The Impact of Lockdown Trends on Digital Marketing
30 Jul 2020
How did the lockdown change businesses’ perceptions of digital marketing? Read the article below by Scot Livingstone, Channel Manager at Moment Agency, which explores the coronavirus trends that contributed to this revaluation, putting digital marketing in a more serious light.
Is it a trend if it only lasts a few days?
This graph below, taken from Google Trends, tracks the searches of the term ‘coronavirus’ in the first six months of 2020, with the most searches peaking around the 16 March, just a few days before the UK essentially shut down.
I'm hesitant to use the term ‘trends’ frequently, because many articles published online and in print have reported marketing and advertising trends, but are they really a trend if they only last a few days, before everything changes again?
Now, trends reported across media about the virus are important. For instance, you can get the coronavirus if you cough in each other’s faces. So, to combat this sort of trend, the respective Governments put in place restrictions and safety measures, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson got the coronavirus, proving that it really is rather nasty. Meanwhile in Scotland, Janey Godley has been a fantastic presence on social media with her voiceover comedy videos of Scotland’s First Minister because, although the voiceovers are funny, they support the underlying message of staying safe and at home.
I digress ...
Lockdown trends: from banana bread to Netflix
During the lockdown, we at Moment have been incredibly fortunate to work at capacity from home while still winning new business. Many of the social media trends across the UK –– after the loo roll panic – have been wholesome and forced us to think of ways to entertain ourselves: banana bread, TikTok, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and of course, Netflix.
So, with the lockdown across the world, everything got cancelled, cancelled again, and re-scheduled for 2021. This means missing Wimbledon, the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race, Glastonbury, the Chelsea Flower Show, and of course, the Eurovision Song Contest.
Not all was lost: the Netflix release of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga provided a bit of light relief – especially seeing Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey play a bejewelled heartthrob – but also served as a reminder to “be careful what you wish for.” In this case: something really bad has to happen for your wish to come true.
In the film, Sigrit, an Icelandic singer, asks the elf community to help her and her friend’s band, “Fire Saga,” win the Eurovision Song Contest. Long story short, the boat where a party is taking place for all the contesters – which Sigrit and her friend aren’t on – blows up, leaving Fire Saga the winner by default. Horrific if you’re concerned by the extreme loss of life, but also great if you’re Fire Saga, even though Sigrit declares, “The elves went too far!”
Did agencies speak to the digital elves?
Similarly, it took something drastic for many companies to open their eyes to digital marketing. For some time now, digital marketing agencies have been banging their heads against brick walls. As a multi-service agency, we in particular have been trying extremely hard to convince our clients not to ditch the more traditional advertising methods, but still include digital as a serious extra touchpoint in their media activity and schedules.
Whether it’s through Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, or display, we’ve been strongly encouraging businesses to incorporate digital marketing as part of their strategy. However, this hasn’t always been met with an open mind, because unfortunately with a lot of companies, their media strategy is what has “aye bin.”
So, if agencies have been speaking to the digital elves, then maybe that explains 2020. The elves definitely went too far with the coronavirus, but the pandemic has shaken many businesses into starting to think seriously about digital marketing.
Of course, we do digital, we have a Facebook page ...
Employees working from home or those furloughed and bored are definitely spending more time online – so out goes outdoor and print advertising. We’re now seeing an extremely busy market across digital platforms, as companies have realised to “do digital” means a lot more than having a Facebook page, which someone may or may not remember to update with relevant content.
As hard as it may have been not to say, “Yeah, we told you digital was the way forwards,” digital agencies are now winning clients, because businesses have realised now is a crucial time to be more digitally minded. There are so many people shielding and isolating: nobody is going out to buy a paper and everyone is on apps, websites, and reading live news feeds.
During the outbreak, there have been some pretty intense debates, political movements, protests, and general unrest, which has brought forward a lot of opinions. In the past 24 hours, articles have said “Facebook advertising was challenged before the boycott,” “TikTok is coming for Facebook,” “TikTok is dead.”
This is why I’m trying to use the word ‘trends’ sparsely, because at the moment an opinion or debate doesn’t hang around long enough to become a proper trend. It seems to be nothing more than a passing fad, a bit like Twitter – according to Sprout Social, the main interaction with the tweet is between two and three hours after it’s posted.
Where are you supposed to look?
Depending on your product, for B2C you want to be on Facebook, Google ads, Instagram, and maybe TikTok. For B2B, get on LinkedIn. There’s so much out there that can help your business spring back, and get clients and customers back through the door ... 2 metres apart obviously, and probably wearing a mask. To quote another classic film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – which could be a metaphor for 2020 if you shifted a few letters around – “from the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success.”
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