Coronavirus & 米6体育直播nba: Its Impact and the actions to Take as an 米6体育直播nba Specialist – #CrawlingMondays 25th Episode

Learn about the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the organic search traffic across many industries and countries, what you can do as an 米6体育直播nba specialist, and the good and bad we’ve seen in company reactions, in this conversation with Nitin Machanda , Global Head of 米6体育直播nba at Omio; David Iwanow , Global Search & Traffic Manager at Danone; Gianluca Fiorelli , International 米6体育直播nba Consultant:

  • 1:40 What’s the impact of Coronavirus for 米6体育直播nba
  • 9:29 What are the positive and negative actions that companies have taken
  • 22:31 What can we expect in the future & last tips for 米6体育直播nba businesses

Watch it here:

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Video Transcription

Aleyda:
Welcome to another special edition of Crawling Mondays. In today’s edition, I wanted to take the opportunity that I am talking lately with, meeting with Gianluca, with David. And we are all, whether in-house or consultants, working across different sectors as 米6体育直播nbas. So I wanted to start this conversation with them about what we are seeing about the impact of coronavirus across our different types of companies that we work with, and on the other hand, how we are handling, how we are focusing our work in order to keep the clients, in order to work if we see a negative situation or a negative trend. So, hopefully, this can also be helpful for many of you.

Aleyda:
But before that, I wanted to introduce, in case you don’t know them somehow, Gianluca Fiorelli, who is an international 米6体育直播nba consultant, who has tons of experience in the travel market, especially in Italy. He’s based in Spain, but has a lot of clients in Italy.

Aleyda:
Then David Iwanow, he works at Danone as an in-house 米6体育直播nba, and also has tons of experience as an in-house 米6体育直播nba across many international classifieds, marketplaces as well websites. And Nitin Machanda who is in Berlin, he has worked a lot also in the travel industry in the past, in the eCommerce industry, and now is working at all Omio as an in-house 米6体育直播nba. So hello everybody. How are you?

Aleyda:
We have already been in lockdown in many countries for two weeks, and since the start of Coronavirus lock downs and restrictions started already two weeks and a half ago. So, it’s true that at the beginning the very obvious negative effects started to happen with the travel sector, travel industry, people canceling the plans. I have a client website, the one travel client that I had that saw huge spark traffic, not in rankings, but in traffic. This was people canceling, that went down after a few days. And now even if the rankings are still the same, realistically, the traffic has never been, unfortunately, so low. What are the impact that you are seeing directly in the industries that you work? If you can share more about it, what you are seeing in general?

Nitin Machanda:
Absolutely. I think I can start because we are talking about travel, and I work in that industry only. And for us it started happening after the third week of February, more or less. And in the beginning we were seeing 20, 25% week-over-week drop, and now the business is down 95%. So this is a huge dent, and I think travel is one of the most affected industries due to this corona situation.

Aleyda:
In your case, you provided the option that the users went ahead and directly canceled their bookings, or how did you manage that?

Nitin Machanda:
Yes, absolutely. For us, customer is very important. Every user we want to, just, when we get a user, we want to keep this user forever. So for that, we wanted to basically solve [inaudible 00:02:43] issues they experience, even in this situation. So we have a landing page where we have all the providers so you can speak with them for cancellations, and if they don’t provide cancellation, they don’t help you, then we help you there, so that’s what we do.

Nitin Machanda:
And then, in fact, interestingly here in our company, a lot of different teams are now helping customer support, even from 米6体育直播nba team, the people who are joining customer support for helping with emails and other stuff, there they can help, where everyone is now customer support and helping users with good user experience, even in this situation, so that when demand is back again, they come back to Omio because of this lovely experience. And then they stay with us forever.

Aleyda:
In your case, Gianluca, you have the clients also in Italy.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
I have two clients. One is still active, one put me on hold because of the situation. One of these clients is a small OTA, let’s say, they specialize on a specific region, very touristic region of Italy like Sardinia, like Puglia. The impact was terrifying in the sense that in Italy they start really in February, all of the negative impact of COVID.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
If we look at the traffic over here, a percentage of decrease, especially in [inaudible 00:03:58] profit is, essentially, the same percentage [inaudible 00:04:03]. It’s around between 80, 90% of traffic, which is terrifying because, as you were saying too, their ranking never were so wonderful. In a normal structure this would have been a really nice start of summer season.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
However, not get too much depressed looking at the year-over-year statistics, I started to look more on week-over-week statistics in order to see search behavior changes. And in this sense, I started to see something positive, especially week-over-week.

