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The pandemic is changing the way we use the Internet

A couple of weeks ago, we’ve talked about how the spread of the coronavirus is starting to change consumers' behavior. In particular, data show that individuals are likely to shift their consumption patterns and start to focus more on basic items – including food and health-related goods – while dropping their consumption of non-essential ones (such as luxury goods and travels). Even giants like Amazon are responding to the spike in demand for everyday items: the company is prioritizing the stocking of household and medical supplies and is looking to hire 100,000 extra workers. Moreover, because it doesn’t want to push too many people to its website and overload its supply chain, warehouses and logistics network; Amazon has reportedly cut back its Google Ads’ spending.

Google Trends

An interesting research published by Google has highlighted how the pandemic has changed research patterns and most searched words: For example, as outdoor activities are being restricted or prohibited, there has been a shift from the search for "restaurants" to "home delivery".Italians are spending a lot of time cooking and they’re looking for “how to make sourdough” and "homemade pizza".

Analysing these trends andunderstanding customers’ changing needs is essential to remain relevant in this unprecedented period. In fact, if businesses are fast to adapt, they could even enlarge their customers’ base and gain longer-term profitability.

Online platforms

As we practice social distancing, we don’t want to miss out on our beloved ones’: people are seeking ways to ‘feel close’ to one another and social media seem not to be enough! People want more than just chatting through messaging and text — they want to see each other. This has given a strong boost to video apps like Houseparty, which allows groups of friends to join a single video chat and play games together, or Skribbl, a multiplayer drawing and guessing game.

Now that a day may seem infinite, people have been looking for ways to spend their free time. For example, consumption of online streaming services has reached all time highs.

But the pandemic has also changed the way we use these service: while in the last few years, users of these services were mostly using their smartphones, now that we are all isolated at home, people appear to be remembering about their computers: Facebook, Netflix and YouTube have all seen a stagnation (if not a fall) in the users of their phone apps, whereas their websites have drastically increased.

Key Takeaways

As far as marketers are concerned, these trends provide an interesting roadmap to advertisers. For example, they could exploit Google Trends to understand which are the most sought for key words by their target customers, hence boosting their SEO and visibility. Alternatively, they could create content that is funny and engaging to drive interest in their social media pages and potentially enlarge their customer base. Also, given the increase in YouTube visits, brands have the opportunity to target their audience with ad-hoc advertising spaces.

In a nutshell, given that people are stuck at home and have much more free time, this might be the right occasion to develop a stronger bond with them, transitioning the business online and finding ways for long-term success. Being able to interpret consumers’ needs is pivotal for marketers. This is a necessary condition in any occasion, but especially in a situation of crisis and uncertainty like the one we’re experiencing now. Yet, what is even more important, is to recognize changes and being capable to promptly adapt.

Written by: Alexandra Pirovano

Edited by: Nicola Curci


“Amazon cut spending on Google advertising”, Bloomberg.com https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-17/amazon-cut-spending-on-google-advertising-in-recent-days

“Netflix Earnings: Has Coronavirus Created Opportunity?”, SimilarWeb.com, https://www.similarweb.com/corp/blog/netflix-earnings-has-coronavirus-created-opportunity/

“The Virus Changed the Way We Internet”, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/07/technology/coronavirus-internet-use.html

“How to Adapt Your YouTube Strategy During the COVID-19 Pandemic”, SearchEngineJournal.com,https://www.searchenginejournal.com/uplifting-youtube-content-covid-19-pandemic/359602/?ver=359602X2

Think with Google, google.com,https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/it-it/insight-ricerca-google-comprendere-le-esigenze-dei-consumatori-8-aprile-2020/

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