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As you all know, Coronavirus spreads rapidly while affecting almost every country in the world. At this point, it has not only affected the stock market and tourism but also impacted the marketing and media field while consistently dominating headlines on the web. It has particularly affected the advertising field while cutting the ad costs of major big brands. Many field specialists say, that if the virus keeps spreading further, it’ll surely affect the ad spending globally, especially for those brands and companies that provide products & services needed for the people at home.
So, if you have a food delivery company or an online clothing shop, then you’re lucky, cause now it’s your time to shine. Now back to our topic, in this blog, we’re going to talk about how the Coronavirus impacts marketing and media while discussing its possible future causes. With that being said, put away your masks and antibacterial wipes and let’s start our discussion.
First of all, with the rise of the Coronavirus, the number of keywords and searches on the web increased immensely around the world. According to the report released by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, around 516 COVID-19 related keyword combinations were found censored on China’s most popular messaging app – WeChat between January 1 and February 15, 2020. These keyword combinations include texts in simplified and traditional Chinese, discussions of responses to the outbreak, references to the disease and much more.
Now let’s look back at the statistics from Google trends. If you thought that the Coronavirus keyword trend started in 2019, then you’re probably wrong because the first trending wave was found in 2013. Actually, plenty of ‘Coronavirus’ keyword searches were done, from locations like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and several more. So, we can confidently say that this is now the first time that this was a trend on Google. With that being said, like in 2013, Coronavirus keyword started trending from late January of this year, and it still continues trending on Google. In fact, the last trending wave of this keyword can be seen on Google trends, according to which the keyword reached its peak of searches from March 8-14, particularly in Italy, where the situation is just getting worse. Overall, as you can see, COVID-19 searches continue growing, and there’s no sign of them going down in the near future.
With the outbreak of Coronavirus, misinformation and fake news were spreading just as fast as the virus itself and one of the biggest misunderstandings was about the virus itself. In case you didn’t know or didn’t know correctly, Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Meanwhile, COVID-19 or novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that hasn’t been previously identified in humans. Before the official definition by WHO, people had various speculations about the name and the virus. After this, unverified conspiracy theories like the theory about the Mexican Corona beer started to go viral on the web, which was followed by the spread of false treatment products like different gels, oils, etc.
Moreover, with the rapid spread of Coronavirus, more fake news was found, which created additional confusion and panic. Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) and several other government organizations started to urge giant tech companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft to take strict actions against the spread of misinformation and fake news on Coronavirus. As a result, most of the social media platforms took steps on banning fake news and preventing the rise of misinformation on the internet. In addition to that, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram now help users find accurate information on COVID-19 by directing them to authorized sources like (WHO) and (CDC).
Another considerable impact of the Coronavirus outbreak is the reduction of advertising budgets. Between increasing Coronavirus cases, widespread travel restrictions and various event cancellations, the global advertising industry is struggling with getting the expected revenues in this quarter. Last week, industry analysts found evidence of lower spending in fields like travel, retail, entertainment and several more, all of which estimate about 30%-45% of Facebook’s total revenue. What is more, the World Advertising Research Center said that if the virus outbreak keeps rising, the advertising spend would fall or be delayed until later this year. A similar prediction came from a British channel ITV, which forecasts at least 10% of advertising drop for their company. In fact, ITV mentioned that they already see a decline in advertising revenues compared to the expected growth of 3.3%. These are only some of the examples that demonstrate the influence of Coronavirus on advertising revenues. While many industry experts expect to see more disruption in ad budgets, the overall impact can only be evaluated after the virus’s withdrawal.
The next major cause of the Coronavirus outbreak is the cancellation of big events including Facebooks’s annual F8 conference, Google I/O 2020, Adobe’s annual summit, South by Southwest (SXSW) and many more. All the event planners, from major concerts and conferences to small community events, are facing a hard time deciding whether to cancel the event or find alternative ways to make them happen. In fact, one of the most important events of this year, the Olympic Games in Tokyo are also under the risk of cancellation; however, there is no final decision about it yet. Overall, the situation with events is pretty upsetting; however, many companies do their best to find alternative ways like doing live streams or other online tools to make things work at least to a certain extent. In any case, it’s obvious the Coronavirus has hit particularly hard on important public events of this year, and all this also results in a reduction of advertising costs.
As we’ve already talked about event cancellations and alternative online options like live streams; it’s time to discuss the role of online media in all this Coronavirus outbreak and vice versa. As we mentioned, some event planners consider live streams as a possible alternative, while universities shift to webinars to ensure the safety of the staff. Besides, in countries where the situation is pretty alarming, people heavily rely on online shops and delivery companies to buy products of everyday use. As a result, many retailers globally see a boost in online shopping. Moreover, as people are stuck at home or in hospital, they consume more online content more than ever. Many streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon prime are considered to see an increase in performance due to COVID-19 concerns. Other than online streaming, traditional media also sees a boost. Surprisingly, TV viewership also grew during the last few months, especially in China, where the number of infections is one of the highest in the world.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the major causes and impacts of Coronavirus on media and marketing, it’s time to summarize and finish our discussion. So, first and foremost, we can easily say that Coronavirus nowadays dominates most headlines on social media even if they are not authorized or fake. This way, the number of searches grows immensely every second, so does the panic. Besides, with the Coronavirus outbreak, we have seen a cancellation of many big events and viral closure of companies, schools, and other organizations. And lastly, despite most of the negative impacts, some media aspects like TV, online streaming and shopping actually benefited in some way.