Aleyda:
Seems that it’s reached a bottom already, and is starting to increase little-by-little.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
Exactly. This is the case of this OTA which is substantially selling vacation. And finally another client in the insurance sector, and they are still growing year-over-year and still growing week-over-week.

David Iwanow:
I guess I’m in a different position because we actually manufacture products, so we obviously do see an increase in people looking for our products, typically because people are shifting to more online commerce. But, again, it’s not consistent across all markets, and usually it comes down to how advanced they are in e-commerce. Some markets see reasonable uplifts, and others seem moderate. So it’s not a sort of perfect thing where everyone sees the same type of uplift.

David Iwanow:
The one of the things which I am seeing, and I’ve got a couple of travel websites which are probably a bit shitty when it comes to it. I’ve managed to get some optimization around coronavirus content, and a lot of it was around people just needing information.

Aleyda:
It’s interesting what you mentioned regarding you’ve seen still a good trend in your sector, and it makes sense because you work with a food and first necessity type of product. We all still need to keep eating, and this is what I saw, it was sure, and it’s completely reasonable. It starts with a negative trend of those sectors that were more connected with us coming together, the events, for example, websites like Meetups or ever Everbright or this type of websites, not only the travel ones, but the concerts. We can all expect to see a decrease in traffic because, realistically, we cannot go anywhere together, unfortunately.

Aleyda:
But now beyond those more [inaudible 00:06:26] sectors is about we are stuck at home, we are working, so we start consuming, and we see data that has been shared from some [inaudible 00:06:35] from similar web about peak in traffic, online communication software, collaboration software, project management software that is cloud-based, of course, because we need to work online. And many companies have been pushed to work completely from home to keep going.

Aleyda:
But then, on the other hand, we are also seeing those sectors that are not a first necessity that have had also a negative impact because, of course, if a lot of people have been laid off, a lot of people have [inaudible 00:07:03]. They don’t know what is going to happen to their jobs in the midterm. They are not continually consuming. So, for example, eCommerce websites that I have access to, a luxury type of brand or places, we can see that the traffic is not as down as many in the travel sector, indeed. But we can see that people have stopped consuming as much. They are not thinking right now on buying new dishes.

David Iwanow:
It does depend on the vertical. So I know we saw like the demand for toilet paper massively spike through the roof.

Aleyda:
Of course, first necessity, though.

David Iwanow:
But even things such as like home gyms. So I know in the UK with a lot of people seeing two-to-three months delivery timeframes now.

Aleyda:
Sure, indeed.

David Iwanow:
In the Netherlands we’re seeing one week, two weeks, but now a lot of the gym equipment in Netherlands is now sold out because people are building home gyms.

Aleyda:
Also in electronics, for example, the game system, the switches or-

David Iwanow:
Webcam.

Aleyda:
Yeah, indeed. In electronics, it did. It depends on the vertical of the eCommerce, what they sell. But in, general, if it is not first necessity and those systems that will keep us entertained, also streaming services, those that will allow us to keep entertained. So, for example, in my case, what I was referring more was like, for example, for clothing or backpacks or shoes. I think that nobody’s thinking right now of buy clothes to go to parties, for example.

David Iwanow:
So here’s a fun thing, and I had a bit of a rant on Twitter about this. So I bought a pair of sunglasses from Vision Express in the UK, and I’ve got a warranty on them, but I need to visit their store physically in London in order to do my warranty. I can’t do anything online. Versus I went to one of the retailers in the U.S., Glasses USA, they managed to manufacture and ship them to my house in under six days.

David Iwanow:
I think it’s the fact that there’s obviously going to be a shift in demand, but I think a lot of the times if the retailers don’t have the ability to adapt and don’t have the content such as, “Do we still do delivery?” So I think the problem is some of these retailers that could survive, and again, I’m moving to tactics, but if you’re already are locking up those channels and refusing to deal with consumers and saying, “Look, sorry, it’s a bit too busy. We’re just not answering any social media questions anymore,” you’re basically cutting your throat. So I think there are businesses that will choose to adapt.

Aleyda:
Let’s talk about that. What are the goods and bad’s, but the ones that we are seeing that are being dealt in a positive and a negative way? Nitin, how would you are trying to work around this?

Nitin Machanda:
The good thing for us is 米6体育直播nba is a channel which can also survive in this kind of situation because it’s a midterm to longterm solution, and here you’re not talking about only low-hanging fruits. So for us it was a strategy change. And whenever we plan our quarters, we plan a good mix of shot-term events, medium-term and longterm events.

