Digital Marketing During a Recession (Should You?)

Digital Marketing During a Recession (Should You_) _ MediaOne Marketing Singapore

It’s great to see you looking into digital marketing during a recession. In times of economic uncertainty, many businesses start to wonder if they should cut back on their marketing efforts to save money.

But is this really the right move?

Digital marketing has become increasingly important in recent years, and it’s only become more crucial during the pandemic-induced recession.

As consumers have shifted their purchasing habits online, businesses that invest in digital marketing have been able to maintain their presence and even grow their customer base.

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not you should continue your digital marketing efforts during a recession.

We’ll take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing during a downturn and provide some tips on how to make the most of your marketing budget.

So, let’s dive in and find out if digital marketing is still a valuable investment during tough economic times.

Digital Marketing During a Recession (Should You?)

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Many companies are anxious about their long-term growth and performance prospects because of the corona virus pandemic’s impact on the year 2020.

As a result, it’s hard to argue that keeping up the same level of spending on digital marketing methods is the wisest course of action.

The United States officially entered a recession at the start of June, as reported by the National Bureau of Economic Research. This marked the end of the sustained economic expansion that had bolstered American firms since 2009.

Consumers and buyers must readjust their purchasing patterns to a new world of social separation and identity as a result of the 2020 pandemic, which has caused many businesses to temporarily or permanently suspend their brick-and-mortar operations. Many companies now face the prospect of long-term internet retail, however dubious that may be.

Yet, a multi-channel strategy that centers on relatively novel purchasing behaviors may be the key to recession-proof advertising.

Social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO) are all examples of successful advertising strategies.

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Why Use Digital Marketing During Recessions

Businesses would do well to boost up their digital marketing efforts rather than cancelling them out of pessimism during the current economic downturn.

Many companies respond to recessions by cutting back on promotion, but this isn’t the greatest plan, according to most expert business analysts.

Longitudinal studies have consistently shown that strengthening or retaining an existing advertising presence yields the best results.

MarketSense found that companies that implemented both long-term marketing strategy and short-term market transactions were able to recover from the recession of the 1990s, and McGraw Hill researchers discovered that companies that increased their advertising budgets during recessions in the 1980s grew at nearly four times the rate of those that did not.

So, How can You Promote your Business Online During a Recession?

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As long as your internet advertising campaigns are live, you will continue to receive income.

In a downturn, it’s especially important for businesses to be able to augment their income with other sources of cash.

To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their search engine optimization and paid advertising strategies, businesses can make use of the vast amounts of data made available by internet advertising.

Returns can be maximized and inefficient channels of spending can be cut back with the help of experienced marketers.

Better money is made by doing all this.

In addition, as rivals pull themselves out of serps by discontinuing advertising, businesses that employ search marketing tactics such as SEO can benefit from increased visibility.

It’s the same with paid media. Cost-per-click and cost-per-impression rates might fall and thus make gaining visitors more feasible as competitors leave the market.

Developing a well-rounded strategy for a campaign can help companies emerge from difficult situations more resilient.

In truth, achieving success with search engine marketing requires time and effort. But, falling in the ranks is far simpler than climbing back up the ladder.

Businesses that continue their SEO efforts stand a better chance of rising to the top of the SERP and remaining there while their rivals abandon the practice.

Influence of the Coronavirus on Advertising

As a matter of fact, digital marketing is among the few industries that thrives during economic downturns. Listed below are some hard and fast figures.

Quarantine-related subjects, like as education, physical activity, and food delivery, had a temporary shift in Google search behavior in early 2020. This resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of unpaid traffic going to stores selling things like clothes and food online.

In the United States, searches pertaining to deliveries increased by more than 7 percent annually between April 2017 and April 2019. They increased by over 20% in the countries that were struck the hardest. In the United States, interest in “online grocery shopping” and “grocery delivery” has increased by 23% year over year.

With more consumers looking for how-to instructions online, content marketers and authors have a new window of opportunity.

According to the CBRE, retail sales in the United States are down 8.1% so far this year. But, Econsultancy reports that “non-store” (eCommerce) retail sales have surged by 25% as of June.

They also report a 13% increase in enterprises catering to consumers in the supermarket, construction, and gardening industries.

