The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of brands to revisit marketing budgets and goals for the year—and with good reason. Customers and clients have had their worlds turned upside down. If you’re lucky enough to still be in business because you offer something they need, you’ll want to adjust your strategy to account for swiftly changing consumer habits and behaviors.
After several weeks of helping our clients navigate this new marketing reality, we’ve seen one channel emerge as a winner: SEO.
If you’re a CMO or other financial marketer who is thinking about investing in SEO right now, here are 5 charts that help make the case:
Chart #1: Marketing budgets are decreasing
Source: Conductor, “The Impact of Covid-19 on Marketing”
A recent survey by Conductor found that 65% of CMOs expect their marketing budget to decrease given the developing situation with COVID-19.
Takeaway: With fewer marketing dollars to play with, we see CMOs looking to SEO as a low-cost, high-impact channel with the potential to speak directly to customers where they are right now—online.
Chart #2: Other marketing channels have become less viable
Obviously live events, out-of-home advertising and other in-person channels have essentially gone to zero while we all wait out shelter-in-place orders. But brands are also pulling back on “hard sell” digital marketing tactics in favor of using content marketing to support their audience during this time.
Takeaway: Brands are solving vs. selling right now. A great way to support your audience is to answer the questions they’re plugging into search engines each day.
Chart #3: People are spending more time online
Share of social media users in the United States who believe they will use select social media more if confined at home due to the coronavirus as of March 2020
According to Statista, people believe they’ll increase usage of blogs by 24.7% and YouTube by 63.7% while confined at home.
Takeaway: Since YouTube is the second largest search engine and Google is a key driver of blog traffic, SEO is an effective way to put your helpful content in front of a captive, homebound audience.
Chart #4: People are asking Google a lot of money questions
This one is obviously for our financial marketing audience, but this situation likely applies across many industries.
People’s financial worlds are getting rocked right now. They are dealing with unexpected situations ranging from sudden unemployment to small business crises to rollercoaster retirement portfolios. And they are turning to search engines to help navigate these sudden challenges—as you can see in the visual above, search volume for many financial terms has increased exponentially vs. last month.
Takeaway: Your audience has questions about money, and you have answers. Answering their questions through SEO-optimized content will help you build trust with people, but it will also help you genuinely support them through this time.
Chart #5: Brands are thinking long-term
SEO results take time. Ahrefs found that the average top 10 ranking page is two years old, while pages that rank in position 1 are almost three years old. Of course, results can vary based on a number of factors (competition, backlinks, optimization prowess)—but the upshot is the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll enjoy the benefits.
On the flipside, hard-won rankings can be lost in a hot minute if you don’t give SEO content proper care and feeding. Many of our clients have fought their way to the top of extremely competitive SERPs, and they don’t want to lose those rankings because of a few weeks or months of marketing indecision.
Takeaway: Many CMOs are reassessing marketing strategy to ensure it’s built to withstand this crisis and the period that follows. SEO is an investment that can pay off for years to come—if you put the time in to do it right.