Three key ways the Covid-19 pandemic has changed digital advertising strategies

Manish Dudharejia is the President and Co-Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.

Covid-19 has changed a lot of things about the world in a very short amount of time. It has completely transformed the way that we interact with others, work, travel, and do just about every daily activity. It should come as no surprise that it has impacted marketing as well – and yet many companies have done little to nothing to adjust their digital marketing strategies as a response to the pandemic.

According to a report from Advertiser Perceptions, one-third of advertisers have canceled their campaign plans altogether due to Covid-19 related disruptions. However, consumer spending is booming and eCommerce sales are 30% higher than in 2019. Therefore, it is imperative to adjust digital marketing strategies to meet consumer expectations – rather than sticking to old plans or scrapping them altogether.

Here are just a few ways that digital advertising has changed over the past few months and what marketers need to know to keep their strategies relevant.

#1: Truth in advertising is a big deal

People have always been a bit wary of marketing messages. It’s no secret that a lot of company’s claims tend to get exaggerated. Truth in advertising is more important than ever these days. Just in the past few months, Facebook has had to remove more than seven million ad posts that were considered to be “conspiracy marketing” related to Covid-19 information.

Digital marketers are going to be held to higher standards moving forward, especially if their products are even remotely related to the pandemic. In May, Facebook placed restrictions on advertisers promoting products like disinfecting cleaners. This specific ban was lifted in August, but many online ad spaces are continuing to remove misleading information – which could be harmful to people’s health or wellbeing.

While your business may not be promoting anything regarding the pandemic, you need to be aware of the changes this is leading to in regards to marketing messaging. False information can spread like wildfire and we are now seeing how dangerous it can be.

Building trust with your audience is a key element of any digital marketing strategy. The focus of your ads must be on promoting accuracy. Be mindful of your company’s reputation and back up any claims or data used in your ads.

#2: It could reduce local ad spaces

Sadly, many small advertising outlets have been hit hard (before and during) the pandemic. One great thing to come out of everything is a closer sense of community and a focus on local news and information.

People are far more reliant on news in their neighborhoods than ever before. Media consumption has increased over this year – and many people are now looking to local sources rather than national ones. According to Pew Research, 23% of people pay more attention to state and local level outlets these days, and 61% are more engaged with media sources than before.

This opens up an opportunity (particularly for SMBs with tight budgets) to support small businesses and get hyper-localized. In a recent interview, Kenny Katzgrau, CEO of the publisher ad platform Broadstreet Ads, said:

“The demise of hyperlocal journalism has been well-documented by this point. Add to this a pandemic that has further rattled the media industry with mass layoffs and half-empty newsrooms.

“However, things are changing. People are now looking to local news sources for information on things that are happening in their own communities. This creates a golden opportunity for brands to connect with customers in their area, while simultaneously supporting local advertisers and outlets.”

Now is the perfect time to focus on localised content marketing through traditional and digital ad spaces. Reach out to smaller publications that focus on targeted markets and get specific with local sectors to advertise to.

#3: Adjusting for the new normal

Advertisers need to adjust their messaging for the new way the world operates (and will be operating moving forward). This involves keeping in mind new practices like social distancing, the importance of safety and cleanliness, or convenience by limiting travel and exposure.

You may have noticed that brands are switching up their messaging in response to the current pandemic. For instance, food delivery services are now promoting “no contact” options, and airlines are creating ads showcasing new protocols to ensure traveler safety.

It is important that your digital marketing messages are still relevant and aligned with customer’s interests and concerns. This may require some creativity – but focus on ways that your brand makes things easier, better, or safer for the masses.

Conclusion

To be a good digital marketer, you have to constantly be on top of new trends. The digital ad space is fast-paced – and things have changed at an even more rapid pace during the pandemic. Your digital marketing strategies must keep up to ensure customers stay engaged and your business keeps growing.

So, ask yourself: What modifications are you planning to make with your marketing plan what other things have changed with your strategies this year?

Photo by Mike Szczepanski on Unsplash

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