When coronavirus struck, the marketing sphere was greatly impacted. Physical interactions were restricted, most brick and mortar shops closed down, and foot traffic fell significantly. CMOs were also faced with the difficult task of finding effective ways to reach their customers without going over budget.

Brands have been marketing their products for ages, so how hard can it be? Well, consumer behavior was greatly altered, and internet usage increased by a whopping 70%. The truth is, people were bored at home, so they turned to the internet for information and entertainment. This was the Hail Mary that marketers needed; they could easily market to their audiences on online platforms, at their desired budget. 3 platforms, in particular, experienced a boom during the pandemic; Facebook, Search ads, and YouTube.

1.  Facebook Advertising

The most newsworthy internet usage was social media and, specifically, Facebook.  As social distancing and remote working increased, Facebook use exploded, making it far easier to reach both consumers and business professionals. People moved to the platform to share news, stay in touch with their friends & family, and as a source of interaction. In fact, when the virus was declared a global pandemic, Facebook usage rose by 50% in the most affected countries.

Why Did Most Marketers Favor Facebook Ads?

Brands using social media have the unique advantage of interacting with their target audiences on a personal level. It is their opportunity to create lasting connections without coming off as too promotional. Most importantly, social platforms are great for selling items that can be bought on impulse. Here’s why Facebook ads boomed;

  1. Budget Control: you are in charge of your marketing budget and can easily adjust it based on how the ad is performing. At a time when most companies had to slash their marketing budget, this aspect was vital.
  2. Goal flexibility: do you want to increase brand awareness, drive people to your website, or generate new leads? You can easily set these goals with Facebook! You just have to find a way of keeping your audience engaged and making your ads click-worthy.
  3. Remarketing: it’s possible to target people that have interacted with your brand in the past using Facebook. These people are more likely to convert since they already have a relationship with your brand.
  4. Targeting options: Facebook has great targeting options that make it easy for marketers to define their audiences based on various criteria, e.g., age, gender, interests, geographical locations, etc.

Facebook was also a great platform for B2B companies to interact with their target customers by sharing relevant blogs, company information, and live webinars.

2.  Paid Search Ads

Paid search has always been a strong marketing tool because you are in a position to reach a local market at “the moment of intent” when they are searching for the products and services you sell. During the coronavirus pandemic, marketers had to revisit their PPC strategy because search trends changed considerably. Few consumers were searching for products & services, and most keywords were health-related.

However, now that people were stuck in their homes, search ads became more important. Customers couldn’t visit physical shops and had to look for alternative ways of shopping. All markets had to do was assess their ads to make sure they reflected the current times.

Tricks Marketers Used For Search Ads

  1. Promotion of Products in demand: brands had to evaluate the products they were promoting earlier to those that were in demand. How did they know which products to promote? They based their decision around; social distancing, essential products, entertainment, homeschooling, etc.
  2. Messaging that accommodated the tough times: the ad copy had to reflect the restrictions of the pandemic and call to actions changed; ‘visit store’ was replaced with ‘shop now.’
  3. Communication of value using ad extensions: ad copies had to relay information that shoppers now considered essential, e.g., turnaround time, free shipping, fast delivery, etc.
  4. Use of negative keywords: to avoid getting irrelevant traffic, markets leveraged negative keywords to ensure the ads were only shown to people who were likely to convert. This, in turn, increased ad efficiency and budget allocation.

3.  YouTube Advertising

Many more people turned to YouTube during the pandemic, relying on this media for entertainment. This, along with YouTube’s ability to target by search history and retargeting previous website visitors, made it a super-strong platform for; building brands, driving website visitors, and generating leads and sales.

YouTube Marketing During the Pandemic

Video ads are a great way of increasing brand awareness and audience engagement, especially when on a low budget. Here are some tricks marketers used for YouTube advertising:

  1. Tailoring video ads for passive listening: yes, YouTube ads have always been visual, but there has been a fundamental shift. People working from home used the platform for passive listening, so advertisers made their ads more ‘listenable;
  2. Quality video content: competition was fierce, and companies had to find a way to stand out. The video ads had to be creative and unique, content that will keep the user glued to their screen.
  3. Webinars: now that companies couldn’t attend events and seminars, the only best option was to hold webinars to interact with their potential customers. YouTube videos also provided brands with a great way of sharing company information and relating knowledge interactively.

Even though YouTube isn’t effective for maximum conversions, it was perfect for brands looking to create a rapport with their audiences and then convert them later. Some of the calls to actions that were used include; stay safe, we’ll help, free tips, view more, etc.

Marketing Your Business During the Pandemic

The coronavirus fundamentally changed how businesses interacted with their customers. Foot traffic was low, so they had to revisit the most basic marketing rule: the best way to interact with your customers is by doing so in the platforms they are most active on. Since people were stuck in their homes, the only way to market to them was through digital marketing, most specifically Facebook, search ads, and YouTube advertising. Even though the economy is slowly opening up, digital marketing is here to stay!

Are you looking to create a winning digital marketing strategy? Contact us today for a free consultation!