06 May Digital Marketing in the UK During COVID-19
The world is a different place right now, including the UK, and so is the state of digital marketing. While we previously discussed social media marketing in our April blog post, “When the Going Gets Tough, Should Your Social Media Posting Continue?”, today we’re focusing on digital marketing as a whole and how your business can best approach digital marketing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
As your audience is now spending more time online while staying at home and working from home, your business may have a greater opportunity to connect with them in a meaningful way. However, it’s important to not exploit the situation or post content that completely misses the mark — or else risk developing a negative brand reputation and losing followers. Instead, your business will need to make informed marketing decisions to effectively connect with your audience. Keep reading to learn key information on the state of digital marketing in the UK and how your business can set itself up for success online both right now and once the world begins to move onward from COVID-19.
GlobalWebIndex, a market research company, has released a whitepaper report including key insights about the effects COVID-19 is having on individuals and changes to their digital behaviours, which are especially important for digital marketers to understand. The data from this report was collected between March 25-30 in the United States and the UK. Here are just some of the highlights about key insights, particularly for the UK:
- 39% of consumers self-report an increase in seeking out news stories on social media platforms as a direct result of COVID-19.
- 16% of Millennials (age 24-37) and Gen X (age 38-56) report sharing their thoughts and opinions on social media more than other age groups.
- 80% of consumers report consuming more digital content overall, including streaming services, online video and broadcast television.
- 58% of video watchers report planning to continue watching as much video content even after the pandemic has passed.
- WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app, primarily being used to connect with family and friends. However, Facebook Messenger remains a close second in popularity.
- When choosing between news sources, information from local governments, or the World Health Organization online for COVID-19 information, UK consumers more often trust the government website the most.
- UK consumers are more likely not to trust social media content about COVID-19.
- Most UK consumers prefer free news sources due to a strong confidence in their trustworthiness, and very few are willing to pay for news.
Impact on Marketing Spend
Of course, COVID-19 has impacted much more than just consumer media habits. It has also affected how businesses spend their marketing budget. More and more businesses have decided to postpone campaign launches until later in 2020, have paused or stopped currently running marketing campaigns, have completely scrapped campaigns pre-launch, or have put all advertising on hold until later in the year. Yet, these changes in marketing spend do not fully indicate that all businesses are suffering extreme losses during these times. It simply means that these unique times call for a different approach.
However, unless your business provides essential products or services, you can naturally expect a dip in your marketing and reach in the coming months. To come out of the situation ahead, you’ll need to use an adaptable yet effective digital marketing strategy during COVID-19.
For your paid or PPC advertising, you’ll want to start by using real-time data to monitor your ad performance. This will lead to making necessary adjustments, such as promoting certain products or services that are more relevant to your audience’s needs and interests during these times, while turning off ads for others that are less relevant and are not currently performing well. Google Trends is one useful tool to help you keep track of what keywords are performing well right now for your industry. It’s also extremely important to get the messaging of your advertising right. Make sure your ad copy is appropriate in tone and content, and remember to include the latest updates to your business practices when applicable.
While you may need to scale back your PPC campaigns, organic SEO can help fill in the gaps of your brand reach. This is a great time to focus on creating authentic, relevant and high-quality content for your business. Consumers are spending more time online now due to staying at home, and they want quality content from the brands they follow — not a sales pitch.
New App Provides UK Businesses Hope
NHSX, Google and Apple are currently working together on a COVID-19 tracking app, which could help pave the way for relaxed lockdown and isolation measures across the UK over time. The app will work by using Bluetooth to notify app users if they have potentially been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. NHSX has recently started testing a prototype of the app in a secure location in the North of England.
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, gave the following explanation for how the app is intended to work and about the security of user data within the app,
“If you become unwell with the symptoms of coronavirus, you can securely tell this new NHS app and the app will then send an alert anonymously to other app users that you’ve been in significant contact with over the past few days, even before you had symptoms, so that they know and can act accordingly … All data will be handled according to the highest ethical and security standards, and would only be used for NHS care and research. And we won’t hold it any longer than is needed.”
The UK is also not the first to move towards implementing tech tools to help track the spread of the coronavirus. Singapore, South Korea and China have all successfully launched apps to help citizens track their potential exposure. While the tracking app will not be a perfect solution to easing restrictions due to its effectiveness requiring the majority of the UK population to download and use the app, it still provides hope for both businesses and individuals who are looking forward to a time when somewhat normal life can continue once again.
Make the Most of the Situation with a Digital Marketing Agency
There’s no other way around it. Times are hard right now, and your efforts are best spent helping your business operations succeed. This is where a digital marketing agency can help your business make the most of the situation by developing and implementing a timely and effective digital marketing strategy to help you reach your target audience and stay connected with them online. If you’ve never considered a digital marketing agency before, you may want to first read our blog post, “What to Ask Before Considering a Digital Marketing Agency.”
At Virtual Stacks Systems UK, our team of expert digital marketers are fully committed to helping your business find success with online marketing, no matter whether during a pandemic or during your peak industry season. Our social media marketing services can help you connect with your audience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media platforms, while our SEO services can help your target audience find your business easier on Google. Our PPC advertising also bridges the gap between social media and SEO through more targeted marketing strategies.
Your business will pull through these times, and we’re here to help you through it all. If you would like to learn more about our digital marketing services or would like to discuss the marketing needs of your business, contact us today.