The global coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread destruction, devastation and change in almost every area of our lives – but even though a lot of things have changed, there are some new opportunities that have arisen during this period, especially for online businesses and marketing departments.

One of the most interesting trends that has been spotted during the time of COVID-19 is that businesses that give away what they can afford tend to gain more traffic to their site. Businesses that are able to offer services or products for free – simply to help out those in need – have found that traffic has increased, with more visitors coming to their site as an indirect benefit.

Another change during the pandemic is that the cost of paid ads has dropped due to small businesses spending less on cost-per-click ads. Professional marketers such as James Hopkins, founder of QV Marketing – a company that helps local business to increase their customer base and conversion rate – have witnessed this trend first-hand.

Coronavirus has meant that more people are staying at home and spending more time online. As a result, web traffic has increased, yet there are fewer advertisers. This means that, in general, paid ads are producing a much higher return on investment (ROI) than before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to one firm, the ROI on paid ads was previously around 31%, rising to 53% after the pandemic hit – a 71% overall increase.

Social media use has also increased during the pandemic, with audiences looking for positive and optimistic content. Brands that are offering reassuring and hopeful content are able to inspire their followers, and many companies have benefitted from sharing content such as home improvement ideas, new skills and learning opportunities, live entertainment, at-home activities, exercises, and recipes.

While the pandemic has meant that conversion rates, in general, are down, there is one excellent way to boost conversion rates even during these testing times: payment plans. A payment plan, offered through companies such as Affirm, can boost conversion rates by as much as 12% (on average) for online retailers. A payment plan reduces the short-term financial burden for the customer, and they can be used for a wide variety of products and services.