At this point, COVID-19’s economic disruption can already be felt across the globe. To put it frankly, it has been a tough year for businesses this 2020.

All signs indicate that while some industries are on their way to recovery, there is still a long way ahead to return to normal business operations.

Many companies, whether it be big or small, have shut down their doors for what may be weeks or even months already. While some others are still scrambling to hold on as they try to make do with their remote work arrangements.

Different industries are already seeing the ramifications of COVID-19, and the results are unprecedented. Some businesses were well-prepared for the shifting market, but others were not.

As people’s behaviors change, their purchasing behavior will also change

Consumers are staying home more often, and as the world responds to the ongoing disruption – they are leaning more towards online searches and news outlets to look for answers and solutions to their daily needs.

Some businesses have learned how to pivot quickly by driving new consumers to their websites and online marketplace. For others, the results were not so great, and their strategies need to shift.

Businesses need to take some time to understand their consumer’s mindset during the pandemic and customize a strategy that will meet their needs in this changing environment. Ask yourselves the following questions:

·   If your consumer can’t come to your physical store, can you find other alternatives to bring your products and services at their doorstep?

·   Does your business have the capacity to expand your current offerings to cater to the immediate challenges that sprung up from the crisis?

Here are four major trends caused by COVID-19 and some actionable strategies on how companies can respond to it: 

TREND 1: COVID-19 plunged physical store visits by 90% in one month.

As consumers practice social distancing and avoid unnecessary trips outside their homes, many businesses have no choice but to close their physical stores or limit their in-store capacity. Months into the pandemic, most brick-and-mortar stores are already feeling the adverse effects of limited foot traffic to their businesses.

Response Strategy:

As brick and mortar stores can no longer rely on foot traffic for their revenues, businesses need to shift their focus on their online presence. Now is the best time for brands to optimize their online presence with these recommended strategies:

·   Design a simple website or make improvements if you have one already.

Your brand’s website serves as the cornerstone of your online presence. Businesses don’t need to have a complex website. You just need one with landing pages that are optimized for Google’s search engine.

·   Engage with your consumers on social media.

Consumers expect that businesses may make some changes during the pandemic. They need updates to confirm when you’re open. Some will turn to Google or go to your website, but others will just look at your brand’s latest post on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to give periodic updates on social media to promote engagement on your loyal consumers.

TREND 2: COVID-19 dominated new searches on Google.

Consumers are learning about the pandemic from news outlets in real-time. Searches on Google about “COVID” and “coronavirus” have been rampant over the past few months.

Even beyond the rising search terms about the virus, the implications that the homebody economy has on the world bring people to Google with questions that we don’t usually see. From medical necessities, basic needs to government advisories, dormant and brand-new search terms are getting incredibly popular.

Response Strategy:

These new Google search terms are an opportunity to reach a new audience. No one knows what will be trending tomorrow, so businesses need to adjust their online campaigns for new search terms that will make the brand visible online. Here’s how you can start:

·   Follow trending COVID-19 searches.

Google Trends has always been a useful tool to understand people’s search behavior. As a response to the search in coronavirus-related searches, Google Trends release its Coronavirus Hub. The hub is dedicated to specific COVID-19 search trends. Businesses can regularly review the hub to find out people’s priorities and search interests related to the latest news on COVID-19.

·   Get your business on Google My Business.

COVID-19 forced businesses to close, more and more people are turning to Google to ensure that stores are open during uncertain times. Creating a Google My Business account will help your firm display your business hours, address, posts, photos, and reviews on Google Maps. If your company is already registered, make sure to update any changes in your business operations if they have changed during COVID-19. 

TREND 3: Mobile search traffic decreased by nearly 25% in March.

With many consumers staying indoors and social distancing, they are naturally not commuting and traveling anytime soon. As such, consumer behavior is less mobile than they were during the first few months of 2020. The sedentary behavior of consumers showed a significant decline in mobile search traffic as well.

Response Strategy:

Google search traffic had been down across all devices while people were under lockdown at home. However, the decline was felt much more on mobile and tablet devices than it was on desktop. Here’s how you can respond:

·   Adjust your digital campaign for less mobile traffic.

