The emergence of COVID-19 has changed a lot of things in the world. It has changed person-to-person interactions, travel, shopping, work, as well as digital marketing. People may not yet know the full extent of the pandemic to determine its impact on other sectors. However, its impact on digital marketing is evident for all to see since more people have moved online to satisfy their daily needs.
Since the onset of the pandemic, digital marketing has become increasingly essential for businesses. When both the business owners and customers got stuck at home, the only connection channel became digital marketing. Close to one and a half years later, here are the things that have changed in digital marketing since the pandemic:
Shifted Customer Priorities
Buying preferences, brand loyalties, and business routines all came to a halt around March 2020. This had to happen as consumer shopping habits changed to adapt to the restriction of movements, safety measures, and new priorities. Because the disruption was so sudden, most consumers quickly established new shopping habits. This also opened doors for brands to release their human side and help in times of crisis.
Therefore, going forward, consumers still expect brands to extend that unspoken social contract. Customers will expect to see brands move away from promotions that may seem exploitative and move towards more humane marketing. This means businesses need to have in-depth marketing strategies with a human focus instead of a sale focus.
In fact, a recent study showed that up to 90% of customers prefer buying from a brand that puts employee and customer safety first. This means businesses have to show their human side to attract customers going forward.
Massive Budget Cuts
Apart from having to deal with changing consumer priorities and needs, businesses reduced significantly due to the effects of the pandemic. This was triggered mainly by the inability of many businesses to transition themselves fast online. In addition, employees and customers faced pay cuts and retrenchments, reducing disposable income.
Many businesses had to reduce their spending on digital marketing and explore other cheaper ways with maximum impact at a lowered cost. Such digital marketing avenues include pay per click (PPC), which has had a significant rise since the onset of the pandemic. If you’re targeting the dental market in Los Angeles, you may check out a dental marketing strategies post that shows the state of the dental market in the said city.
Marketing Imagery Changes
The type of content that marketers are using has also changed. The digital marketing efforts are keeping away from the imagery of groups of people who aren’t observing social distancing practices. People may not see imagery that contradicts these practices until the effects of the pandemic are almost forgotten.
These new social practices have changed the way people behave in public and social gatherings. Therefore, customers will expect advertisements to reflect these new social norms. For a brand to impact the buying power of customers, they stay relevant in their marketing efforts and become up-to-date with customer expectations on social behavior.
Social Media Marketing
Marketing through social media platforms rose during the pandemic as businesses used the pandemic to switch from traditional to digital marketing methods. Marketing entirely or mainly on social media has come with new challenges for businesses to meet customer needs adequately. Many brands aren’t skillful enough in social media marketing as the audiences would expect. Before the pandemic, brands only used social media minimally for announcements or introduced topics on other marketing platforms.
The social media marketing trend that’s most prominent is the use of micro-influencers. Since the Internet has become overly saturated with competing brands, using this level of influencers has become popular. Customers tend to trust popular people, and if a brand gets a compelling influencer, it’ll stand out from its competitors.
Because micro-influencers are cheaper than large scale influencers, businesses can use as many as they can afford to reach their targeted brand offering range.
Dealing With Shorter Buying Cycles
The routine journey that products and services took from brand discovery to purchasing saw notable changes during the pandemic. Social platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, introduced tools to help brands connect faster with customers. They created more shoppable formats that businesses can use to reduce the buying cycle.
Consumers are becoming more comfortable with online shopping. These tools helped reduce obstacles along a customer’s journey through onsite buying options and in-app purchasing—there’s no directing customers to branded websites. With these tools, marketers can run shoppable ads on these platforms that give access to faster checkouts.
This trend has benefited marketers, brands, and consumers as consumers post-pandemic expect speedier service and efficient checkout. Brands and marketers are reaping the fruits of their efforts quicker as well. Generally, the marketer’s job has been simplified, similar to a customer’s buying journey.
Individualized Digital Marketing
Now more than ever, maintaining customers has become crucial for businesses. Businesses no longer have the privilege of making one sale and letting the customer go. The reality of the need for a loyal customer base is sinking in pretty quickly. The changes in available customer income and buying behavior mean that a business needs to be flexible in their offering if they’re to remain appealing to customers. Otherwise, they’ll move to other brands where they feel like their needs are more considered.
For this shift to happen, digital marketing efforts have become more personalized from one customer to the other. The way a business communicates to a customer is more individualized and purposeful. This digital marketing trend may linger for long, even past the pandemic. Consequently, businesses need to maintain this marketing shift to maintain the same level of interaction as with traditional face-to-face marketing. It’ll also help brands to remain competitive in the marketplace and increase their lead generation.
Increase In Digital Marketers And Marketing Agencies
With digital marketing rising in the pandemic, marketers have noticed this as an opportunity to leverage their expertise. This has led to more people venturing into digital marketing as individuals and agencies. According to statistics conducted between April 2020 and April 2021, out of the people upskilling, 80% of them were taking courses in digital marketing.
This number of digital marketers in the market will also increase the number of marketing agencies to try and facilitate the increase in the need for brand discovery and promotional content. Another reason that has caused the rapid expansion and interest in digital marketing is that there are few barriers to entry into the industry. It also doesn’t require a lot of capital to begin a marketing agency.
Don’t Be Left Behind
The world is changing daily, and no one can confidently tell how long the current digital marketing trends and changes brought by the pandemic will last. No one can tell if things will return the way they were either. But, while the COVID-19 pandemic has brought insurmountable negatives globally, it’s good to note that the changes it brought in the digital marketing industry have become more innovative and grow faster.
Most of these changes have laid the new ground for the future success of digital marketing. And, although marketing trends may continue to fluctuate and change over time, marketers can have more confidence forging forward. These changes also seem to create a better opportunity for brands to earn customer loyalty, which has become essential in today’s market.