Nitin Machanda:
And here in this case what we did was, so we removed most of the low-hanging fruits for now. So we are focusing more on mid-term and then longterm solutions. For example, site speed, it’s a very good topic. So we’re working on that, and then internal linking. So we are fixing the entire internal linking system that we have and similar initiatives. That’s one thing on a strategic side.

Nitin Machanda:
And then we’re also planning to save some cash because this is a situation where we don’t want to burn all the cash. And we keep some budget for testing tools all the time. So we have stopped all those initiatives. We are not testing new tools anymore. And we also plan to have some upgrades, tool upgrades. We have stopped that as well because right now I think we can survive it with whatever we have. So we do not need upgrades, so we are not doing that.

Nitin Machanda:
And then we were also doing some really expensive outreach campaigns for generating some high-quality back links organically. So we have stopped all those campaigns as well. For example, viewer content only, it’s not happening, so we save a lot of money there. And there are other initiatives we are working on, so we have solved all those initiatives and saved a lot of money.

Nitin Machanda:
And then we were also working with some freelancers or consultants on some fancy-to-have things, not like basics, fancy-to-have things. So, basics, we are definitely working in-house, and all these fancy-to-have things are kind of on hold for now.

Aleyda:
It makes sense.

Nitin Machanda:
So that’s how we are saving some money and focusing on a long-term initiative. [crosstalk 00:11:14].

Aleyda:
So you have gone back to the fundamental, the structural, evergreen type of areas that you know that were there the whole time, and now you have a little bit of more resources to focus on those.

Nitin Machanda:
If I generalize all this, I would say 米6体育直播nba is a marathon. It’s not a sprint, and you should think about it as one bad phase of your marathon. So just save your energy, run a bit slow, and then use the synergy in the next phases, and then win, essentially.

Aleyda:
Makes sense.

Nitin Machanda:
So that’s what we are focusing on at the moment.

Aleyda:
I love that metaphor, 米6体育直播nba is actually a marathon, and it should be like this. Actually, we are very lucky in 米6体育直播nba because, yes, of course we have been hurt, but I can’t imagine the professionals that are consultants or agency focusing only on paid search because, realistically, what I have seen with a couple of clients of mine is that, of course, they have stopped all of their paid search initiative because they won’t to pay for clicks that are coming to their site to cancel their bookings.

Nitin Machanda:
Exactly.

Aleyda:
And often instead of doing that, they are putting a little bit more efforts to invest, for example, the FAQ area, the support section or content that was there, was informational, and sometimes was not given the weight that it deserved. But now with all of the queries or the searches about canceling, rebooking, changing dates, reputational type of queries regarding their brand plus cancellation support, et cetera, they want to run for those in order to fulfill those needs to address the question of the users and be able to, hopefully, regain the user, keep the user providing alternatives.

Aleyda:
So that is what, for example, in my case I had been working with a client that I have in the travel sector to identify those queries, coming and Google trends that are not found in the typical keyword tools that are basis, but need to be identified by using Google trends to see what are the actual queries that are starting to be asked right now regarding their [crosstalk 00:13:04]-

Nitin Machanda:
A rising one.

Aleyda:
… their service. Indeed, the rising ones in general, not only the branded ones, for example, when are cruises are working again? When are we expecting this industry to come back normal? When I can travel back to this location? Gianluca, what are you doing and what you have seen good and bad?

Gianluca Fiorelli:
My situation is a little bit different because it is not such a big client, they are smaller. All the cost contention that Nitin was saying, this client totally quit all their PPC spend. They reduce the number of [inaudible 00:13:34]. They had some people internally, so internal developers, internal writers that they tried to reduce, people like me who are external consultant asking me to directly go home [inaudible 00:13:50]. But it’s understandable.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
What I have seen and for them, maybe they were quite smart to react very soon. So offering every kind of facility to the clients, [inaudible 00:14:03] if they wanted to cancel. They especially used the Facebook channel for this. Really using a lot of their homepage on Facebook in order to do answer all these kind of questions. And what do we did was substantially recollecting all these questions and creating a specific FAQ page for answering all of these question in order to be totally transparent and be able to offer the client to receive his answer.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
And we did it also with really presenting this page from the homepage banner where we were putting a wonderful image of a Sardinia beach, there was now this banner of, “For every question click here.” Also, we have a tone of voice which is more empathetic with the clients, not just selling it. So doing so, we are starting to see an increase, obviously, not year-over-year, but an increase in week-over-week.

