change in social media behavior helps align sales and marketing: Spending less time on sites like Facebook creates opportunities for more engaging content, AR & VR so marketing teams need to have a strategic approach to content creation and align content strategy with the customer journey.
  • Marketing Automation and AI are fully incorporated into digital marketing experience:  Customizing communication based on a prospects’ interests or actions continue to be much more successful and cost-effective than trying to reach the masses with a generic message.  This should also be very helpful as businesses come back post-COVID.  Marketing automation converts more leads with scalable, personalized content, lead scoring, automated nurture campaigns, and tracked results and also facilitates closer cooperation between sales and marketing.

Data from UberSuggest showed a significant drop in organic traffic for selected industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For industries such as Travel, real estate, outdoor lifestyle…they suffered huge slashes in the typical incoming traffic they derived from optimizing keywords with high CTR.

This is not unconnected with the strong disinterest in traveling and outdoor life in the face of the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus. The only websites enjoying robust spikes in their organic traffic were mostly situated in the health, news, and food industry.

Also, the keyword difficulty for most keywords (which were typically high before now) dropped. This drop-in keyword competition was because many websites had downscaled their content marketing approaches in the event of a lack of conversions.

More than just chasing search engine rankings, many businesses realized they wouldn’t get much from their audience in terms of hitting CTAs other than registering for newsletters if they were to rank high. All these were a consequence of the COVID pandemic.

Conclusion

A lot of companies are transforming digitally and making them ready for the volatile market because of COVID-19. The firms which adopted the digital marketing new trends early are more likely to maintain the stability and generate sales through digital marketing. All the industries are facing the financial crisis right now and these new digital trends going to help them in the long run.

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