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Covid-19 & E-Commerce: How to Make the Most of Changing Buying Behavior

By Kristina
25 Oct, 2021
3 min read
Table of Contents

Let’s have a quick look at how the coronavirus has influenced e-commerce business - in particular, the ad spend and the CPM, and what does it mean to you.

Online businesses have doubled their ad spend

With Covid-19, now we must stay at home as much as possible to stop the spread of the virus. While it may be hard to adjust to the new reality, there’s always something positive in any bad situation.

For one thing, social distancing has encouraged people to shift towards using online services instead of going to a local store. So, if you own an e-commerce shop, these are the times to hustle even more!

Many e-commerce businesses have been spending much more money on ads than they used to. They want to get in front of all the new potential customers. So should you!

Below, you can see recent data from MediaRadar on e-commerce ad spend across the digital, print and TV channels. From February 17 to the week of March 9, the ad spend has increased twice - from $4.8 million to $9.6 million accordingly.

On the other hand, lots of traditional businesses have decreased their ad spend because now they’re either irrelevant or closed. While this is a tough situation for such companies, it’s still temporary. At some point, many of them should hopefully bounce back.

Advertising spend from e-commerce sites
Source: MediaRadar

But what does it mean to you as an online store owner? The current situation — e-commerce owners spending more on ads and offline shop owners moving away from the business — has resulted in lower CPM. This is good news. Keep on reading to see how you can make most out of this situation.

How the pandemic has affected CPM

If you’re not familiar with the term, CPM is one of the pricing models for ads. It stands for cost per mille, or cost per thousand. It’s the amount of money you have to pay to show your ad for 1,000 visitors. 

  1. CPM is a great pricing choice on Facebook when your goal is brand awareness and you just want to get your ad in front of as many people as possible. 
  2. CPM is also a great pricing model if you’re a website publisher and have lots of traffic - you’ll get paid for simply displaying ads.

CPM tends to drop seasonally depending on how ad campaign runners are managing their ad spend budget. It’s also a subject of buying cycles.

Recently, CPM has dropped because of the increased ad spend by e-commerce businesses, caused by Covid-19. 

 Dropped CPM  caused by Covid-19
Data collected from Common Thread Collective’s top 20 accounts at a ~$50M annual spend rate

If you’re a website publisher or a YouTuber and earn money from displaying others’ ads, the drop in CPM is not that great for you - you earn less money. 

However, if you own an e-commerce shop and advertise your products, this is great news.

You simply spend less to get your ad in front of people! And even though some people may just be window-shopping now because of all the uncertainty with the quarantine, you can use the cheap views to test your marketing efforts. 

Try different messaging in your Facebook ads, vary your CTAs, play with different photos to see what gets the most attention from your target audience. 

E-stores are going to make the big bucks this year.

You can do it too.

You can do it too.

Show me how

Start improving your Facebook advertising today - it’s easy!

Not sure where to start with polishing your Facebook ads? Check this blog post, where we share the six best Facebook advertising tips for beginners.

Once things settle down a bit and people get used to the new routine of buying online instead of going to a local store, you will be ready to convert visitors into buyers.

Remember, there’s always light in difficult times, and, for e-commerce businesses, these are the times to shine. 

Keep on hustling. Improve your advertising. Not only you will get a bigger market share, but, by providing online shopping experience, you will also help people to stay at home. And that’s simply a beautiful, human thing to do. 


I'm a content manager at sixads. I'm fiery about marketing, writing and traveling, so you can often find me scribbling away in some unknown corner of the world. If you want to know more ways to increase traffic and attract buyers to your online store get in touch with sixads on one of the channels bellow.