COVID-19 Impact

How the new COVID-19 is expected to impact businesses’ online advertising strategies and how you can get ready.


Most businesses have either already been impacted or will be in some way by COVID-19 and companies around the world are trying to measure the impact it may have on our professional activity. And Clever Ads is here to help!

This early on it’s difficult to predict all the changes and consequences that will come as a result of the WHO-declared pandemic, but I’ve put together some useful information on how businesses could potentially be impacted during these difficult times. 

You still have time to act promptly and minimize the overall impact of COVID-19 on your business: At the end of this post I’ve come up with some advice as to actions you can take on your marketing and advertising strategy!

In this article we’ll analyze the following key points:

  • How to get ready and quickly act on the COVID-19 impact through digital marketing and advertising.
  • Which industries will be impacted by COVID-19 the most and how to prepare for shifting consumer behavior.
  • Advertising Market Forecasts: How are Google and Facebook reacting to Coronavirus.


Take action in 8 steps: Get ready and quickly react to Coronavirus through your digital marketing and advertising strategies.

Be agile in your reaction to coronavirus! One of the quickest ways you can adapt to changes in your business environment is through marketing. In this specific moment, digital marketing could act as a safeguard against the consequences of the COVID-19.

Stopping all your marketing and advertising investments may not be the best solution now, but re-allocating budgets into online strategies could be your safeward and a way to explore some opportunities you hadn’t thought of before!

Most businesses already have some contact with online marketing strategies, but the fact that you are already marketing or advertising your business online doesn’t mean you can keep things as they were before coronavirus. Market changes will affect your online campaigns. Let’s take a look at some tips that might be interesting for making the most out of your online advertising strategies:


#1. First of all, re-evaluate and redo your acquisition strategies…

And take into account factors such as the fact that people are shopping online and that they may be tapping into new markets amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

You should be on top of how changing markets might affect or are already affecting your business. It’s the perfect time to give a try to Clever Ads free online tools for starting your advertising strategy quickly and for free.


#2. If you were already investing in paid online acquisition channels…

You should review your accounts and adjust the changing click and impression volumes to changing costs

To do so, closely check for drops in clicks or impressions in your advertising channels to find signals that something is happening. You’ll probably have to review your advertising accounts and make changes and improvements on a daily basis for prevent wasting money and anticipating drops in conversions.


#3. Pay special attention to search queries

Some businesses have seen they are getting queries related to coronavirus that aren’t good for your business. For instance some streaming businesses have found queries like “wuhan live streaming”. 

So, similarly with clicks and impressions, you should closely review the search queries your ads are appearing for, and update your negative keywords if needed.


#4. If you have a blog on your website, or run social media profiles, monitor comments within all your posts

There is a lot of misinformation being spread and certain fear-based comments can detract potential customers. This is something you should be already doing, but it’s worth it to make an extra effort now a lot of people are panicking.

#5. Effective and efficient communication is always key for maintaining and nurturing customer relationships

So in all cases, you should look to build trust with both your current and potential customers proactively, and even more so when changes are happening around you.

If your business is being somehow impacted by coronavirus, communicate changes via email, social media and through your website. Also, if your business is affected, update your Google My Business profile in terms of business hours and any additional information or changes in your description.

isabella stewart caption example

#6. Use ad copy extensions for reflecting any changes on your business due to coronavirus

In case you have any callout extensions displaying your business hours, remember to update them as well.  

#7. Keep your ads up to date with your stock

Now people are massively buying some products, and also supply chains might be affecting businesses stocks, you should update your ads if you are not currently selling something you were because of this shortage. For preventing that for happening you can temporarily exclude these products from your shopping campaigns.

#8.  If you have a brick-and-mortar business…

You might not have other option than adjusting your strategy by limiting your budget or pausing non-essential campaigns until the situation improves. You can focus on branded terms due to the higher quality traffic they receive. 

Especially for ecommerce and small businesses with smaller budgets, the reallocation of marketing and ad spend toward the most effective marketing periods could be essential for succeeding or even surviving COVID-19.


With the previous advice, you can start working on adjusting your marketing and advertising strategies for this new market environment. However, Coronavirus hasn’t impacted all industries and sectors in the same way. Let’s take a look at the industries with the greatest Coronavirus impact:

Coronavirus Impact on Industries and How to Minimize It. 

