COVID-19: Affecting the Digital Marketing Ecosystem

Covid-19, better known as coronavirus has made an impact on almost anything digital. For some, it became a “good” way to earn more money, for others it meant loss of income.

Apparently, everyone in the digital world had to adjust to these happenings from all over the world, caused by the outbreak of this virus. If you are interested to learn more about the Covid-19, read more at World Health Organization’s site.

For now, let’s talk about the impact that it has made on the digital marketing ecosystem.

1. SEO Affected

If you are thinking that a Google Core Update is the worst you can experience as an SEO, you should probably change your mind.

The Covid-19 is most certainly affecting the organic traffic of healthy websites. You can probably already guess which niche was affected the most - the travel and tourism.

A lot of the sites’ traffic have been significantly decreased. This is due to the reshaping of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

For example, this is what Google presents when you try searching for “travel Italy”.

The tourist attractions and websites that had their first position on Google’s ranks, come in way behind after the news from the Covid-19. 


Covid-19_search results

2. Using the Internet as an Asset

The internet offers unbelievable opportunities when it comes to connecting with people, or searching for information. In other news, the internet has been the focus of many companies who are trying to somehow leverage or help people in times of crisis.

For example, the cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan was forced to close all of its locations in Wuhan during the emergency crisis in China. However, the company took its 100 beauty advisors from those stores and made them focus on providing services online. They used digital tools to engage with customers virtually and drive online sales. As a result, its sales in Wuhan achieved 200% growth compared to the prior year’s sales. Talk about the power of the internet!

Moreover, the crisis pushed everyone to schedule more remote meetings and to start using live chats and social media platforms more often. For example, Kuaishou, a social video platform valued at $28 billion, promoted online education offerings to compensate for school and university closures.

3. Traditional Sales vs. eCommerce

As the Covid-19 crisis spreads to new epicenters in Europe and the U.S., companies are trying to be reasonable when it comes to selling their products. There are no easy answers and due to the unpredictability of disease dynamics, a lack of proper measurements can cost businesses a lot.

Clearly, each local situation is different, but when it comes to eCommerce, there are opportunities for companies everywhere. Some countries are learning from other regions that are weeks ahead in responding to the epidemic.

Data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a research institute that is part of the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, states that smartphone sales dropped 56% in February 2020 compared to data from 2019. The only understandable reason?
Coronavirus. Or, more specifically, the quarantines related to it.


In addition to this, people have been putting themselves in home-quarantines due to fear of getting infected. So, when it comes to eCommerce right now, it is reasonable to say that it is thriving. Starting from the food delivery service options to buying regular necessities for the household. For many people, the only option left is delivery.

As consumers turn to digital possibilities as a method to avoid physical shopping situations, the change in behavior may have a long-term impact as well. Moreover, consumer behavior is impacted by technological progressions, but also by economic, sociological and environmental factors all three of which are obvious with the current Covid-19.

4. Major Marketing Events

Marketing summits and conferences from the likes of Google and Adobe were canceled or moved online in the wake of the spread of the virus.

A variety of marketing events are either fully postponed or transformed into an online-only format.

Both the Adobe Summit and Google Cloud Next’s organizers have opted to move their relative summits online. Again, we see technology allowing more opportunities than we may have witnessed had this virus taken hold 10 years ago.

5. Google News

Because of the crisis, Google has made premium features in its Hangouts Meet video-conferencing tool free until July 1st.

Now, users of G Suite and G Suite for Education will gain free live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, plus the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.

The reason behind the move was to support businesses and employees, teachers and students working and learning from home due to the coronavirus.

6. Instagram News

Instagram has prevented the creation of panic by having a pop up that takes you to a reliable website with information about the Covid-19. They are also working to create accurate guides for users towards relevant updates on the situation.

Instagram says that it's working to remove "known harmful misinformation related to Covid-19", so it's highlighting links to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local health authorities​ whenever someone clicks on a hashtag related to Covid-19.


7. Facebook News

Given the notable role that social platforms now play in the spread of news and information, they must be doing some efforts, and seeking to guarantee that misinformation is not being spread through their networks.

Following this ethical code, Facebook has announced a ban on all ads and commerce listings for medical face masks.

And thus far, most platforms appear to be doing a pretty good job of managing information, helping to keep the public informed and avoiding confusion.

Taking Control of Your Marketing

Controlling your own marketing channels such as your social media platforms, website, email, and mobile experiences is essential for building incredible relationships when things are good, but also when something unanticipated occurs, like an outbreak of a viral disease that impacts the global economy.

From the previously mentioned information, we can see that the tech-giants are managing their business effectively. They are teaching us that each business has the ability to generate and customize a plan of action that effectively supports their business and their customers.

Keep in mind that no one can truly prepare a fail-safe plan and no one can accurately predict when the situation will improve, or be significantly worse. But everyone can take ownership of their actions and the information they are spreading on their channels. It is important to have a customer-first approach in whatever advertising we decide to do, not just when such a situation requires it.


Ecommerce’s popularity will undoubtedly rise, especially when it comes to buying products that are keeping the people healthy such as disinfection supplies, vitamins, masks, and gloves.
In addition to this, even buying groceries and other products have seen a rise in the eCommerce market in the past weeks.

Moreover, everyone’s taking the necessary precautions to stop the people from panicking and acting irrationally. Many companies are following the example of conscious businesses that have made everything in their power to help in times of crisis.

Undoubtedly, more new lessons will emerge from the more affected countries. Companies that embrace change and apply these lessons will be able to protect their employees and businesses. Indeed, in a fast-changing, unpredictable world, such an adaptive approach should be applied more broadly beyond emergency management.