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In March of 2020 when the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages, people began to get a sense that the world was changing all around us. Now, even with vaccines rolling out around the world, those changes are still being felt - and the world of digital marketing has not gone untouched.

Indeed, the pandemic changed just about everything about the way we live our lives - and the way we run our businesses, for that matter. But disruption is only a bad thing if you allow it to be seen that way. Sometimes, disruption is a necessary catalyst to transition from one period to another.

All told, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of digital marketing in a wide range of different ways, all of which are worth exploring.

Digital Marketing and the Brave New World

By far, one of the biggest changes that COVID-19 brought to digital marketing has to do with a dramatic expansion of just how many people are participating in it in the first place.

Almost overnight, businesses around the country - and around the world - shut their doors. Those that could remain open in some capacity had a sudden urge to communicate with their target audiences, and they quickly relied on digital marketing in order to do it.

That means that suddenly, there were more "players" in the digital marketing game than ever before. People rushed to ad networks and "Google My Business" pages in an effort to maintain those connections with consumers. Brands began using many more digital touch points in order to keep their buyers informed in any way possible.

They also found it to be incredibly successful. Just because the end of the pandemic may actually be in sight doesn't mean that these businesses will suddenly go back to "the way things were." Even as things "return to normal," the field will still be more competitive than ever - which means that those brands that want to stand out in a crowded marketplace will need to be as proactive as possible moving forward.

Along the same lines, social media advertising has been expanding exponentially during the pandemic - for largely the same reasons. Think about how quickly things changed for businesses in 2020 and even into 2021. One minute, local rules and regulations allowed organizations to operate normally - the next minute, they were slammed shut. Social media became a lifeline for brands that needed to keep their consumers informed and who needed to provide constant updates when situations where changing at a moment's notice.

This, too, is a trend that will survive the pandemic - and it's certainly not a bad one. Customers want to remain informed of what their favorite brands are up to and if you have something important to say, they want to hear it immediately. It's changed the perception of what people expect on platforms like Facebook and Twitter and those savvy brands who understand this and who put themselves in a position to capitalize on it will do well with digital marketing for the foreseeable future.