Aleyda:
That is interesting because what I have seen, like the good practices you were referring before, like terrible reactions of companies, like disabling their websites completely. Even Google had to publish a few days ago their best practices when closing your website to conversions to clients temporarily without actually hurting your rankings in the long term because we were seeing cases of websites completely shutting down [inaudible 00:15:31], things like that. Like, “No, don’t do that.” We know how to handle this by whether disabling the shopping cart, explaining the situation giving an option to the user to register, to be alerted when the service comes back to normal. Indeed, as you mentioned, Gianluca, to do synergy in this case to be able to give a good customer support [crosstalk 00:15:50].

Gianluca Fiorelli:
I have another thing on the commercial side, the uncertainty is what is hitting the brain of the people. Obviously, they cannot do last minute [inaudible 00:15:58]. They can’t go out of their home. But they cannot eventually think, “Okay, when we’ll be able to travel again?”

Gianluca Fiorelli:
So what do we are pushing and, especially, always kind of offer, which is reserve now for September with all the guarantees. Filling reservation in the long period in order to have it, hopefully, this restoration transform in real bookings. Then eventually driving leads and conversions of these longterm reservation because it is the only really commercial things that can eventually some fresh money, in this case, in terms of commission from the leads for the clients.

Aleyda:
In deed, for the future, that targets the more informational queries that are arising, identified them on time to tackle them in a good way like, “When I can start consuming again this product?” And even if right now you don’t have an answer to that, you explain what is the current situation, what are the concern and, again, you tell the user to please reduce [inaudible 00:17:10] so you can be alert when we are back to normal.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
Exactly.

Aleyda:
And also I think that is a really good opportunity to show the vision and the mission and how the brand and the company and the organization is committed with the community. I think that these times are the ones that show the actual character, not only of people, but organizations.

David Iwanow:
I think it’s the case that a lot of people put their head in the sand, and then when things return in three to six months they’re going to struggle because I think if you’re shutting the world down, you’re not responding to any questions on social media. These people, you’ve built a relationship and a brand with them, now you’ve kind of them out.

David Iwanow:
I know Facebook said traffic to their apps is up 70%, so thinking outside of 米6体育直播nba, what can you do on social media? So while you may not be able to travel to these particular spots in Italy, why don’t you do a daily broadcast, what’s happening? Do cooking recipes, start creating content, which is very specific to your region or your town and your brand. So I think it’s a fact that you probably need to look at doubling-down on social because that’s where a lot of people are spending their time.

David Iwanow:
While I think 米6体育直播nba is important, and I said it’s the basics, I’m still running 米6体育直播nba audits in all my markets because I want them to fix their stuff. And, again, because I work with 50 markets around the world, what’s happening in Europe is different, what’s happening in America, what’s happening in Asia, or what’s happening in South America.

David Iwanow:
So I think you very much need to make sure there’s business as usual. Stop the bells and whistles. You maybe don’t need that progressive web app for now. You maybe need to make sure the website is stable and loads quickly on mobile devices. But I think in Italy they’re actually starting to see a spike in desktop traffic as more people are working from home and they’ve stopped using their mobile, and they’re actually using their desktop now.

David Iwanow:
So I think it’s very much about going to where your consumers are, making sure you have some type of social content strategy. And if you’re doing any, I guess, automated emails, please just stop them. I got an email from a real estate agent last night saying, “It’s a great time to buy a house.” Dude, no not cool. You need to look at some of your automation that you’ve got that you’re sending out to your customers, and make sure it’s done tactfully.

David Iwanow:
If you’re doing any paid media, rein it back, focus purely on stuff which is driving revenue for business. While it might be great to buy traffic for the ultimate packing guide or 10 walking trips in Italy, if you don’t actually make money on that particular task, stop all that activity. So focus on the basics, fix the site issues, make it fast on mobile, have some activation on social.

David Iwanow:
Don’t buy coronavirus keywords, please, just don’t, unless you’re a government body, or, as Gianluca says, you’re in the telecommunication space saying, “If you need more bandwidth,” but be very, very tactful about this, and just dial everything back. Have some compassion because if you’re having markets like in Italy where, currently, it’s almost 12% mortality rate. Consider a lot of those people may have lost several family members by the end of this crisis, so dial the stuff down, show some empathy.

Aleyda:
Empathy, I think, is very important word in this case.

David Iwanow:
If you’re working with suppliers and you have the cashflow now, please pay them. Don’t drag things out for 90-to-120 days. If you can, work with your internal teams. If you have the finances, pay your suppliers because you might be the difference between keeping the business open or not.

