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  • April 7, 2020

3 Weeks In: What We’re Seeing in Terms of Shifts in Consumer Behavior

Let’s face it: life has undergone a significant change for virtually everyone around the world, as the novel coronavirus has forced us to morph from a world of togetherness to a world of social distancing. This has led to a shift in consumer behavior and Internet usage. After evaluating data across our portfolio of clients, we’ve noticed a few significant shifts and trends that are worth highlighting:

  1. The desktop is back. For nearly 3 years, we’ve seen major shifts with users transitioning to mobile devices to browse the web. Since the start of the global pandemic, however, we’re seeing that people are using their desktop computers more. It makes sense: as people work from home and are tethered to their home desks, it’s nice to use a big screen. So while mobile definitely needs to be a focus, and consumer behavior will likely shift back to mobile devices at an increased rate, for now, it’s worth paying attention to desktop. Consider increasing desktop bids on paid media campaigns, or even splitting out separate desktop campaigns to maximize their impression share to take advantage of the higher conversion rates that desktop tends to provide. Also, consider re-evaluating your efforts on desktop-centric platforms (such as Bing) to make sure you have proper coverage.
  2. Direct ads are working. Value propositions are great, but we’re finding that search and display ads that are direct and to the point are working better than brand-centric, value-proposition-heavy messages. Tell users what you’re offering, what restrictions there are (if any) on service, and what to expect. Save the value propositions and brand-heavy messaging for landing pages and for ads down the line. Consumers are confused and just want to know what to expect, so your ads at this stage should be designed to inform rather than to persuade.
  3. Landing pages should show empathy. Everybody is in a different situation than they were just a few short weeks ago. Ads that acknowledge the struggle that people are going through, and that offer help and reassurance are performing even better than they ever have in the past. Consider showing images of your team/staff, in the new paradigm of working from home. Remember, one of the golden rules of conversion is that people buy from people — not from websites. So anything you can do to show the human connection, which people are sorely lacking at this time as social distancing keeps us apart, should resonate well.

The unfortunate reality is that people are being forced to adjust to a new normal. Smart marketers, however, will anticipate this and adapt with them — and come out stronger on the other side as life gets back to normal.

Illustration by Dana Pavlichko

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