Travel Industry 

The travel industry and tourism sector, in general, will be one of the most affected due to the coronavirus and it’s rapidly changing each day. Many borders are closed and citizens are not only banned from carrying business abroad, but are even restricted from leaving their own homes – only allowed to leave their homes for groceries and first aid necessities.

Surprisingly, search terms related to air travel like “cheap flights right now” or “cheap flights coronavirus” have multiplied in the last month. How come if most people can’t travel “right now?”


coronavirus impact data
Cheap flights Search Interest Trends

In some cases flight related searches would be bad news for the industry as would be related to “refunds” or “cancelations,” with the same happening with hotels and other businesses related to the tourism sector. 

However, while a lot of people can’t travel right now, the interest in traveling in the future has increased notably now that airfare is low. A lot of travel related companies are experiencing a massive shift in their customer base between 2020 travel and 2021 travel. 

People still want to travel; they are just postponing it to when it’s safe to do it.  This means the travel industry should shift their focus on long term strategies in order to minimize the Coronavirus impact. 

Recommendations for the travel industry:

1/ Boost your advertising strategy for trips to countries or areas that are at low-risk and provide additional content and information about what trips and activities are still safe and why. Establish trust and justify it! 

2/ Revise your communication channels & ads, and direct your messaging to 2021, or the end of 2020: “Book your holidays for 2021 today”, “Flight offers for August”  or “2021 travel options available”. Most people aren’t totally cancelling their holidays and trips, just postponing them.

3/ Offer refundable options for free. If you offer flight tickets or hotel rooms at a refundable price, you’ll eliminate customers’ main pain point: the fear of losing money. 

If you focus your short-term marketing and advertising strategy on boosting your bookings in countries that are still safe, and your long-term strategy on designing attractive refundable deals for the end of this year and 2021, people will respond positively to these strategies. And most importantly, you’ll be able to partly minimize the impact of coronavirus on your business.

“Out of home” industry

Every business that’s not operating online and that needs people to move physically for being able to acquire or consume its products or services will be negatively impacted by the effects of the COVID-19. 

All these types of businesses must act fast and adapt into online ways of providing their products or services if possible. For instance, the education sector can start online classes through online platforms. The same with gyms and sports centers – it wouldn’t be difficult to record the lessons and make them available online, or even do them live. 

A lot of face-to-face events for instance have already been cancelled, but instead of that they can be rebuilt into webinars or online conferences. Lawyers, psychologists, consultants, all of them can meet their clients and provide their services online, at least temporarily. 

The key will be a quick adaptation, and all these new professionals working online should also start marketing and advertising their businesses online. There are easy-to-use free tools online that help businesses advertise on Google, like the ones on Clever Ads

These kinds of products are the easiest and cheapest way to start attracting customers online, Clever Ads even provides a Google Ads promo code for saving money in your first campaigns.

Ecommerce Industry

Not everything’s bad news! As Governments and global health agencies are encouraging and forcing the public to isolate themselves to prevent spreading coronavirus, people are increasingly shopping online. 

People have to stay at home but they still need their everyday products and ways to fill their time, so it’s time for ecommerce businesses to make extra efforts in their marketing and advertising strategies in order to attract new potential customers through Google Search and Shopping campaigns.

Experts expect to see an increase in ecommerce sales over the next few weeks and even months. So it makes sense to start advertising on Google or if you already do, increase your efforts to increase profit. 

Hygiene, medicine and cleaning products 

Every cloud has a silver lining. If your business is selling hand sanitizer, face masks or even toilet paper: good news also for you! Search interest for those kind of products has dramatically increased.

coronavirus impact businesses
Cleaning Product Search Interest Trends

Only a small part of businesses will benefit from this, so if you are one of them – congratulations, you are surviving the coronavirus!

How can all industries prepare for shifting consumer demands due to Coronavirus impact? 

