A Look Into The Last 12 Months Of Digital Marketing (In Under 10 Minutes)
As we come to (hopefully) the final months of the UK’s Covid-19 Pandemic, we’re taking the time to reflect on how exactly our industry has changed since those distant days of March 2020.
Almost 1 year on since the UK went into lockdown, businesses have been racing to adjust to new measures for their day to day survival. There have been ups and downs for Digital Marketing Professionals and in this blog we’re going to look at the key areas that have changed for better or worse.
Prime Times For Social Media Posting
Working from home has shifted the entire workplace in almost every business. Employees are no longer all together socialising on lunch breaks, or at least they shouldn’t be, and the working day has become much less micro-managed without this sort of structure.
The lack of common working practices has scrambled the social media radars of most digital marketers. In 2019 both HubSpot & Hootsuite advised posts would perform best between 12 noon and 16:00 to reach the largest number of users and drive the most engagement. Largely this was down to anticipating the millions of people scrolling actively through their social feeds whilst on lunch breaks, shift changes & school runs.
But with the majority of employees now working remotely (if at all) and the schools closed for large periods of time, prime times for social media posting has been jumping around like a kangaroo on a pogo stick! SproutSocial now advises that content is best posted between 10:00-11:00 (when those working from home have got through their morning routine), whilst here at Assured Marketing, we’ve found our clients prosper best for engagement between 16:00-19:00.
Brand Ethics & Truth In Advertising
65% of consumers now state that they will be ‘more mindful’ in their consumption when it comes to the ethics of a brand/business. Covid-19 has made people question their purchasing decisions, especially online as this has become the number 1 route of purchases.
For a long time, companies have been able to exaggerate the truth in their paid advertisements in an attempt to generate more sales. However, in recent months Facebook has removed over 7 million ad posts that they deemed as ‘conspiracy marketing’ in relation to Coronavirus.
Whilst most companies will not be actively advertising things related to the pandemic, these actions from advertising platforms like Facebook send a clear message that any advertisers displaying false information will soon have their ad accounts blocked and their promotions removed.
Any digital marketer worth their salt will know that the key to any advertising campaign is that it is able to build trust with the users it wants to engage. That means that advertising campaigns will be required to focus on accuracy going forward. A helpful tip for aspiring advertising managers would be to ensure that they/their clients can back up any claims made in their ads with solid data.
A Huge Increase In The Demand For Digital Marketing
- Digital First Approach
The last 12 months has made it painfully clear to business owners that going digital is now the biggest priority when it comes to attracting/engaging with new customers. People are out less and therefore no longer exposed to physical advertisements, whilst TV advertising can be an option, it is out of the price range for most small businesses.
Not only this, but the effectiveness TV advertising has been declining for years, since the launch of Sky+ where viewers are able to skip adverts and streaming services such as Netflix where there are 0 advertisements in programming.
This has left business owners with the only real approach to marketing being digital during the pandemic. The Return On Investment (ROI) for digital marketing far surpasses it’s conventional counterparts. The increase in demand for digital marketing services since March 2020 has been massive. Agencies such as ourselves have seen the number of enquiries from small local businesses, who before have not even considered websites, rise dramatically.
- Local SEO
Small local businesses have, for years, relied heavily on word of mouth for their work and not given things like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) much thought. But in a post-covid world, local SEO has become more popular than ever. With more people either furloughed or working from home; local Google searches are up by 20% in some cases.
This means that the need for local businesses to enhance their websites and pay attention to SEO has increased. Those that do are really seeing the benefits. Whilst their competitors struggle for business they are at the front of the queue when customers are searching for them on Google.
There is also the impact that Covid-19 has had on Pay-Per-Click Advertising campaigns. Many businesses are finding their ad campaigns less successful and therefore are turning to creating an effective SEO strategy to combat this and begin appearing at the top of search results organically.
Complete Overhaul Of Visual Imagery
Visual content creation has seen perhaps the most dramatic shift in terms of marketing. The images used by marketers to promote their business has been subtly overhauled to mirror the new normal in society. No longer do we see visual ads that show groups of people socially interacting in public or displaying physical contact.
The advertisements of the day have always had to reflect the society that they are displayed to. As smoking became known as harmful, advertising cigarettes slowly drifted towards being banned until they were fully in July 2005.
We have now begun to see another huge transition in advertising, that in order to represent the socially distant society visual content will display people wearing face masks or that alcohol advertisements no longer show groups of people drinking in nightclubs.
These changes may perhaps be quickly reversed, but if businesses continue to have success with these types of ads, then we may see a more permanent change take place when it comes to the ad creative.