These numbers seem to indicate that consumers are still spending, albeit cautiously, despite the economic slump; rather, they are shifting their spending habits, with an enormous growth in online purchasing.

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Changes in eCommerce have also occurred on different channels. Net sales for Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, increased by 40% year over year in the second quarter. Its advertising division also grew by 41%, despite a slow start to the year.

Finally, according to the same Econsultancy analysis, “more or the same extent” as before the pandemic, social media users in the United States and the United Kingdom are interacting with social media influencers. Advertisement income for Facebook nevertheless rose by 11% in the second quarter, even after accounting for the impact of the outage.

In June of 2020, the average number of people using Facebook every day was still an astounding 1.79 billion, up 12 percent from the previous year.

Facebook’s advertising alternatives, which now include Instagram ads thanks to the ad platform, remain alluring even in a down economy, according to a 23.6% drop in CPC costs across the board.

Many companies have struggled during the recession brought on by the pandemic because they have been unable to successfully adapt their business strategy for the digital marketplace.

While customers have increasingly shifted their shopping habits online, the data above demonstrates they are still actively buying.

Additionally, there is no reason why people spending more time at home would have any negative effect on social media advertising, and in fact, social media ad systems have expanded quicker as consumers spend more time engaging with brands online.

Marketing Strategies: SEO and PPC

Marketing Strategies: SEO and PPC | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

For many companies, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising on search engines represent the most appealing types of recession-proof marketing.

SEO allows businesses to expand organically in the digital sphere without having to commit to the hefty expenses that paid promotions necessitate.

The bulk of the money you’ll spend on SEO will go into optimizing your website for search engines like Google and Bing. The return on investment from SEO, however, is well-known to be the highest.

In 2018, nearly half of all firms (48%) said organic search provided the best return on investment (ROI), according to a poll by Search Engine Journal.

An excellent long-term investment because its worth rises with time and a highly optimized website can have a prominent position in Google’s search results for months or even years, bringing in cash from organic search traffic.

Statista’s polling data shows that due to this distinct advantage, SEO is the single most effective kind of internet marketing, with 32% of marketers globally claiming it consistently provides them with the best long-term results.

If done properly, SEO will yield long-term benefits.

Search engine optimization (SEO) in general is more of a time-based than monetary metric.

This means that companies who prioritize SEO during the downturn might reap the benefits long after the economy has recovered. Marketing via the search engines allows you to sow the seeds of future success.

When done properly, SEO keyword study will assist businesses achieve first- and second-page rankings, which in turn increases traffic at the top of the sales funnel and increases the likelihood of a sale being made.

Particularly applicable to regular expenditures and necessities. Even in a down economy, consumers still need to buy necessities, and savvy search marketing may help firms reach those customers.

Recession-Proofing your Marketing with a Digital Focus

Adaptability to shifting consumer preferences is a crucial skill for digital marketers to have in a downturn. To do this, you need to include keywords that are relevant to your audience.

As keyword research is already an integral part of SEO/search advertisements, this is yet another way in which SEM may help businesses weather the economic downturn by allowing them to more precisely target their content.

Google’s Keyword Planner is only one of many tools that can help an SEO firm zero down on low-competition keywords with steady average traffic.

In addition, Keyword Planner may be used by marketers to learn about relevant keyword parameters like competition and PPC bidding prices.

The next step in effective content optimization is to deduce the intended purpose of a search and then use that knowledge to identify relevant keywords.

Google’s Search Console is only one example of an SEO tool that can be used to track and analyze data about a website’s traffic in order to improve rankings for existing and future keywords.

Marketers can better determine “intent” with the assistance of keyword research tools that are built to collect inquiries, questions, and longer worded based searches.

To weather the economic storm, your SEO strategy should focus on creating content that your target demographic actually wants.

Despite the economic downturn, the popularity of digital marketing strategies like SEO increases.

While traditional advertising in the United States fell by roughly 18% during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, its digital counterpart (which was still in its teenage years at the time) held steady.

Marketers favored paid advertising and search engine optimization due to the measurable results and the data they provided.

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If you compare digital marketing to traditional types of outbound advertising, one of the most notable contrasts is the abundance of data it provides to firms.

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Companies can monitor how visitors are getting to their site and track key performance indicators (KPIs) including form fill outs, time on website, demographic information, converts, sales/revenue, newbies, and much more with enterprise level data from reporting solutions like Google Analytics.

