Research Finds That Video Is Key Differentiator During COVID-19 Crisis

As businesses across the globe continue to adapt to today’s unprecedented business landscape, many are looking to China’s experience for insight.

As the first country to experience the COVID-19 outbreak, China has been several weeks ahead of most of the rest of the globe throughout this crisis. They’ve had advanced reflections on how to contain and manage the virus and how businesses fare as they try to adjust.

Gartner, a widely-trusted global research firm, is beginning to release reports that analyze and reflect on the evolving situation in China. One such report, entitled “How the COVID-19 Coronavirus Has Changed the B2C Marketing Approach in China and What Western Brands Can Learn,” is especially relevant to marketers—and video marketing, specifically. 

A key theme throughout the report’s findings is that video is critical for brands that want to continue to engage with audiences throughout this pandemic. That being said, we understand that now is not the right time for many businesses to allocate resources to video production, so this is by no means an encouragement to pursue video if that’s not a priority for your brand. 

Rather, our company is facing the same challenges that most of yours are facing in terms of understanding how consumer behavior is shifting and how that affects tried-and-true marketing efforts. We’re learning alongside you about which efforts to maintain and which to replace, and wanted to distribute this research to enhance our collective understanding of how various marketing tactics are evolving—including video.

The influx of video content throughout this pandemic stems from the fact that captive online audiences generate demand for new content. Gartner found that time spent online in China increased 20% between January and February. Western countries are now likely to see similar increases as social distancing measures and stay-at-home mandates contain more consumers indoors. 

The question then becomes, “How do we engage with those online audiences?” Here, the report is especially valuable, as this concept is one that many marketers in the US and elsewhere have been grappling with for weeks. 

Gartner’s data points toward video as one solution: “As a source of entertainment and information, online video content creation will be a differentiator for Western brands during a crisis.” This includes both pre-recorded video content and live streaming, which Gartner suggests will endure the pandemic landscape to become a long-term staple of sales content even after this crisis is behind us. 

Ultimately, we’re all facing the same challenge in terms of adapting long-term marketing strategies to reflect today’s reality. Gartner’s findings are by no means an end-all-be-all solution, but the research-backed takeaways certainly carry more weight for many marketers than the thought pieces and “gut instinct” reactions that seem to be dominating the conversation. 

Throughout these times, we are monitoring the marketing landscape—making sure to prioritize research reports that are backed by reputable data—and will continue to share new findings as they arise.