How COVID-19 Pandemic is Impacting Digital Advertising

June 08, 2020

Life has recently changed for everyone. Most of us are inside all day binge-watching Netflix, doing home-renos, online shopping, and eating copious amounts – thanks to all the free time we have to bake. But, have you thought about the impact the recent pandemic has had on digital advertising?

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc for businesses; many physical retailers have closed, remote work is the new norm, and sales are at a low, impacting the way businesses undertake their digital advertising strategies. As companies are feeling the pressure of the economic downturn, the digital marketing budget allowance is proving to be one of the first things to be sacrificed. But now might not be the time to do so, with more people relying on online shopping than ever before, now might just be your chance to reach untapped markets.

The Banning Of Certain Ads

Of course, people are going to look to Facebook and Google for their source of information in the occurrence of a global pandemic. Since coronavirus, there has been an increasing number of searches through search engines and social media platforms about it. As such, ads are starting to be banned that are capitalizing on the virus. This includes anything that promotes phishing, misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus. This is to ensure that people can’t capitalize on spreading anything that isn’t accurate while helping the World Health Organisation (WHO) and government authorities run public service announcements to the public.

As well as Google, Facebook has taken it upon themselves to ban any ads that promote a cure for the coronavirus. Unless you’re selling dodgy DIY corona testing kits, it’s doubtful though this will have an impact on most businesses. Facebook has also banned ads that create a sense of urgency for buying essentials such as hand sanitizer and frozen veggies.

A Move Towards Cheaper Options

Another thing that has been noticed is that people are trying to spend less on their digital advertising due to cuts in budgets. Since the coronavirus, Facebook has seen a decrease in revenue from ads due to decreased consumer spending. Not all companies are making money the same way they were only a few short months ago, businesses have had to adapt to the new climate while adhering to laws and many businesses have moved online, causing an increase in cheaper options of online advertising. There are more people using social media than ever, meaning there is huge potential to reach larger audiences.

Using digital ads and online video channels such as on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, are popular options that are being explored by marketers. With people being stuck inside, things like out of the house marketing such as flyers, billboards, and advertisements in shop windows are no longer going to be gathering the amount of interest that they used to. Obviously, businesses aren’t going to receive a great deal of success or a high ROI from advertising people can’t see; which is why companies are making the transition from offline to online advertising. Things like google ads, social media, and online videos are becoming popular as you can spend as little or as much as your budget allows and can be significantly cheaper than traditional advertising campaigns run in the past.

Consumer Behavior Is Changing

Coronavirus has caused many changes, including a shift in consumer behavior. When there are heavy restrictions prohibiting you from leaving your home as well as the fear of going outside and catching a global virus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that people are looking online for their shopping needs. Online activity has soared and consumers are accessing the internet at times not typically seen by marketers pre-coronavirus. With companies feeling the sting of coronavirus, many budgets have been cut, marketing budgets from companies are being cut and there is a decline in competition. Use this time wisely to increase your digital advertising to reach larger audiences and capitalize on this opportunity.

Digital devices in every household are being used more often; whether this is for shopping, connecting with friends, or just browsing through social media looking for entertainment, digital marketing is right now more essential than ever to companies. Ads are more likely to be seen and social media posts from businesses are more visible meaning that digital advertising is the best way to get a business message across.

Push Towards Interactive Content

Potential customers might be bored having to stay inside, but that doesn’t mean that they want to sit down and read through massive pages of advertising text. Instead, focusing on more interactive ways to get people involved with a company is a far better idea. Some of the trends that businesses could engage in are things like surveys, quizzes and polls. Consumers have to actively engage with a brand to do this, which helps businesses get more information about their products, how people see them and shows just how many people are interacting with their business. Google Forms or its alternative is a great way to create a responsive survey that interacts with your customers in real-time and collects insights for you – so you don’t have to.

93% of marketers agree that interactive content is effective when it comes to providing people with information about the company and educating the buyers. Every time a piece of interactive content is used, it is a big flashing call to action, and people are likely to follow through with checking out the rest of the business from these pieces of content. Static content is still effective, but people are looking for entertainment, and marketers need to provide it for them.

To conclude

The coronavirus has brought about many changes, some may be for the short term such as restrictions on where we can, but others may be long term, such as the shift from offline to online marketing – but we can only speculate. One thing is for certain though, there is an opportunity present for marketers to capitalize on marketing budget cutbacks of their competitors to appeal to untapped markets and achieve higher sales. 


Tegan Tedd is a content marketer at Paperform. She loves writing about marketing, technology, and workplace productivity.

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