What does the coronavirus mean for internet marketing?

world after corona

And how should Internet marketing industry deal with this? Countless businesses around the world are scrambling to stay alive as the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the planet’s attention.

As the death toll sadly keeps rising, companies are left counting the cost of the disease on their financial situation. While many national governments have stepped in to help pay the wages of staff at this difficult time, it is still proving to be an extremely challenging period for firms.

Put simply, nobody planned for this. Entire industries are on the brink of collapse while others are struggling to cope with the vastly increased demands on them as the world recalibrates. But the crisis will, at some point, come to an end. And companies need to find a way to plot a course through this period so that they can come out relatively unscatched at the other end.

Public safety obviously remains the top priority and likely will do for some time to come. But what role can internet marketing play in helping companies through the COVID-19 era?

Industries traffic growth or decline due to COVID-19

Covid-19Shift to online creates new opportunities

Naturally, with so many people staying at home during the coronavirus, the internet has begun to play an even larger part in daily life than before the pandemic. A new study from Ipsos MORI found 50 per cent of Chinese consumers have been shopping online more since the outbreak.

Video conferencing companies such as Zoom have seen a huge explosion in growth, social apps such as Houseparty have been rediscovered by a new audience, and almost any business operating delivery through the internet has been flooded with a huge level of demand.

Internet marketing has, therefore, had to play a part in communicating with customers at this time. Most companies that deal directly with the public in some form have been sending out mass mail messages detailing their plans for maintaining public health during the crisis.

Many businesses have found they have had to pivot to a more online focus. Restaurants, for example, have been able to keep trading albeit with delivery their sole method. For food businesses that have never really traded online before, a crash-course has been needed.

Internet marketing helps to spread the message of what they are doing to keep in business. Customers had already got used to having food delivered through services such as Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo, with restaurants either signing up to them or opting to go it alone.

Furthermore, many types of traditional advertising have been hit very hard by the crisis. With many places in effective lockdown, fewer people are out and about so tactics such as billboards have seen vastly reduced effectiveness in the past month or so. Other types of off-screen advertising that are commonly used by companies have been damaged in the same way.

Internet marketing and handling customer communication

There has arguably never been a more important time than now to be right on top of customer communication. Internet marketing has a crucial role to play in this area as well.

Members of the public want to know that companies they deal with are taking public health seriously, as well as doing the right thing in terms of continuing to pay their staff and so on.

With information changing so quickly – messaging about the virus can shift from day to day as new details about the disease come to light – keeping customers in the loop is vitally important.

Making sure that communications are handled quickly and professionally can have a big impact on the public perception of a company at this time. And with many businesses likely to go to the wall during this period, surviving firms who have built their reputation will be in the best position to emerge from the crisis in decent shape.

Companies experiencing downtime as a result of the pandemic should also consider using the spare time to work on their content strategy. Having a new plan ready to roll out as soon as lockdown restrictions start to be lifted could help the business to bounce back quickly.

Internet marketing industry also affected by the outbreak

While most people working in internet marketing can continue to work, albeit remotely, the coronavirus has had a major impact on the sector, just like most other industries.

A lot of the top industry events have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic, with Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona and Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit among those to have been called off as a result of COVID-19.

These conferences are key dates on the calendar for everyone involved in internet marketing. They are a key opportunity to share new ideas and discuss the future direction of the industry. Without these conferences being held, it is currently unclear how the future of internet marketing could be affected. But it seems certain that innovation could be damaged in 2020 as a result with product announcements likely to be delayed.

If countries remain under lockdown, internet marketing conferences may take place online. This would appear to be a solution that is worth considering as sessions can be streamed remotely.

At the moment, the world is operating under the impression that the coronavirus pandemic could be over and forgotten in a matter of months. But if the situation continues then organisers of internet marketing events might have to consider whether they can be held online instead.

Social media usage growing fast

Internet marketers cannot fail to have noticed the growth in social media usage since the outbreak. With so many people around the world forced to stay at home, Facebook has become one of the planet’s primary communication tools for staying in touch with loved ones.

Houseparty is one of the apps to have become a household name in a very short space of time. Though the app was launched a few years ago, it gained little traction despite some popularity with a teenage audience. Now, however, Houseparty is being used by a phenomenal number of people who are using it to try and maintain some semblance of a social life during this time.

Facebook has revealed that total messaging on its platforms such as Messenger and WhatsApp increased more than 50 per cent in a month in countries badly hit by coronavirus. Instagram and Facebook Live views have also been growing at a very fast pace in countries such as Italy where the pandemic has hit particularly hard.

What this means for the internet marketing industry is that a focus on social media could be a smart move in the coming weeks and months. Facebook’s ad platform has seen revenues slip thanks to the outbreak, so it seems likely that a pivot towards social media marketing is already under way across the internet marketing sphere. Companies should ensure any good deeds they are doing to alleviate suffering right now are promoted through social media channels.

Mentions of Coronavirus across media

 

coronavirusWhat are the best tools to use in internet marketing at this time?

Internet marketing includes using various tools in order to improve performance for companies. But, at the current time, some of these tactics are likely to be a lot more effective than others.

Search engine optimisation (SEO for short) is likely to be very handy right now. With so many customers now shopping online, businesses need to make sure they are ranking highly on search engines such as Google if they are to continue to make money during the pandemic.

Similarly, content marketing investments should pay off in spades. The public is seeking clear and accurate information from businesses during the crisis, so it could be a good chance for firms to revamp websites. Perhaps launch a new blog section that provides regular updates?

Lastly, video animation might be set for a boom in popularity in the internet marketing world amid the COVID-19 outbreak. With social media so popular right now, videos are more likely to get traction and enjoy large numbers of shares on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The coronavirus crisis might well get worse before it will get better. But companies with internet marketing budgets are in a good position to protect themselves during the global pandemic.