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Google’s Search Console and Google AdWords provide more detailed information on the performance of various search result types.

Both SEO and PPC tactics can be fine-tuned with the data that these provide to marketers.

Further, they enable them to interpret feedback data in order to allocate resources more effectively by reducing time spent on low-value segments while boosting time spent on high-value segments.

Last but not least, using historical data, these systems can provide “predict” data that helps marketers better understand near-term prospects.

E-commerce “Marketplaces” in the Digital Realm

In January of this year, Google made public a plan to roll out organic, unpaid search results on the Google Shopping tab. As it happens, the timing was excellent.

The change was a significant step toward Google’s objective of contending with eCommerce sector giants like Amazon, and it provided eCommerce marketers with a large new chance to drive product sales directly in search results.

By happy coincidence, this shift also presented companies with a fresh chance to enhance their digital marketing efforts in the midst of the recession.

Companies that are hesitant to invest in advertising can now take advantage of a cost-free alternative thanks to the fact that organic Google Shopping results no longer require a paid search marketing campaign.

One needs only a Google Merchant Center account and the time to import product listing information into the Google Shopping advertisements platform.

This is the sole method for getting product listings into SERPs at the moment.

To slow the economic downturn and boost confidence among retailers, Amazon has invested $4 billion in anti-corona virus efforts.

As a result, digital marketing on Amazon is a strong approach for eCommerce sites, as consumer shopping patterns on the website have remained stable or grown, contributing to its 24% increase in online sales.

Amazon’s A9 algorithm prioritizes items that receive lots of hits, have a high conversion rate (CR), and have verified reviews. This means that companies that can afford to pay their way to the peak of the retail rankings have a significant impact on those rankings.

Google and Amazon’s Shopping and Sponsored Goods features are great for retailers who want to promote their products in certain niches on e-commerce platforms.

For the best results on these channels during a downturn, it’s best to keep advertising, as it’s far more difficult to recover lost sales figures and search engine rankings. Maintain your performance by not letting up on the gas.

Don’t stop running your paid ads.

When compared to traditional forms of advertising, the costs associated with inbound strategies like search engine optimization and organic traffic are quite small.

Yet, businesses shouldn’t rush to eliminate their paid web advertising. Search ads and paid social media marketing are just two examples of how businesses may use digital marketing to reach and engage with their target demographics without breaking the bank.

To aid businesses in coming to this conclusion, advertising platforms are making significant efforts in this direction. Google has taken measures to prevent companies from cutting their advertising budgets by giving free ad credit to small and medium-sized enterprises.

With these free ad credits, small and medium-sized businesses will have an easier time continuing their existing campaigns on one of the most dependable digital advertising platforms available. For current users of the platform, Google credited $340 million in advertising funds. Only current advertisers can use these credits, but they provide an incentive to keep using sponsored ads.

The Return On Investment (ROI) from Advertising in Digital Media Is Solid

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There are several benefits to using tried and true digital marketing tactics. In terms of return on investment, they are well-established.

In fact, 23% of worldwide marketers say that paid search advertising (which includes classic PPC search engine advertising) provides the highest return on investment (ROI) of any marketing tactic they employ.

Thirty percent of respondents said they get the most out of outbound advertising throughout social media applications and sites, making social media ads even more effective.

This puts pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in a league of its own compared to other types of marketing, and it’s why popular search ad networks like Google boast that their clients may generate $2 in income for every $1 they spend on PPC.

Almost 20% of marketers claim that social media marketing provides the highest ROI.

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Marketing via social media appears to be a solid bet, as it is less vulnerable to the effects of economic downturns due to the nature of the medium.

Due to its high return on investment, paid digital marketing channels should be a company’s top priority even in a down economy. Furthermore, it is derived from data, the primary asset of sponsored marketing.

Professional marketers can use data to fine-tune their campaigns, make necessary adjustments, and zero in on the most receptive demographics.

Marketers may construct hyper-optimized campaigns with the assistance of ad platforms like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, Etsy, and more.

All of this data, which includes profitable keywords, search sessions, geography, demographics data, interests, occupation, gender, etc., makes digital advertising significantly more efficient during a downturn than conventional marketing tactics.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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