What the COVID-19 Pandemic has Taught us About the Importance of Online Marketing in Latin America

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic caused distress in commerce and health industries worldwide. Latin America was no exception to this trend, exemplified by this part of the world being consistently ranked among world regions where the pandemic and subsequent measures put in place to flatten the infection curve, have caused the most extensive damage and disruption in both national economies and societies. 

An image from an image bank depicting people at work during the pandemic era for an article about the importance of digital marketing in times of pandemic.
Some businesses found new opportunities during the pandemic.

This damage was mainly visible in the region’s levels of poverty and unemployment, which shortly after the arrival of the pandemic skyrocketed. Paired with these increases was the loss of a decade of relatively stable economic growth which had followed after sharp increases in the export prices of raw materials known as the ‘commodity boom’. 

Consequently, many scholars and organizations have suggested that the region could enter a new ‘lost decade’. They have come to this conclusion by comparing the current crisis and its implications to the economic recession which hit the region during the 1980s.

Online businesses: a new opportunity

Whereas at first sight it might seem that the pandemic and its many side-effects have had an all-encompassing detrimental effect on the region’s economy and the conducting of business, this is not the case. 

During the pandemic, there has been one group of businesses and entrepreneurs, which despite the circumstances, were able to continue to operate and thus minimized damage. These were the businesses and entrepreneurs which were able to pivot, especially by selling online, and which were able to digitally advertise their products and services. 

This successful continuation of operations was largely linked to the online marketing of these companies and entrepreneurs, which provided them with an alternative vending platform by connecting products and services with their potential buyers and users.

Recent trends in Latin America

While the COVID pandemic provided a major incentive for companies and entrepreneurs to start to focus more on online marketing in Latin America, this is not the only reason why extra attention should be devoted to the region.

A 2020 report published by GMSA, a joint organization of mobile operators, highlighted several interesting facts:

  • Latin America is one of the regions in which the mobile market is growing most rapidly, leading to about 80% of Latin Americans owning a smartphone by 2025
  • This growth will make mobile connectivity and use of mobile data throughout the region increase fivefold when compared to 2020, mostly driven by Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia
  • Additionally, it is expected that by 2023, 60% of Latin Americans will be subscribed to mobile internet service which will also contribute to higher adaptation and penetration rates

Likewise, these recent increases have caused very promising trends to occur within the social media and app domains.

What is happening with the apps market

An image from an image bank depicting a smartphone with applications for an article about the importance of digital marketing in times of pandemic.
In countries such as Brazil and Mexico, the app market is growing

During the first quarter of 2021 there have been more than 1.3 million app downloads on both GooglePlay and iOS, according to AppsFlyer. In particular, Brazil and Mexico outpace the download market, demonstrating incredibly strong growth year upon year and providing an abundance of opportunities for in-app advertising. 

Furthermore, this marketing opportunity is also strongly present within the game-app domain. According to the same report of AppsFlyer, during the first quarter of 2021, 612 million gaming apps were downloaded throughout the region, highlighting the incredibly broad audience that can be reached through online marketing.

Next to gaming apps, online marketing on Facebook and WhatsApp also provides great potential due to being the number one and two apps in terms of active users according to Hootsuite. The 2020 Anatomy of Change report by Oracle highlighted that these apps are also indispensable in creating awareness around the existence or launch of a new brand in the region as 80% of Latin Americans discover a new brand through Facebook and 60% also do so via Instagram.

Non-organic installations a concept to have in mind

An image from an image bank depicting two people looking at statistics and holding a digital tablet, for an article about the importance of digital marketing in the pandemic era.
Non-organic installations (NOI) reach unprecedented levels

The popularity of these apps, in combination with steep increases in the number of active users, have also caused the number of non-organic installations (NOI) to reach unprecedented levels of growth during the last years. A non-organic installation refers to when a user chooses to download an app after having seen a marketing campaign. 

According to AppAnnie, during the last two years, the Mexican and Brazilian markets have experienced a 120% and 178% increase respectively, highlighting the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. 

Additionally, the share of paid app users in Mexico also increased by 32% last year, highlighting the audience that can be reached when choosing to make use of in-app advertising on paid platforms.

All in all, this shows that online marketing, which comes forth out of a thought-out marketing strategy, is essential for doing business in Latin America and accessing the abundance of potential that the region offers.

At Biz Online Marketing we are experts on the Latin American market and are here to assist your business with expanding its operations onto the region. Want to know more? Get in contact with us now!

*Douwe Westerveld contributed to this article.

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