Media consumption behaviour during the lockdown has driven some interesting COVID-19 marketing trends. Find out what it means for your business and what your digitalmarketing strategy should be.
While several governments have imposed stay-at-home orders and massive shutdowns on businesses to slow down the rate of infections, the way we consume and interact with media is changing. Some of us are binge-watching episodes on a streaming platform, whereas others are looking for educational content to learn new skills.
As businesses and customers alike are adapting to life under lockdown, Team Script has noticed significant shifts in digital marketing trends. Digital spaces present new opportunities for brands to engage their customers. We have noticed that several sectors have moved to digital fronts to empower businesses to reach out and engage with their audience.
Below, we have curated three digital trends that have shaped content marketing amidst the current pandemic. Due to the evolving nature of the situation, the data will likely change as well. To accurately reflect the changing trends, we aim to continue updating the content from time to time.
COVID-19 Marketing Trends #1: Hyperactivity on social media platforms
If anything, the COVID-19 lockdown has accelerated the uptake of internet connectivity and social media. Trends indicate that overall, 4.57 billion people are online. Of these, 3.8 billion people are active on social media users. The numbers confirm that we all are spending more time on social media while #socialdistancing.
Social media usage grew by an astounding 29% in the first quarter of 2020.
What does this mean for your business? Should you focus on one platform or all?
- Choose only one or two social media platforms. While there may be a temptation to try and engage your audience on every social media platform, it may not be the best strategy. Instead, it would serve your business interests better to focus on one or two social media platforms.
- Choose the social media platform based on the profile of your target audience. If your brand is in products that are targeted towards the millennials, then it is time to bank on the increasing popularity of Tiktok. Whereas, if your brand targets B2B or business users, it is best to engage the audience on LinkedIn using a smart #contentmarketing plan. There is no one-size-fits-all.
- Choose your budget around engagement. As people are actively looking for products and services, this is the best time to engage in robust #keyword planning. Once you have shortlisted the keywords that generate the best results for your brand, use your promotional budget to attract more customers.
COVID-19 Marketing Trends #2: Newsjacking
Newsjacking was coined by David Meerman Scott as a technique to grow your business using breaking news articles as the peg. Many brands have integrated it as a part of their content marketing #editorial calendar.
One great example has been in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, which has been hit hard by the lockdown. The shutdowns on restaurants and bars since the lockdown have resulted in a steep decline in restaurants’ average daily traffic. This, in turn, creates a ripple effect across the entire value chain, including food and beverage productions and shipments. As reported here, Latin America has seen a decrease of 75% in average visits in April. In contrast, the Middle East and North America have experienced around 90% of decline since the middle of March this year. Interestingly, certain food and beverage retailers are still in operations, albeit half of their usual capacity, as they are part of an essential service.
While the general outlook for the industry is indeed dreary, restaurants and eateries can still leverage their business to their customers through online marketing. One stark example of this is the pizza industry.
Craving a slice of Pizza?
We have recently analysed the search trends for pizza-related queries on Google. The keyword popularity for Pizza had drastically spiked as high as 15% in February, following the government-imposed lockdowns. The online search for Pizza Delivery had also increased by 45% since January when the news of the outbreak took centre stage.
Breaking down the geographic areas, we have found that Singapore ranked first in search results for Pizza Delivery. The country saw a dramatic jump in the keyword by 225%. Malaysia came in second with a 100% increase, followed by the Philippines (117%) and the US (5.6%).
From our research, we have also found that people have grown more interested in home-baking. The search results for baking powder, yeast, sourdough, and baker’s yeast—all the main components in homemade pizza—indicate that people have tried to be less dependent on restaurants and eateries to satiate their sugary cravings.
COVID-19 Marketing Trends #3: The news cycle seems to have peaked
At the start of the lockdown, online news publications had seen an uptick in the number of readerships. Alexa reported that the daily news intake for the first quarter of 2020 had been steadily rising mainly due to the audience’s initial interest in learning more about the virus and monitoring the development of the current pandemic. The stay-at-home orders also acted as the catalyst of the readership spike as most people turned to their devices to make use of their time at home.
But such a spike in readership for COVID-19 news didn’t last for too long. The anxiety and fatigue resulted from the overconsumption of such news eventually drove the average engagements down. The content saturation also contributed to this decline.
We can clearly see this phenomenon from the ratio between the total articles and the total engagements on COVID-19 topics. Over the past six months, more than 5.6 million articles were written apropos of the outbreak. Nonetheless, the total engagements only reached a little more than 906 thousand.
The peak of engagement rate was recorded on March 8th with almost 600 thousand engagements across more than 1,500 articles. On May 10th, the number of engagements drastically dipped by 100%.
Even good news failed to chase away the COVID-19 blues as the engagement trend also considerably dipped. It’s worth mentioning, however, that positive news managed to cinch higher engagements than any other topics on the pandemic. The peak engagement rate for positive COVID-19 news was recorded on April 19th with over 33 thousand engagements across 302 articles. But that number sharply declined by 83% in the following week even as the number of articles rose by 3%.
Public Reception of COVID-19 News in Singapore
Singapore reverberates the sentiment of the global readership trend on COVID-19 news fatigue. NewsWhip—a social media engagement tracking firm—has found that the Singapore media landscape generated 7,245 articles on COVID-19 and secured more than 2.2 million engagements. While the ratio of articles to engagements seemed impressive at first glance, underneath the numbers, Singaporeans have begun tuning out to the stories related to the pandemic.
In the weekly report compiled by NewsWhip, for the first week of May, the engagement rate for COVID-19 articles had dropped by 83%. The first date of the month saw a total of 625 thousand engagements across 1,053 articles. Meanwhile, on May 7th, the engagement rate was down to only 198 thousand from 941 articles.
Unlike the global readership trend dominated by medical and health science websites, Singapore audience peruses much of their COVID-19 news from news media publications. Today Online had garnered more than 50% of the total audience. Trailing behind are the Straits Times at 19% and Channel News Asia at 14%.
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