Since the World Health Organization classified the coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11th, the world as we know it and our everyday lives have been turned upside down.
The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, gave the following statement during a press conference on March 11th:
‘In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives. Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals.’
‘In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher. WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.’
To read the full statement click here.
With airlines and airports ground to a standstill, schools and universities closed, cafes and restaurants forced to shut down, governments around the world have imposed drastic but necessary measures to prevent the uncontrollable spread of the Covid-19 virus. Most of us are confined to our homes and many small-scale businesses have responded to the coronavirus crisis by putting operations and plans on hold for the time being.
As governments implement preventative measures, central banks take emergency decisions and people confine themselves to their homes, it’s no doubt that online search trends have also been affected.
Change can be both good and bad. As time goes on and more information is released, and trends become more obvious, there is no reason why businesses cannot adapt to and deal with the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak.
In this article, Ben Givon will give us a rundown of all the latest trends and updates that have come about as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. So, let’s dive straight in and have a look at some of the best changes online marketers can make to adapt to the current crisis and yield positive results from their digital ad campaigns.
Store visits drop by 90 percent in the US
This might be a given but with national lockdowns, social distancing measures in place businesses are facing difficult times as consumer visits to physical stores plunge by 90 percent in the space of a month.
Most advertisers use store visit conversions in Google Ads to gauge the effectiveness of their online marketing campaigns. Local marketers use such statistics to tailor and tweak their PPC campaigns, but with such low foot traffic in recent weeks it has been near impossible to conduct proper research.
The advertising community began to pick up on a slight decline in store visits towards the end of last month. As the coronavirus epidemic turned into a pandemic and governments took necessary steps to curb the spread and cushion the impact of the virus, physical store visits fell by roughly 90 percent.
Ben Givon’s solution: Build a strong online presence
Considering that high streets have become ghost towns and store traffic has dropped off the cliff, small businesses should take to the world wide web and build a strong online presence as this is where most of the consumers are now. Amazon, for example, has seen a huge surge in online orders as consumers around the world turn to the e-commerce giant during these volatile and testing times.
Creating an online presence for some can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be that way. Build a user-friendly website with engaging, simple and concise content. Optimize your landing pages with clear CTA (Call to Action) buttons and professional layouts. But remember to keep everything relevant to what your target audience is looking for.
Google My Business is another great avenue to explore as its sophisticated algorithms allow marketers and companies to present important information such as working hours, contact details, customer reviews and much more. With the coronavirus crisis forcing people to stay indoors, you can be sure that the number of searches on Google has skyrocketed over the past month.
Don’t forget about social media – for a lot of customers social media isn’t just a platform for social communication, it is a bulletin board of information. For this reason, you should make sure to update your social media business pages regularly, letting your target audience and existing customers know exactly what is going on with your business.
With brick and mortar businesses struggling against the lack of foot traffic, e-commerce is a great alternative that can help maintain sales figures during the coronavirus crisis. If you want to begin selling your goods online, you could consider setting up a Google Merchant Center account. The great thing about Google Merchant Center is that is has a ton of automated features to give you a helping hand with important areas such as pricing and categorizing.
Alongside your website, you should consider SEO tactics to build your brand awareness and develop a strong online presence. Using services such as Google Ads and Facebook ads doesn’t have to be expensive; just find the most relevant keywords and start advertising across multiple platforms to maximize your customer reach.