Marketing during times of uncertainty: Advice from Google and Metigy

25th June 2020

Cast your mind back to January 2020, when you would have thought the bushfires that ravaged Australia were going to be the defining moment of this year. How wrong we were. As we continue to face uncertain times, we need to keep business and marketing ticking along in this Covid aftermath (or Covid continuation).

As such, Metigy’s VP of Operations, Wynn Corliss, sat down with Google’s Strategic Partner Manager Aleksandra Wocial, to discuss digital marketing trends that have emerged out of the pandemic so you can learn from what’s worked and apply them to your own systems moving forward. 

There hasn’t been a business that hasn’t been affected by Covid. Not all have seen a downturn (Zoom, toilet paper companies and postal services have all been booming), but whether the effect has been positive or negative, we’ve all been manipulated in some form by the pandemic.

Google has witnessed varying ways in which companies are dealing with the crisis. Some are unable to do business, leaving them deeply challenged. Others have pivoted – for example switching to online for the first time. Others have seen a time of investment in their business, as a result of an increased demand for their goods or services. With such an array of outcomes, there’s no one size fits all fix.

Related: Marketing During Times of Uncertainty: Advice from Marketing Experts

Trends that we’ve seen in South East Asia and have been more or less mirrored elsewhere include a huge increase of game downloads, more people watching more news coverage, music streaming services are being utilised in a greater capacity than pre-Covid. 

How sectors are being affected

Before we delve into what you can do to adjust your marketing to being pandemic and post-pandemic friendly, here’s a quick look at a few industries that have really been rumbled by the seismic shift we’ve seen.

Technology

If you are a business specialising in B2B products that will help productivity, this could be your golden hour. Companies are looking for your product. 

 

Searches for “how to be productive working from home” have increased by 6.5 times in recent months with many consumers turning the home into a home office for the first time. As you can see in the chart below, there’s been a serious uptick in searches related to working from home.

 

Human connectivity is vital, although much of it has been replaced with video conferencing in recent times. While there’s a limitless number of ways to communicate – Email, Chat apps, Phone, SMS, the importance of face-to-face interactions can’t be discounted, and in Covid times the best solution has been video conference calls. This allows stronger relationships and clearer communication to be built.

Retail

Retail will unlikely return to exactly as it was before. We’re seen the relaxation of strict lockdown and social distancing regulations, however retail will continue to undergo major changes, with e-commerce tipped to remain strong for the foreseeable future. 

Ecommerce is up, we know that, but global surveys suggest consumers will keep this trend up even as regulations relax. 

We’ve seen a time in which people have tried online shopping for the first time, with nearly half of them saying they’ll continue to do so in the future. 

 

Massive surge in the pure play ecommerce ecosystem as consumers converge online to fulfill their shopping needs

 

Search Interest Growth by Retail Categories

Media and Entertainment

Consumers are looking to virtual events, video on demand and online games for entertainment as these have replaced in-person gatherings for the better part of the last quarter. We’ve seen virtual versions of everyday activities such as online workouts and knitting tutorials gain traction. 

New users are signing up to video on demand in droves, while the ever-popular gaming industry is also seeing a huge uptick. 

Where to from here? 

YouTube

YouTube has become the go-to place to “maintain” your lifestyle – with searchers for at home recipes, meditations, yoga, workouts and further study or hobby tips up!

It’s no surprise that we’ve been spending a much greater amount of time online, across multiple devices. Stats include mobile data usage was up 50% in March 2020, apps are being used 20% more, online media consumption is up as much as 60%.

So what can the average business take away from this? Well YouTube is a good place to start. With more people on YouTube now, it’s a place you really need to explore as a platform to connect with your audience. Almost every business can find ways to present content via video service. Tips and tricks, beauty hacks, recipes, online learning. Find ways to take advantage of the biggest video platform in the world.

Based on consumer trends, this is what has emerged:

  1. As different needs emerge, find how to be as helpful to your consumers as possible.
    Provide them credible, detailed and current information to help solve their problems. Find new value propositions to highlight. Assist them with cancellations, refunds and customer service – now is the time more than ever to be clear and transparent with your consumers.
  2. Combine and conquer – forge new communities
    Help to facilitate connections amongst customers.Align with the right creators who are establishing communities for the moment.
  3. Embrace novelty
    Pivot to new platforms and formats.Find new ways to serve customers.Google has witnessed that customers want brands and businesses to be present during times of uncertainty, and to keep communication open with them. This could be through anything from organic content and search ads to YouTube and social marketing.

