By Sandra Rodenas
In a very short time, our lifestyles have changed. Schools have closed, and some state governments have ordered the closing of all except essential businesses. Many businesses have reduced or ceased their normal operations, and many employees are now working remotely from home.
The toll on many small businesses will be significant. All these changes are impacting how consumers are shopping and consuming content, in turn, creating opportunities within specific business categories.
How Consumers Are Responding
As consumer behavior changes, so do their usage of TV and the Internet. Nielsen data demonstrates that during snowstorms, natural disasters, or other life-altering events, the Total Usage of TV (TUT) increases.
According to the data, TUT has risen by as much as 56% in previous disasters/events, and some industry experts are speculating that TUT may increase by 60% during the COVID-19 health crisis.*
It is estimated that cooped up Americans are consuming vast quantities of streaming media. Based on Nielsen data, streaming video may be up as much as 61%.
With a captive audience, the time may be perfect for many brands to shift some ad spend over to streaming video now.
Google Ads: WordStream reports that COVID-19 has resulted in a 90% one-month drop in-store visits. The WordStream study also indicated a decrease in conversions and clicks as search behavior shifts. Finance, Health and Medical, Business Management, Health and Beauty Care, and On-Demand Media are some of the industries experiencing an increase in online search and conversions.
On the other end of the spectrum, search conversions for Travel and Tourism are significantly down, ranging from -7% for Hotels and Accommodations through -50% for vacation packages. Other industries with significant declines in online conversions include Building and Construction, Sports and Fitness and Bars and Restaurants. 1
Businesses should be actively evaluating their campaigns and adjusting as necessary to ensure optimum ROI. If your industry is experiencing a smaller search volume, yet the conversions are excellent, and the CPC is significantly less, consider increasing your brand’s online presence – especially if your competitors are scaling back.
Marketing During a Crisis
- Identify which campaigns should be paused or pushed back.
- Review messaging and imagery to ensure that continuing campaigns are not offensive or insensitive
- Don’t capitalize on the crisis – be empathetic to the situation and your audience
- Discuss what your company is doing to help. Share how your services or products are beneficial to those in need during a challenging time.
How Digital Companies are Responding with Resources for SMBs and Consumers
Steaming Media and Hulu: With streaming numbers up, in late March, Hulu began offering free ABC News Live streaming for their subscribers.
Google: In response to COVID-19, Google has announced: $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organization (WHO); A $200 million investment fund that will support NGOs and financial institutions around the world; $340 million in Google Ads credits available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year; A pool of $20 million in Google Cloud credits for academic institutions and researchers; and more. 2
Facebook Is Helping SMBs Too: Facebook announced $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. The goal of the Facebook grant program is to help keep business workforces going, assistance with rent costs, helping to connect with customers; and to cover operational costs. 3
As organizations navigate the duration and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing current and future marketing strategies is a must.
Tapping into opportunities to capture a higher percentage of market share will be a smart move to help brands increase profits in the long-term.