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COVID-19 has impacted the economy unprecedentedly. In the wake of economic turbulence from the impact of this viral pandemic, marketers are anticipating lower budget and higher goals for businesses. At the same time, traditional brick and mortar businesses are also forced to adapt to a drastic digital shift following the new norm of social distancing. To study the impact of COVID-19 on marketing and what to expect in the near future, SEO and content technology company, Conductor has conducted a North American survey that involves experts in the areas of Content, Search and Digital Marketing. 

This survey had 317 respondents in these primary sectors: B2B (24%), Retail (12%), Healthcare (11%), Media (10%). The remaining 43% were distributed across travel and hospitality, consumer technology, financial services, insurance, automotive, e-commerce-only, manufacturing and other industries.

From this survey, it is found that 65% of marketers anticipate a decrease in their annual marketing budget, while 86% predict that marketing goals will be harder to reach from here onwards. While decreased budget is currently most marketers’ top concern, staff cuts and channel limitations have also become the top perceived threats to marketing performance.

In the face of these challenges, more and more marketers are turning to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), believing it to be a more important tool of marketing during this unprecedented time. At the same time, marketers are also gearing up to cut back on high-cost areas, such as paid media advertising and inessential headcount. 

In the time of global recession, the survey shows that one-third of marketers would choose to skimp on high-cost advertising and, in turn, increase their investment in low-cost channels, such as SEO. 65% of marketers also predict that SEO will become increasingly important during this time — something that is also corroborated by Google when it demonstrates a rise in searches for “SEO”.
On top of that, 66% of marketers also report that SEO was a top-performing channel in 2019, alongside Email Marketing and Content Marketing.

As a conclusion, the coming months are expected to see marketers reducing their overall spending while increasing their investment in low-cost/high-ROI channels like SEO. Forester has estimated that spending US$1.3 million on organic search can give an organisation an equivalent value to spending US$12 million on advertising placements.

In the future, companies will turn to digital content for brand building. According to prior research, consumers are also 131% more likely to immediately buy from a brand after they consume early-stage, educational content. 65% of consumers also feel that a brand is more trustworthy after reading a piece of educational content from the brand. Soon, SEO will also be moved in-house in order to cut costly agency retainers. In the coming months, more and more companies will start to manage their SEO internally. 

If you are a company in the midst of embracing this digital shift and keen to know more about SEO and how it can work for you, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve your marketing goals against all odds.

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