The disruptions created by the COVID-19 have adversely affected many businesses across various industries. The tourism and hospitality sectors, for instance, have been hit the hardest. The initial lockdowns that occurred all over the world have denied these industries their sources of income since international travel was brought to a standstill.
Despite the wide reach of the pandemic, the digital marketing industry is one of those sectors that have managed to survive the adverse effects of COVID-19. How did these businesses stand their ground, and what effects did the pandemic have on these companies, if any?
Here are two ways that, conversely, the COVID-19 has benefited the digital marketing landscape rather than hinder it.
The Pandemic Forced Many Businesses to Try and Establish an Online Presence
With the declaration of a global crisis in March last year, governments around the world raced to enforce lockdowns as they attempt to contain the spread of the virus. Non-essential businesses had to close down, while others, like restaurants and hotels, have to operate either with a skeleton crew or at a diminished capacity.
Meanwhile, most people had to stay at home, except those whose lines of work were considered essential. Because these individuals’ needs didn’t change despite the lockdown, they inevitably turned to online shopping early last year to fulfill those needs. As a result, many businesses that relied on the traditional model made the shift to e-commerce to try and capture this market and to earn income amid the crisis.
In December 2020, Forbes reported that 79% of small businesses that responded to a survey by PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. admitted to instituting changes to their practices to cope up with the pandemic. PNC chief economist Gus Faucher noted that these practices included capitalizing on technology, like e-commerce or “sales over the Internet.”
Business analyst Gartner also published a report in October of last year on Chinese businesses that remained strong despite the turbulent environments caused by the pandemic. According to the report, these companies owed their survival to their executives’ decision to partner with digital marketers and leverage the shift in the markets for income.
How about in the United States? CNBC said that digital ad expenditures by American businesses increased 12.2% year-on-year in 2020.
All of these statistics mean only one thing – digital marketing experienced a sustained increase in demand because of the pandemic. As a result, the industry enjoyed continuous income in 2020, although the market did experience a brief decline in the early parts of the year.
Digital Marketing Companies Are At Home with Remote Work
While other businesses and even government agencies had to struggle on the fly to establish work-from-home arrangements for their employees, digital marketing companies already have several of their processes outsourced to laborers overseas. This is made possible by websites like Freelancer, UpWork, and People Per Hour, among others.
Unlike other industries, the digital marketing sector did not have to take a short pause to adapt to the demands of the lockdowns. With most of their workforce already working remotely, it was business as usual for the digital marketers while other companies were forced to temporarily shut down.
In addition, the remote working arrangements that their employees enjoyed meant that digital marketers did not have to invest additional money in shifting their businesses to the work-from-home model. Instead, their telecommuting employees provided their own Internet connections, computers, and other necessary equipment to continue working through the pandemic.
The minimal amount of disruption, if any, that digital marketing companies experienced when the pandemic started did not affect them as it seriously affected businesses in other sectors. When the demand for Internet advertising spiked, digital marketers were already poised to grab their respective slices of the pie.
This kept the industry remained stable, with sustained revenues even through the uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 crisis.
What Does the Future Hold for Digital Marketing?
As the pandemic continues, experts are seeing sustained growth in digital marketing for this year. For instance, Statista estimates digital ad expenditures around the world to grow 17% this year from last year. Specifically, Statista sees global ad expenses to hit US$389.29 billion by the end of 2021.
Buzznation’s Ratnesh Singh also told Forbes last year that, while they see their corporate clients pouring their money back to events when things go back to normal, there’s a possibility that these entities will also incorporate digital marketing into their long-term contingency plans for advertising.
At the moment, the world continues to recover from the economic shock brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. For digital marketers, the horizon ahead shows only promising prospects of growth and continued revenues that will ensure their survival as times remain volatile.