As we are heading into month two of working from home, we wanted to share recent digital marketing news in the industry, how coronavirus continues to affect web traffic and search demand, and what Google has been up to. We also cover fascinating demand patterns in e-commerce and highlight which industries have seen the most change. Since things move so fast, we will actually be covering the second half of the month in another article at the end of April!

Ready to begin? Go fill up your coffee cup again and let’s get started.

Social Media Connections in a Time of Social Distancing

This might come as a surprise but as people are staying inside, they are spending more time on their phones than before, scrolling through social media and rapidly consuming the news. People are working from home, connecting with their boss on Zoom or with their loved ones on Houseparty. And maybe our eyes hurt a little bit from all of the blue light, but one fact is undeniable – screen time is up and it’s continuing. According to Later, an Instagram scheduling tool, average screen time has increased 18%, up to more than 5 hours a day! That’s a lot of TikTok videos. Both Instagram and Facebook saw an increase of over 40% in usage due to the social distancing period, and views for Lives on both platforms doubled in one week. Later’s Head of Marketing also notes that since people are consuming so much more content, the standards for the content are rising as well. Followers are paying more attention to captions and authentic content and are less likely to mindlessly like just anything they see. We love this quote:

What followers are looking for right now are friends and familiar faces that they trust and who symbolize a sense of normalcy from a time before this global pandemic.”

Social Media → Social Listening

In your free time, you may be scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, but during work hours, why not employ social listening? An effective business strategy, it can help you devise your content strategy and tailor it to what your consumers/followers actually want to see and read about. First off, social listening is “the process of finding mentions of any given keywords on social media”, using special tools such as Mention or Awario. Information found with the process of social listening can help you create content that is actually wanted by your audience and maybe questions they have asked or queries they have searched for. This allows you to answer their questions and be in the right place at the right time, as opposed to taking a shot in the dark and hoping for the best.

Let’s Go (Online) Shopping

As we are saving money on gas and entertainment, and spending a lot more on groceries, online shopping has also increased in the last few weeks. A US-based company, Within, shows the effects of the coronavirus on the performance of their e-commerce clients. From their research, we can see huge changes in the middle of March – revenue fell and Google spend dropped too. However, it’s interesting to note that at the beginning of April, conversion rates shot up while revenue climbed as well. Facebook and Google spend continue to fluctuate although average out a little higher than before.

Changes in Search Traffic Possible Google Algorithm Updates

Websites have been seeing decreases in search traffic and there were speculations that this was due to unannounced Google algorithm updates on March 10th and March 23rd. Since then, Marie Haynes came to the conclusion that this is likely due to fluctuating demand patterns from the changing lifestyles due to these uncertain times, rather than Google updates. We can see how the demand for industries such as airlines fell, whereas groceries soared. Some categories of e-commerce that have been growing really fast recently are bread machines (for all the sourdough being baked at home), hair colouring, and office desks. Some categories declining are camping equipment, golf clubs, and automotive mats.

These are challenging times without a doubt and everyone, from consumers to businesses, is doing their best to do what they need to do. While we are working from home, it’s fascinating to observe the trends in the digital space and see just how much our lifestyles affect our purchasing decisions. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to put yourself in the shoes of others, including your consumers, and try to picture what they are doing and feeling. Knowing what’s going on in the industry is the first step. We hope this article has been helpful and we will be back soon with more updates and trends in the world of digital marketing.