coronavirus impact

How the COVID-19 Is Impacting Businesses’ Online Advertising Strategies and What to Do

Most businesses have either been impacted or in some way have been completely crippled by COVID-19. Companies around the world are trying to measure the impact it has had on our field. And Clever Ads is here to help!

We’ve put together some useful information on how businesses have been impacted during these difficult times. Coronavirus business repercusions here.

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

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

  • How to overcome the COVID-19 impact through digital marketing and advertising.
  • Which industries have been impacted by COVID-19 the most and how to prepare for shifting consumer behavior.
  • Advertising Market Forecasts: How are Google and Facebook reacting to the coronavirus.


Take action in 8 steps: quickly act back to the coronavirus through your digital marketing and advertising strategies

Be agile in your reaction to coronavirus! One of the strongest ways you can adapt to the changes in your business environment is through marketing. Right now digital marketing acts 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…

Take into account factors such as the fact that people are continuously shopping online and that they may be tapping into new markets amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

You should be on top of how changing markets are affecting your business. It’s the perfect time to give a try to Clever Ads online tools to revamp your strategy.

#2. If you’ve been 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 to 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 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 misleading information being spread and certain fear-based comments can dissuade 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

Given that some people were hoarding toilet paper in the beginning of the pandemic and consequently, supply chains were affecting businesses stocks –  you should update your ads if you are not currently selling something you were because of a potential shortage. To prevent that from happening you can temporarily exclude these products from your Shopping campaigns.

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

You might not have another 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 to overcome COVID-19.

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, is 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 out business abroad, but are even restricted from leaving their own homes – only allowed to leave their homes for groceries and first aid necessities still in some areas.

Surprisingly, search terms related to air travel like “cheap flights right now” or “cheap flights coronavirus” have recently multiplied. 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 “cancellations,” with the same happening with hotels and other businesses related to the tourism sector. 

However, while a lot of people still 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. Continue boosting 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 show 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 the holidays”  or “2021 travel options available”. Most people aren’t totally cancelling their vacation days and trips – just postponing them.
  3. Offer refundable options free of charge. If you offer airline tickets or hotel rooms at a refundable price, you’ll eliminate customers’ main pain point: the fear of losing money. These could also be given as a voucher so you don’t lose the money entirely.

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 requires people to move physically to be able to acquire or consume its products or services will be negatively impacted by the effects of COVID-19. 

If you haven’t made the switch already, you need to get online now. For instance, the education sector can start online classes via online platforms. The same with gyms and sport centers – it wouldn’t be difficult to record the lessons and make them available online, or even do them live. 

How to overcome cancellations of face-to-face classes: Host online conferences or webinars if it consists of them. Lawyers, psychologists, consultants, all of them can meet their clients and provide their services online, at least until further notice – and make sure your clientele is aware of this!

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! People are shopping – but online. 

People may still be staying at home or prefer buying their everyday products online, so it’s time for eCommerce businesses to give it their all with marketing and advertising strategies in order to attract new potential customers through Google Search and Shopping campaigns.

Experts have seen 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 with Google Ads automation tips.

Hygiene, medicine and cleaning products 

Hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves aren’t going anywhere for the time being. They are still in high demand.


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 will be able to stay safe while helping others!

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 have reacted 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 have an almost immediate impact on supply chains. Virus-impacted countries have faced logistical issues, so anticipate and review your home delivery networks continuously. 
  • Leverage technology! With millions of people still working from home and people using the Internet even more in their everyday lives, consumers will be more motivated than ever to seek technology-enabled solutions for all kinds 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 the new normal.

Forecasts & Potential Coronavirus impact on Businesses and the Economy

It’s clear at this point that we all have to get used to the idea that COVID-19 has negatively hit global ad spending by billions of dollars, which requires a lot of adaptation and hope on our part.

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 have been impacted around the world as borders, business and stores are closing. Why should companies continue advertising or marketing to consumers in in-person settings when they can’t get their products to the market or it might take additional time?

In terms of traditional advertising means: billboards are dying since people aren’t out and about around town. 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 online advertising products can help. 

In any case, the majority of advertising spend takes place in the later 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 COVID-19 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 still 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 making direct profit off of 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 play out.

Stay up to date

Most businesses have and will continue to feel the effects and consequences of the virus, and staying up to date with information could be key for your business: trends, keywords, and advertising rules on Google or Facebook.

Your business must learn to quickly mold to the situation at hand; if not, there could be dire consequences. Most of all, we must reiterate that transparency is key at this time.

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.



  1. Google and Facebook are also fighting against companies that are trying to exploit and take advantage of the situation. By taking appropriate action, these companies remove any false information or content from their platforms that claim to prevent coronavirus, as well as block anyone running ads that capitalize on coronavirus. Consumers will be more motivated than ever to seek technology-enabled solutions for all kinds of day-to-day tasks and shopping. If you leverage your technologies by taking into account new changing consumer demands online, by enhancing and improving consumer experience with your online presence, and by enabling seamless interactions, you will have the opportunity to earn and increase loyalty.

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