Coronavirus in the Digital World

Coronavirus is spreading across the globe at an alarming rate, constantly dominating the news with continual discussion and speculation. It is affecting all walks of life on every continent, bringing truth to the term global pandemic. While COVID-19 continues to ignite fear in individuals, it is also causing major doubt and disruption to various businesses across the board. Companies of all sizes in the retail, travel and hospitality space are hurting greatly from this global outbreak and will only continue to feel its effects. This crisis has forced companies to assess plans for the future and analyze their financing planning, including the digital world.  

The Outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak is taking a profound toll on the U.S. economy, prompting travel cancelations, hundreds of layoffs and declining stock trends.  The epidemic will also have a chilling effect on a year that was forecast to see great media investments, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other opportunities unique to the digital age. Since the start of the outbreak, online publishers have noted that COVID-19 has started to impact ad revenues, CPC rates, and budgets on multiple platforms. Uncertainty is at an all-time high, and as people fear losing jobs, they typically scale back spending even more, which has a ripple effect on the economy down to the local level.

“While it is far too early to anticipate outcomes with any precision, the implied double-digit declines in ad spending within China for the first quarter could play out elsewhere, with reduced declines in subsequent quarters and an eventual reversion back to growth as we have seen following other recessions,” according to Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence for GroupM, WPP’s media agency.

The Uncertainty

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has businesses of all types on edge, however, not all companies are using  budget-cutting as the answer. While airlines, hotels, travel agencies and event companies are suffering it leaves opportunity for businesses to promote sales through other avenues. As the event circuit declines, exhibitors are looking for other ways to boost sales through online shows and event campaigns. Many businesses in travel are raising rather than pulling digital budgets. With growth prospects for the year, smaller companies are increasing paid advertising budgets to gain an edge on the big travel companies. Brian Wieser states:

“Of course, marketers able to avoid making cuts will generally fare better given what will likely be relatively favorable pricing and reduced competition for consumer attention. Longer-term brand-building will benefit from a sustained media presence, albeit with appropriately modified messaging.”

As coronavirus continues to affect people around the globe, the digital space will not remain unscathed. While uncertainty is high,  having a game plan for your business will improve brand longevity months after the coronavirus fades. At Red Shark Digital in Greenville NC, marketing efforts will be dynamic as the space for advertising during this epidemic is constantly changing. Marketers should prepare for this situation to avoid seeing their media strategy and campaigns completely disheveled by COVID-19.