Whether you are part of these industries or not, we’ve identified a few ways that businesses can prepare for shifting consumer behavior and demands derived from this new and unexpected scenario:

  • Manage stock levels & prevent out-of-stocks situations: Consumers in coronavirus affected markets are reacting by quickly stocking up on some health-safety products, as well as food and even toilet paper. Analyze how your business will be affected by these new consumer behaviors and prevent running out of stock, if you don’t provide consumers what they demand, they will switch to your competitors to get what they need.
  • The rush to stock up on these goods by consumers will have an almost immediate impact on supply chains. Virus-impacted countries will face logistical issues, so anticipate and review your home delivery networks.
  • Leverage technology! With millions of people working from home and people using the internet even more in their everyday habits, consumers will be more motivated than ever to seek technology-enabled solutions for all kind of everyday tasks, and for shopping. If you leverage your technologies by taking into account new changing consumer demands online, enhancing and improving consumer experiences with your online presence and enabling seamless interactions, you’ll have the opportunity to earn and increase the loyalty of your existing consumers, and to attract new ones!
  • Consumers want now more information and transparency than ever before. They want to understand the supply chain: where is the product coming from and which measures have been taken to assure their safety. This means that promoting a product’s local origins and being completely transparent about it might be helpful for assuage consumer concerns.

Apart from these generic measures, you can also start working on adapting your marketing and advertising strategies to this new situation!

Forecasts & Potential Coronavirus impact on Businesses and the Economy

Although we don’t know the scale of the Coronavirus impact on businesses yet, it’s clear at this point that we all have to get used to the idea that COVID-19 will negatively hit global ad spending by billions of dollars. 

But surprise! Despite the negative impact, ad spend is predicted to grow this year. Did you expect that? eMarketer predicts that global ad spend will still grow up to $691.7 billion, down from an earlier estimate of $712 billion. 

This decrease in ad spend due to the implications brought on by the Coronavirus makes sense, looking at how supply chains are impacted; as borders, business and stores are closing. In addition, people can’t leave their homes to go shopping, which leaves us asking… Why should companies continue advertising or marketing to consumers when they can’t get their products to the market?

Also, in terms of traditional advertising means: nobody will invest on billboards or public transit ads while people are staying at home. However, as people will still need to buy their daily products and find ways to fill their time, online advertising could prove to be key for those businesses that will increase their online presence.

For those businesses that will start marketing and advertising their websites online, or the ones that already are but are looking to increase their online focus, Clever Ads free online advertising products can help. 

In any case, the majority of advertising spend takes place in the latter half of the year due to holiday campaigns and product rollouts. So if the overall impact of coronavirus levels off soon, the entire advertising market could bounce back. 

In this period of uncertainty, let’s analyze how are Google and Facebook, big advertising platforms, responding to Coronavirus.

Big players in advertising react to Coronavirus impact: How are Google and Facebook approaching this new global scenario?

Both, Google and Facebook are making it easy for users to learn more about Coronavirus and everything related to the topic: its symptoms, prevention tips, vaccine information, travel advisories, data, etc. 

covid-19 facebook responsive screenshot example

Google and Facebook are also fighting against companies trying to exploit and take advantage of the situation. By taking proper action, these companies are removing any false information or content from their platforms claiming to prevent coronavirus, as well as blocking anyone running ads capitalizing on the coronavirus. They won’t even let any business advertise face masks, 

Google additionally blocked any data or information from its Google Ads keyword planner when you search for coronavirus related keywords.

How will this affect you? It won’t unless you are claiming to cure, prevent, or treat coronavirus in your ads. However, as we’ve seen in this article, the market will change depending on how the pandemic continues to develop over time.

Stay up to date

Most businesses are already feeling the effects and consequences of the virus, and staying up to date with information could be key for your business. 

As new patterns begin to emerge in response to COVID-19 consequences, it will be of utmost importance for companies to learn from them for sustaining growth. 

At Clever Ads, we will continue monitoring the situation and markets and their response to coronavirus consequences so we can keep you informed. We want to help every business deal with this situation, so expect more analysis in the coming days and weeks.




Laura Sanchez


Laura is a marketing product manager at Clever Ads & a habitual blogger for both Clever Ads and Clever ecommerce. As a digital marketer and advertising expert, she strides to face her fears while aiming for perfection. Don't hesitate to contact her on Twitter or LinkedIn to discuss topics regarding #marketing, #PPC, #SEO strategies or any other topics ❤️ She loves to chat!

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