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How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the digital marketing industry

Let us begin by understanding digital marketing. Digital marketing involves promoting goods and services using electronic channels, which include internet-based and non-internet based counterparts.

The former caters to content marketing, Search Engine Optimization or SEO, Search Engine Marketing or SEM, email marketing and social media marketing and the latter radio and television.

The gambit is quite extensive, and it is best to seek the helping hand of a digital agency in London to fulfil your requirements.

But, if you wish to understand how and by how much things have changed since last year, read on.

A brief introduction of the new normal

No faster has the world changed than during the ongoing pandemic. The employees are working from home and attending to calls digitally. Shoppers are surfing for products and services and making purchases online.

The Product Mix

The lockdown restrictions have divided companies and products into two distinct categories.

One category is the essential items, such as groceries, household items, pet products and medical supplies with overwhelmingly voluminous orders. The second is the one lacking in orders and interactions – automotive, fixtures and furniture, luxury and big-ticket items and hospitality.

It goes without saying that the essentials have come to the forefront during this time, leaving the luxury products to cope up for miles.

Focus on localization

The pandemic has given people a sense of community, which fuelled an inclination towards locally sourced and produced items.

There is now a greater reliance on shopping from local stores. This desire stems from price sensitivity, goodwill and familiarity buying. Now, what has this meant for digital marketing?

Search engines and social media feeds are used by shoppers to know about products and make purchases. These purchases are made through digital touchpoints, including mobile wallets, email and social media.

Therefore, when it comes to digital marketing – affiliate and influencer marketing have become a direct conduit to the target audience.

You see, users and customers residing have implicit trust in the influencers that hail from their region. This has given the brands a certain level of leverage to tap on geographical segments without putting in the extra effort.

Adapting to the new normal

Brands and businesses have taken to digital marketing to appeal to their audiences, keeping in mind the current trends. For instance, companies have gone paperless and contactless.

Food delivery start-ups and medical suppliers are promoting contact-free purchasing, say via kiosks or online. Restaurants promote order-taking through their smartphones. Groceries are being delivered at the touch of a fingertip.

The changes have been far and wide. And the implications are practically everywhere.

VR and AR

The abbreviations for virtual reality and augmented reality both have become more prevalent amid the pandemic. Renowned brands have started using these avenues to promote their products and services. Both these technologies are excellent for products that require a visual aspect.

Makeup and hair care brand, L’Oréal through its Makeup Genius App, allows enthusiasts to try out hair colours and makeup styles. In similar stead is Sephora’s Virtual Artist. Parallel digital marketing methods are used for shoes and furniture brands, including Gucci’s Try On Shoes AR feature and IKEA’s Place application.

Greater competitiveness

Although convenient, the online space has seen more effort from brands and businesses to compete and interact with the audiences. That is to say; the digital pie is now bigger than before. Brands have to jump on the creativity and relevance bandwagon to get to the finish line before anyone else.

One of the means to do this is through programmatic advertising.

By the end of 2021, programmatic advertising will represent 88% of all digital marketing. So, what is programmatic advertising?

It caters to automated buying and optimization of digital campaigns. With physical presence curtailed, human negotiations are replaced by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Transparency and efficiency are both increased as display and banner ads are purchased through real-time auctions. Also, the prices and costs are driven through the market forces of supply and demand.

Bidding and auctioning are one part. These take care of the banner and display ads crucial to creating engagement when users visit websites. But what about the other part, social media and video streaming?

There is no one way to reach out to the audience. Businesses are increasingly using a 360-degree digital marketing approach via omnichannel marketing. And mind you, this is the new rule in this new work-from-home normal. It upturns the recall value of the brand as users are scattered across platforms.


Freelance and independent contracts and employment

This pandemic has covered the way for the experts, the outliers and the freelancers. Now that physical presence in offices is no longer a thing, brands readily outsource some functions to external parties. The project-based or contractual stints apply to limited professions, and digital marketing is one of the most prominent ones on the list.


The visual representations of the ads need inputs from designers and writers. This is where independent workers come to the forum. Remote culture has given everyone the freedom to choose the best of the best without worrying about geographical constraints.


Parting words

The Covid-19 pandemic has confined everyone into their homes. With work and shopping happening online, the digital marketing industry has undergone a massive shift.

More and more enterprises are taking their businesses online and using digital media tools to garner traction and create engagement.

It’ll be interesting to see what the post-Covid sphere has in store for brands and companies. But given the internet and technology advancements, this trend will likely stay its course, and the bulk of the work will happen online.

Now, it all depends on how fast you get on the horse and learn to ride it across the finish line.

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