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Successful Online Strategies During Covid-19

During the unprecedented times of Covid-19, economic and business uncertainty has peaked at its highest point since the 2008 recession, both in B2B and B2C. One certainty that has become clear is that an online strategy, which minimises face to face communications within sales and operations, is essential.

A common reaction to this uncertainty has been to reduce marketing spends, as all non-essential costs have been cut. This, however, has not been the most effective method for all companies. Recent fluctuations in sales performance have been, very much, industry-dependent, with the most notable negative effects being observed within the tourism, automotive, and hospitality industries.

At Zelst, most of our eCommerce clients have benefited positively from this crisis, with customers left to shop for non-essential items through online channels. Our clients’ performances have been consistent throughout the ‘panic’ phase, therefore turning off campaigns completely would not have been the best strategy. What we have seen is an average ad spend increase of 108% over the past 2 months and a 79% growth in Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), compared to this time last year. Google Shopping campaigns have been the highlight when reviewing growth in ROAS, seeing a staggering 38.1% growth!

What are we expecting post-Covid-19?

We believe this pandemic will have shaken up businesses that have little to no online strategy and will force them to develop one if they are to ensure their own survival. Consumer confidence after a lift in restrictions is likely to improve gradually. Both organic and paid channels competition will only accelerate as time goes by, so scaling new and existing profitable campaigns without hesitation will allow clients to overcome new competitors before they become established.

PPC campaigns are proven to rapidly acquire new customers, therefore this is a likely approach that new businesses could take to grow their sales. The importance of collecting data to scale is now more essential than ever for our clients; keeping one step ahead during the next wave of competition.


What are the key PPC takeaways from this pandemic?

If campaigns are largely profitable, there is absolutely no need to dramatically reduce/stop ad spend in an uncertain situation unless you:

  • A – Cannot possibly meet the number of orders, so the ad spend should be adjusted to levels of orders your business can fulfill.

  • B – See a sharp decline in ROAS (Although instead of assuming, it’s safe to see this data with your own eyes). This can sometimes be industry-specific (travel industry during Covid etc.).

  • C – Do not have the cash reserves to proceed with the current ad spend.

Adapting an online marketing strategy correctly to deal with both positive and negative periods is the key to success. When online campaigns are making significant returns, scalability should be the focus to grow your business to help protect you from poorer market conditions. The ability to make data-driven decisions rather than emotional, irrational choices could be the difference in significant profit increases, and in extreme cases, survival.