 

Google’s mantra is Be there and be useful

 

A strong digital presence is crucial

If you take nothing else away from this, review the numbers shared above and realise that with an increased online media consumption witnessed across the globe, it is a strong digital presence that is crucial to ensure you’re staying in front of your customers. 

What can you do during this time? 

Keep customers informed

When customers want to know about you, they’ll likely turn to Google first. As such, it’s vital that your information is up to date. Google My Business allows you to create and update your listing that will appear on Google Maps and Google Search. Not only is it text based, but you can post photos and offers to give customers a reason to take notice.

It’s a great way to connect with your clients if you have a physical presence. 

Top Google My Business tips include:

  • Ensuring your hours of operation are correct and note if your business is experiencing delays
  • Advise if you are providing alternate or extra services at this time.
  •  If you’ve ceased trading, make sure you update your Google listing to say Temporarily Closed
  • Outside of GMB, never stop creating content – create posts and share announcements with your audience to keep them engaged and informed during this time.

Continue to adapt to new customer behaviours

There’s no time like a pandemic the present to take stock of what you’re offering and how you can amend this to better serve your audience. Look at ways for you to offer value in a different format or online channel.

So if you’re a bricks and mortal offering, how can you move online? If you’re a restaurant, look at ways you can provide pickup and delivery service. If you’re a personal trainer or a physio, can you move to offering virtual training or consultations. Are you an artist? Look at live streaming via YouTube.

Run your business remotely and effectively

Nothing like a pandemic to speed up work flexible progress, right!? While it may not have been perfect, almost overnight were companies required to have their staff work remotely, and by many reports, this has been hugely successful. Running your business remotely requires good systems and processes to be in place to ensure efficiency doesn’t waver and accountability remains. There are fantastic digital tools such as the Google Cloud suite and video conferencing tool Google Meet to help your team stay connected. During this uncertain time, Google offered these tools for free. 

Adjust your advertising

Business advertising is no business-as-usual during this strange time. Messages are different, your audience and their habits may have shifted. A whole new world of customers are now online more frequently. So it’s imperative that your digital marketing strategy keeps its finger on the pulse. Boosting your online presence doesn’t have to be a headache with Metigy’s solution to help you create and manage Google Ads directly from its simple, beautiful and intuitive interface. Across the Google Ads system that includes Google Search, YouTube, and the 3 million websites and apps that are part of the Google Display Network, it’s where you want to be.

Flex your online marketing muscles by maximising the following;

Intent – Find the right buyers with real-time contextual and behavioural signals.

Related: Why Understanding User Intent Is Key to SEO Success

Machine learning – Allows you to serve the right ad in the right place at the right moment

Results – Proven to achieve results by optimising the metrics that matter to you most – whether this is leads, phone calls, sales.

Don’t guess – explore what’s top of mind for your customers

Why try and beat the system when there are already tools out there to help you do it. Google’s Trends Searches pages allow you to understand what topics are trending right now, letting you measure the pulse of how people around the world are searching at any given time. It will let you uncover what’s top of mind for your customers and help you figure out how to adjust your ads to meet their expectations.

It’s a free tool, so what’s stopping you? Here’s a one-pager to help you get started with Google Trends. 

In summary and how to move forward

The overarching takeaway is that during Covid, your digital and online presence has become vital for many businesses, especially small-to-medium enterprises. 

We’re seeing people branching into, and becoming more accustomed to buying and interacting online with brands, businesses, family, friends and colleagues – this has seen the rise in retail, YouTube, media consumption, video conferencing to name just a few.

Now is the time to be aware and take advantage of the tools that will help boost your digital presence, and do whatever you can to make sure you’re in front of your customers when they need what you’re offering. 

Kicking off with Metigy’s integration with Google to help you create and manage digital advertising is a great way to start, but we hope this article has given you a plethora of ways to tackle this new business landscape. Signup and unlock Google Ads today using our AI Recommendations!

Make sure you also check out our previous article, Marketing During Times of Uncertainty: Advice from Marketing Experts where we asked some of the world’s best marketers for their advice and what they’re actually doing in their own business, to guide you through these uncertain times.

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