Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially characterized the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic. The virus’ effects on our daily lives have been profound as public health experts and governments around the world are taking every measure to get things under control.
These are uncertain times with a lot of unknown variables, but we wanted to share some insight on the impact the COVID-19 outbreak may have on your business and your marketing efforts.
Businesses Will Struggle, Especially Smaller Ones
COVID-19’s effects on the economy were felt almost immediately, even before the virus started spreading more here in the US. And it’s only going to continue its downward trend.
With concerns around the outbreak growing, many local and state governments are taking proactive measures to curtail the spread by advising citizens to practice social distancing and avoid congregating in larger groups.
In an effort to promote these practices, many businesses are encouraging—if not requiring—remote work, and some larger retail brands are closing their stores for the time being. In Ohio and several other states, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close their dining rooms, though carryout and delivery services are still available.
This might go without saying, but these preventative measures will have a marked impact on how businesses operate, and smaller and local businesses with limited capital will feel these effects the most.
Organic Web Traffic Is Down in Most Industries
Save for a few industries like media, healthcare, finance and food, organic traffic is down across the board. Many people are keeping an eye on local, national and world news or checking the stock market and their investments, but far fewer are concerned with other industries at the moment.
E-commerce is a bit of a mixed bag, though. Depending on what sites are selling, they may have noticed a significant bump or drop in traffic. Those selling hot commodities like household cleaners, baby products, and similar products have seen a surge in traffic. Those selling non-essential and luxury goods saw the opposite.
Conversions Are Down Too
It should come as no surprise that conversions are following the same trend as traffic. In the past week, media, pharma, healthcare and food sites saw a rise in conversions as people are looking for new information regarding the COVID-19 crisis. For everyone else, though, conversions and leads are harder to come by.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Is Holding Steady
There’s not a whole lot of data regarding PPC trends, but recent research suggests that there have been no big shifts in cost per click (CPC). However, there does seem to be an increase in cost per conversion.
That means that while queries for most search terms have remained steady, fewer people are following through on the purchase of whatever they’re looking for—unless you’re selling necessities like hand sanitizer and toilet paper.
It’s Important to Stay the Course
While there’s no doubt the continued spread of COVID-19 will have a dramatic impact on our day-to-day lives, it’s important to remain optimistic and not let panic set in.
Now is not the time to make sweeping changes to your business model or your advertising and marketing strategies. While things are on the downward trend for now, they will eventually rebound to the status quo.
If anything, now is a good time to redouble your efforts. While your competitors may be slowing down, you should focus on growing your market share. You might not see significant immediate returns, but your efforts will pay off in the long run.