The Covid pandemic affected nearly every individual, business, and industry in some way or another, so I thought it would be interesting to see how it impacted different digital marketing tools. Here is what I have found in my research.

Podcasting

Since podcast listening is strongly correlated to behaviors like commuting and going to the gym, the disruption of this routine is playing a large role in the in whether or not people are listening to podcasts.

So, what are the results? Initially, podcast listening was down, significantly, just like many business models. In fact, Spotify lost over $415. Now however, consumption levels have returned to pre-pandemic levels and Spotify said that overall podcast consumption has more than doubled.

During this time, Amazon decided to start competing with Apple Podcasts (itunes), Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and other podcasting syndication directories. You can now listen to your favorite podcasts on Amazon Music. Previously, in order to listen to podcasts on an Amazon Alexa-enabled device like Echo, your podcast had to be listed on TuneIn, but now when you ask Alexa to play a podcast, it will draw from Amazon Music’s catalog as the default if the podcast is available.

More importantly, Amazon is clearly seeing the viability of podcasting, which is why they have entered this market, so it has become a mainstream method for getting in front of your customers. In order to have your podcast available on amazon, you must apply and be approved. My “20 Minutes of Influence” podcast is one of the shows that is now featured on Amazon Music, so you can check it out there. Click on the image for the direct link:

Blogging

Personally, as the pandemic hit, I started getting more and more requests to have people guest post on my blog. I don’t know if this was a direct result of the pandemic, but here are some interesting survey results regarding how the pandemic has affected blogging:

46.50% of bloggers say that they have been blogging more since the pandemic started, while 27.18% say that they blogged less, while the rest didn’t change their blogging habits. It’s clear from this data that the pandemic has affected everyone differently.

Naturally, since most people couldn’t leave their homes that often, bloggers simply did what they do best – blog. However, some blogged less because they weren’t inspired and motivated to do so.

As a key indicator of a blog’s performance, traffic has also been affected during the pandemic, with 54.27% of blogs getting more traffic during the crisis. Not only are more people sitting at home and reading articles online, but blogs have also been successful at adjusting their topics to the situation.

Since blogging revenue is directly connected to the amount of online traffic, the similarities between the two aren’t surprising. That’s why 35.19% of bloggers say that their revenue increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is consistent with what we have seen with overall online sales, and why, moving forward, I still strongly recommend blogging as a way to promote your ecommerce store.

Digital Advertising

With the coronavirus pandemic, business owners are assessing their marketing efforts and wondering if it’s the best time to run online ads. Media consumption has spiked all across the globe, with 21% of users spending longer time social media. The cost of Facebook ads is the lowest it has been in years, so this makes it seem like a great time to advertise on this platform.

According to Statista, the advertising industry is looking at a $26 billion loss in revenue due to the coronavirus outbreak. Ad spend declines up to 50% are expected across all channels, according to advertising professionals. This means that platforms like Facebook have dropped their rates, which is good news for you as an advertiser.

However, we are seeing a drop in online conversions across all verticals (form fills, purchases, appointment bookings). Consumers simply aren’t responding like they were pre-covid.

What this means is that your advertising campaigns should be less about selling and more about educating customers and showing them what makes your business different. We know that we have this audience that is at home, practicing social distancing, and they’re getting sick of the news about coronavirus. Instead of trying to get sales conversions, focus on educational, valuable content. What can you provide your audience at home that will make their lives better?

Email

Email conversions are similar to digital advertising, in that consumers are not responding to email offers like they were pre-covid. We ran a number of email campaigns for some of our customers (as well as ourselves) last Spring that did exceptionally well. Moving into the Fall however, we have noticed that consumers are backing off of email offers.

The good news is that email open rates are up from last year. People are reading your content.

Our advice is the same as it is for digital ads: Create quality content that makes people’s lives better. Focus on educational content that positions you as the expert. When things go back to normal, people will remember you.

Since ecommerce spending is up, and email open rates are up, this is a good time to stay in touch with your customers using this marketing channel.

SEO

While the coronavirus has increased internet usage exponentially, it has also caused search traffic to business websites to plummet in many industries. Search volume has had a focus on health, news, and other highly relevant industries. As a result, this has caused a decline in traffic to nonessential business websites (many of which are small businesses)—from both paid and organic results.

With many businesses relying heavily on online traffic to successfully attain their goals, a decline in traffic is worrisome. Unfortunately, most industries are experiencing a 20% decline in traffic on average. Sectors like travel are the hardest hit with traffic plummeting by as much as 50%. On the other hand, traffic to ecommerce websites has risen significantly.

The key here is that evergreen content is what you need to focus on. Don’t try to rank for coronavirus content – the major news channels will likely beat you on this anyways. Since the pandemic is a trend, it will eventually see diminished results. Instead focus on information relevant to your industry and your business. Content written on evergreen topics within your niche stays relevant and accumulates traffic over time. As such, there is never a bad time to publish content on evergreen topics.

Local search is crucial

With so many closings and with people unable to venture far, local search optimization is crucial. Local SEO tactics will help you to appear for “open now” and “near me” searches. This is why things such as YouTube ranking videos are important to focus on right now.

Text Messaging

Text messaging (SMS) is a fantastic way to stay in front of your customers. Due to the pandemic there has been a flood of fake / scam messages hitting people’s in boxes. This has made consumers cautious about opening text messages from numbers they don’t recognize. But, this is the time when the value and effectiveness of text messaging really shines. Texting has helped businesses re-open by streamlining their communication with their customers.

Companies are finding both practical and creative ways of using SMS during the time of social distancing. Many businesses are offering discounts, promotions and offers via text message.

Take-Aways

Life changed for all of us this year. As we move into the fourth quarter, you may be wondering if your sales for the year can still be salvaged. And if it can, what impact does digital marketing and your website have on this year’s bottom line?

The good news of course is that ecommerce is not only up this year, but online sales will likely remain a force for years to come. This is a great time to be selling online.

Important digital marketing trends to consider moving forward include:

  • Facebook ads – the cost to advertise on Facebook is the least expensive it has been in years. Just remember to concentrate on building value and growing your list, rather than getting immediate sales.
  • Email – open rates are up, so this is a good time to grow and nurture your list.
  • Local SEO – If you are a local business, getting found for open now and near me searches is critical. Consider YouTube ranking videos to help you reach your goal.
  • Text Messaging – Perhaps the most effective digital marketing strategy to stay in touch with your customers is the personal experience that texting provides.

WebStores Ltd can help you with any of these – give us a call at 303-688-6560 to see which of these makes the most sense for your business.