During a time of extreme uncertainty, there are many factors affecting online consumer behavior. Not only is the current pandemic affecting public health, but it is also impacting the economy. As a result, we have seen some shift in search behavior. 

Below is an overview of the current trends and impact we have seen from COVID-19 so far. 

How Have Google and Social Media Sites Have Responded To The Pandemic?

Nowadays it’s easy to get your daily news from social media sites, scrolling through Facebook and reading articles friends have shared or Googling random facts. In order to prevent business from exploiting the virus, Google and Facebook are prohibiting advertisers from mentioning COVID-19 or claiming medical cures for any ailment in their ads. 

Will this affect your business’ marketing? This algorithm change should not affect your marketing efforts as long as you are abiding by the guidelines and avoiding any claims to cure, prevent or treat medical conditions. 

In addition to blocking misinformation, sites like these have put forth relief efforts such as offering free advertising spend to small businesses and donating to frontline workers. Facebook is offering a $100 million advertising grant to eligible small businesses. 

To apply for consideration, follow the instructions on Facebook’s grant application. Google has also offered ad credits to small and medium sized businesses. We are still waiting for updates regarding eligibility and how Google plans to roll out the ad credits. 

How has Consumer Behavior Changed?

COVID-19 has shown to have both a direct and indirect effect on online consumer behavior. As people are encouraged to wash their hands more frequently, practice proper hygiene and wear masks. This has resulted in increased demand for products such as hand sanitizer and disinfection wipes. 

In addition, as more people work from home and stores are forced to close their doors, it has caused an indirect surge in more people spending time online. As a result, it’s possible to see an increase in impressions for your online ads or organic listings, which will vary by industry. 

So how do marketers stay on top of these rapid consumer demand fluctuations? 

  • Be sure to keep your messaging clear and concise
  • Stay on top of your inventory and be sure to remove advertising for items that are out of stock. 
  • As mentioned above, as more people are staying home and spending time online, it may be beneficial to push more aggressively with your digital marketing strategies to reach your target audience during this time. 
  • If you see a decrease in demand for your product or services, it may require slight adjustments to your strategy. For example, it may be beneficial to temporarily decrease advertising spend or pausing certain campaigns.

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold, it’s important to keep a close eye on changing consumer behavior and performance data. 

Here at Motoza, we are closely monitoring your campaigns to determine what adjustments need to be made to help navigate through these uncertain times and find new opportunities.