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15 December 2020 by Samantha Swanepoel

How Covid-19 has Changed Digital Marketing in 2020

Covid-19 has had an immense impact on both the personal and professional lives of consumers and businesses across the globe. We have all been forced to make unwilling changes, adaptations and sacrifices resulting from the difficult climate of the pandemic.

There is no person, business or industry that has not been affected by the pandemic in some way.

But, there is no doubt, that the one industry which has faced a great number of changes in 2020 is the digital marketing industry.

Digital marketers across the globe have been forced to adapt and overcome new challenges at an alarming speed by creating new and unique online marketing strategies to help their associated brands keep afloat during the lockdown period and thereafter.

Let’s take a look at how Covid-19 has changed digital marketing during 2020.

Changes in Consumer Behaviour

The biggest transformation brought about by Covid-19 was a large shift in consumer spending and buying behaviour. While some industries continued to thrive or survive during the lockdown period, others faced tremendous declines in their ROIs and bottom line.

After many businesses were labelled as “non-essential” and forced to close their doors during the lockdown period, digital marketers were given a newfound responsibility to bring the brand closer to the consumer.

Consumers were forced to spend more time at home, work from home and, as a result, make purchase decisions from behind a screen.

According to research, consumers spent 44% more time browsing social media and 41% more time reading articles or browsing online when the lockdown period was introduced.

During these times of uncertainty, the Internet became a larger and more direct source of information and entertainment for consumers. Not only were consumers using the Internet for entertainment, but to make purchasing decisions.

A study conducted by Deloitte discovered that online sales increased by 18% during the first quarter in 2020 when compared to 2019. These numbers continued to increase throughout the lockdown period.

Let’s take a closer look at specific aspects of digital marketing that were affected.


Even though a website is essential for creating and maintaining an online presence, there are still numerous businesses that did not have a website pre-lockdown. For some, this meant developing a website to grow their online presence while, for others, this meant building an e-commerce platform to drive online sales. 

To keep up with the new marketing adaptations, businesses were forced to join the e-commerce game and begin offering online shopping services.

Not only were businesses with e-commerce platforms able to continue selling at a competitive level, but they were also able to drive traffic to their online stores using social media.

According to research, consumers are using social media more than any other channel to learn more about a brand and its product or service offering. Up to 29% of consumers are now making online purchases because of posts or adverts seen on social media.

Social Media

During the lockdown, social media became much more than a platform used to showcase personal identity: it became a means by which consumers could connect with one other and businesses.

With consumers forced to be at home, businesses had the opportunity to extend their market reach and establish themselves using digital marketing solutions. Businesses who had not yet established themselves were forced to do so or risked falling behind.

For this reason, social media marketing tools, like Facebook Advertising, became the online marketing bread and butter used by digital marketers to reach and engage with their target audiences to drive sales.

This involved using unique marketing strategies like influencer campaigns, virtual events and video marketing.

Just a single post by an influencer or celebrity can result in massive increases in engagement, following and sales. Consumers want to know that the products being sold are trustworthy and trendy and influencers can play a large role in building this trust.

Since Covid-19, the use of virtual events has increased tenfold. Online conferences and webinars became the new norm for advertising new products online while generating exposure and growing the business.

While consumers could remain safely at home, businesses could experiment with various live, cost-effective advertising options such as Facebook Live or webinars.

With research proving that consumers are more likely to watch a 30-minute video than read a blog, virtual events and video marketing become one of the ultimate online marketing solutions for digital marketers.

SEO and PPC Campaigns

At the announcement of the lockdown, many companies opted to reduce their marketing spend - particularly pay-per-click advertising campaigns. However, with web traffic on the surge, the best course of action would have been to drive for more online traffic.

In the past, search results were governed by search engine optimization. Even though SEO is still important, it is often pay-per-click advertising that can get you those top rankings in the SERPs.

With more businesses been forced to sell online, Google Ads became one of the best digital marketing solutions to drive traffic to their websites and rake in conversions during the lockdown.

A massive surge in device usage was also recorded with Google users using an array of electronic devices to conduct their searches. These devices include Smart TVs, Smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

With this in mind, businesses that have not yet made their websites responsive for mobile users could be losing out on potential sales. It is important, even post-lockdown, to make sure your website is suitable for mobile users.


The good news is that if you did push your marketing efforts toward social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, this content will remain useful even post-lockdown.

Content has long-lasting effects and can be found using a Google search or even boosted in future campaigns.

Not only did the coming of the pandemic increase the size, availability and profile of the digital audience but it also succeeded in reeling in audiences who were previously influenced by offline advertising only.

Covid-19 has changed the behaviour, expectations and how customers want to consume content which, in turn, has changed how digital marketers need to approach and interact with consumers.

One thing is for certain: Covid-19 has definitely altered the course of digital marketing. However, only time will tell if this change is for better or worse.

Want to develop an online presence for your business? Contact the digital marketing team at Online Innovations for assistance with developing a digital marketing strategy for your brand.

Call us on 041 365 4919, email [email protected], or visit our website at www.onlineinnovations.com to find out more.

Does your business need help developing an online presence?

Adapt and overcome with a new digital marketing strategy. Contact the digital marketing team at Online Innovations for assistance with developing a digital marketing strategy for your brand.

If you’re interested in our services, please give Bronwen a call or email her for more information.

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