David Iwanow:
If you have projects planned, and you have the budget still available, push ahead with those projects because again, there’s going to be people which are going to depend on this for their livelihood. But it can be the situation you can negotiate some of these suppliers.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
I think what I’m learning from these crises is that is, if you are an 米6体育直播nba consultant, it’s fundamental for you to diversify your client portfolio because in the last years we started seeing 米6体育直播nba specializing in a specific niche, automotive, travel, finance and the home. Let’s imagine our colleagues, 米6体育直播nba freelancer or consultant or whatever, were specialized only on travel, well, now they are screwed.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
So I was lucky enough to build a diverse portfolio client so I can allow myself to plan a capital event, the travel ones, for instance, put them on hole in order to maintain the relationship and hoping to start to restart a paid relationship, hopefully, in the next future. But, thanks to this diversified portfolio, I can have these, for instance, B-to-B, investor, essentially, industry companies that are still working, they still need me.

David Iwanow:
So to finish a little bit today’s Crawling Monday, I want you to leave a final message regarding the current situation, the scenario, what we can expect, you think, to see in the future, and one last message to help us to come up stronger as 米6体育直播nbas, whether in-house or consultants.

Nitin Machanda:
So I would think about only the positive sides of it because there are things, for example, traffic is going down continuously. Demand is completely crashed. So these are things that you cannot control. So thinking about the things which you can control, which is utilizing this time. So think about learning from a different source too. There a lot of sources which are available now and offering their courses for free. So just sign up and then start learning.

Nitin Machanda:
And then on strategic side, for example, if you see the pattern, China has started domestic travel again in some states there, and then that’s happening. So Gianluca also mentioned about traffic going up week-over-week in Italy as well. So this shows that local trend is starting to pick up again, and then, gradually, maybe in future three, four months you will see a lot of people traveling again, but domestic, most of them, so with domestic travel.

Nitin Machanda:
So think about this, if you’re in travel, maybe you can strategize around these learnings, and then focus more on your domestic routes. For example, for Omio, and maybe not put that much focus on international routes for now because the market is moving there.

Nitin Machanda:
So I’m based in Berlin, Germany, and the summer is the peak period for us for travel. So we are just a couple of months away from that, so if we expect domestic travel only the summer, then why not focus on that, and pause our international routes it’s for now? So that would be my suggestion for travel experts here or people who are in travel and doing 米6体育直播nba right now.

Nitin Machanda:
But, in general, for everyone I would say use this time for learning to learn. So there are a lot of things that you can learn, so that should be your number one priority. And there are a lot of projects that you might have in your list, which you always wanted to work on, but you never had time for that. I think now’s the time.

Nitin Machanda:
So, for example, we were also working on content generation using different tools, but now they have started working using a very open core and open source solution. So people from my team who never coded in their life, they are also coding, so they’re learning that. So, of course, I’m giving them time so that they can learn and then practice this more and then learn something. They can be proud of this moment that during this crisis time they learned something that’s just helping them throughout their life.

David Iwanow:
Focus on learning, self-improvement, and cut the fancy things that don’t make a business impact.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
The company that will have success, and even a bigger a success after the crisis, will be the brands that are able now to show empathy, transparency, authenticity, closeness to the clients.

Aleyda:
So besides all of those great suggestions and recommendations, I will say that if somehow you are struggling also to be able to work from home, I know that is not the usual for many of you, can check out a few recommendations and tips that I have shared myself and also other people in Remoters, that is a website that, little disclosure, I also co-founded. It was Eagle who yesterday, he published how to handle three kids when working from home. That’s a lot, and he’s able to do that.

Aleyda:
Also, I have said that the score group that is for the work from home 米6体育直播nbas and marketers, the Remoters watercolor where we are all sharing tips, jobs also that we see. So you can go and join for free, of course.

Aleyda:
So there is this very fun Zoom call going on every day, the corona arms that you can join a 6:00 PM GMT, where many of us go enter and chat for a bit while having a beer together or [inaudible 00:26:25]. So I think it’s great also seeing the more human side of us and the community coming together to support each other in different ways.

Aleyda:
Also, there is this Google Sheets that was shared by Mike Keen where you can include yourself if you are looking for a job, whether as an employee or as a consultant. Many 米6体育直播nbas have also included themselves there who have lost their jobs. So thank you very much for all of your-

David Iwanow:
Thank you.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
Thank you.

Nitin Machanda:
Thank you.

Aleyda:
Thank you very much for your time. And until the next time in Crawling Monday.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
Chao, chao.

Aleyda:
Bye, bye. Hopefully and in a better situation also already.

Gianluca Fiorelli:
Yes.

Nitin Machanda:
Yes, for sure.