It’s essential to understand what traffic your digital ads are getting to prevent your campaigns from reaching irrelevant panicked searchers. If done correctly and efficiently, you would be surprised by how many people can find your business online using just a few simple tools such as:

o   Google Ads

Businesses can reach customers as they search online for keywords from your brand and pay only when interested customers click on your ads. Businesses can also reach their target audience on Google maps, display ads, Gmail, and YouTube.

o   Facebook Ads

With consumers clamoring online on Facebook and Instagram while staying at home, Facebook ads are the most substantial opportunity to reach your firm’s target audience on social media. 

TREND 4: Cross-network opportunities grow as Google search traffic falls.

While people may be spending less time out in physical stores and even less time on Google’s mobile search, Internet use is nearly up by 50% since the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread. Businesses can still reach their prospective customers online – they just need to readjust their strategy.

Response Strategy:

With Google’s search traffic beginning to fall, businesses need to find other opportunities to make up some of that loss. Using different marketing strategies online will help mitigate the volatility of relying on Google search alone.

·   Get your products on online marketplaces.

Traditional brick and mortar retail are currently struggling with minimal store visits and lockdown restrictions. E-commerce is an excellent opportunity to keep your sales coming in, even if your consumers are staying at home. Businesses can start selling on online marketplaces like Amazon, Lazada, and Shopee.

·   Try out localization marketing.

With so many consumers spending more time online, it’s now easier to find them when they search the web, scroll their social media, and watch videos online. Consider localization marketing to manage a localized digital presence and remain on top-of-mind of your local consumers.

Marketing Localization amidst the COVID-19 Disruption

All the COVID-19 disruption trends mean that brands need to rethink their digital marketing plans. As the pandemic made a significant dent in businesses’ spending priorities, they need to readjust their traditional budget to save money.

Digital marketing has been the go-to solution for brands that wanted to promote their brands with relevant content amidst the pandemic. A Gartner report noted that digital channels would account for 80% of the marketing budgets this 2020.  

With a high percentage of companies increasing their digital marketing budget this year, this is a good opportunity for brands to strengthen their local presence and increase consumer loyalty. This is why businesses need to redirect their budget to digital channels to reach homebound consumers using marketing localization.

By developing a focus on localized marketing on digital channels, businesses can have the opportunity to build a long-term digital strategy that can concentrate on retention and audience engagement in a specific local area.

A localized marketing strategy will help build a local presence on the brand. It will leverage locally-driven digital communication channels to reach a specific target audience in local communities. 

Maintaining a local presence will help aid many businesses as consumers start to clamor on digital platforms for information, connection, and entertainment during the pandemic. Localized marketing is an excellent strategy that companies can adapt as they pivot and respond to the changing conditions brought about by the COVID-19 disruption.

Here are several tips to get you started with your digital campaigns:

TIP 1: Stay consistent and extend your high-performing ads.

The COVID-19 disruption has also caused some delays and errors in the automated system that review new ads and commerce listings on social media like Facebook and Instagram. To avoid disruption to your brand’s digital campaign, it’s recommended that firms extend the delivery of their best performing ads since there may be delays in new ad campaign approvals.

TIP 2: Build brand awareness with your online audience.

Since consumers are staying at home, they’ll be more inclined to go online to pass the time. This is a great opportunity for brands to plan their campaigns in advance since this is the time when people will be looking for more content to consume online. Content should focus on the value of the brand to consumers or the products and services that your firm provides, including the benefits that they can have when they’re ready to purchase.

TIP 3: Focus on marketing localization.

With the increased time that consumers spend browsing the web at home, it is now a great time to engage with your local audience. You can pique their interests by giving them incentives like free shipping or exclusive promos.

You can also try out Shakr Local to create locally relevant video campaigns at scale for your brand. Shakr will help create a unique and customized creative video that can be deployed for multiple locations. 

TIP 4: Test new ad creative and audiences.

If your business has slowed down or closed temporarily during the pandemic, it’s a great opportunity to do a little research by testing out new ad creative on a variety of audiences. This is a great approach to gather the information that will make your future digital campaigns more effective.

Shakr can help you create customized video ad creatives at scale to help you test out more ads with new images, headlines, or copy in a more flexible and efficient manner.

Optimize your digital marketing capability with Shakr Local!

Shakr Local at Scale can help businesses connect with people in a whole new meaningful way with our top-notch hyper-local campaign creative at scale.

Locally relevant ads are perceived to be highly personalized and can dramatically increase consumer engagement of businesses.

Schedule a discovery call with us now!


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