Digital marketing during COVID-19.

Written by Rutger Isell, Head of Digital Marketing at Awelin.

“Corona, Corona, Corona” – that is probably the way the renowned Swedish author Astrid Lindgren would start her phone calls with her sisters if she still would be alive today. 

But she is not, unfortunately, but we still have the daily news echoing in our ears day in and out, and of course, it is important, more so than ever before. The virus is spreading over the globe and we are met by dark numbers, new regulations & recommendations, and new solutions. 

But what is currently happening on the digital marketing side of the COVID-19 when everything is on hold? I have to put my hand on my heart and confess that I was completely staggered by the effect the virus had on our community and country. I first thought that the first indications were too extreme, shutting down businesses, factories in isolation, and our clients scratching their heads when everything went dark. 

Since I accepted the truth and seriousness of the virus, I have been following the effects on the digital marketing side. Many of our existing clients have either decreased or completely shut off a large chunk of their digital marketing investments. Without having to disclaim my clients and their internal strategies, I was shocked about the drastic changes being made. The long-lasting strategies got thrown down the drain, and I started seeing day to day decisions and the shortest of short strategies being made. The 3-year plan got boiled down to a survival kit for the month, week or day. Is this the best way to digitally tackle the pandemic of the century? I would love to be the never-ending source of answers, but as you might already know – I’m not. But I have been looking into my data with a theoretical stand-point knowing that a majority of the people are working from home in combination with businesses shutting down digital efforts. 

So, with the theory that people are working from home and that companies are reducing their marketing spend, I started thinking about what the results should be. With a majority working from home I believe that people are browsing their devices on a larger scale than when they are at work. And with companies decreasing their advertising spend, the competition follows the trend. 

With this we are given a larger inventory, both from the people working from home, but also with less competition, shouldn’t the CPM & CPC drop immensely? – Well, let me show you the effects on one of our clients. 

Looking at the data it is quite obvious, the prices are plummeting during the crisis. CPM levels are lower for both mobile and desktop devices on Facebook. Meaning that the reach per invested dollar is record low. Facebook is a powerful marketing channel as it covers the complete marketing funnel. Usually, the majority of budget is allocated to the mid/lower-funnel activities on Paid Social, but since the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s becoming more interesting to move more of the branding budgets here.

And as we see improved performance on the lower-funnel campaigns as the CPM decreases this also gives room for more budget towards upper-funnel / mid-funnel activities as a direct effect since this is where the scalability lies. 

Looking at the Google Ads data, we can see the same trends. Whereas the Paid Social CPM is decreasing, the CPC levels for Google ads are decreasing, but not in the same levels. 

So given the theory presented, we are now also seeing that we are given a larger inventory on Paid Social with decreasing CPM, and for Google we see a slight decrease in CPC – So, the question remaining is – How are you treating the people arriving to you website when there is an increasing interest?

Important is to keep in mind that this is for one client, therefore this might not be applicable for all fields of businesses. 

I have been looking into much more data and have been bluffed by the effects and results since COVID-19 introduction, and for those of you who would love to hear more, we are inviting a round-the-table talk about COVID-19 influence on digital marketing. How are we supposed to tackle the gigantic mountain that is the Pandemic of the century? How should you react to the change? What will happen after the crisis is over? 

Let’s have a “corona, corona, conona”-talk 

Rutger Isell