The world as we know it has undergone a rapid transformation in recent months. From a PPC perspective, this has its ups and downs with various industries responding at alternate ends of the spectrum. What began as an eCommerce slump is now evolving into an online traffic surge as more people self-isolate in their homes. Whilst we’re all adjusting to our new daily lifestyles, we’ve been busy rethinking our advertising strategies to make sure we stay ahead in these unprecedented times. We asked our Senior PPC Specialist, Jess Freer, for her advice on navigating paid search during the COVID-19 crisis.

Ad Copy & Search Queries

One of the first things we did was review our client’s ad copy. We wanted to ensure the message we were sending out was both befitting of the business and sensitive to the current climate. I.e ‘Visit Us In-Store’ is not the best call-to-action for our current audience. Searchers are also more likely to click-through if they have the reassurance that delivery is still available. If ‘Next Day Delivery’ is currently not an option, we’re avoiding wasted spend and an inevitably higher bounce rate by ensuring this doesn’t show. As people’s prior concerns have shifted, so have Google’s search queries. We have been monitoring Google Trends on a more consistent basis to identify notable shifts in search volume as quickly as possible. Google has subsidised this by developing the Google Trends Coronavirus Hub which we are utilising to adjust shopping product titles and search ad copy accordingly. Contrastingly, it is also a useful source in preventing potential irrelevant search queries from triggering ads.

Ad Scheduling & Devices

As a rule of thumb, traffic and cost are lowest during the night and highest across mobile devices (generally speaking). Whilst this remains somewhat dependable, we’re quickly learning how to adapt as consumer behaviour adjusts rapidly. It is evident that people are staying up later than they normally would. Whether that be in response to a shift in daily work patterns or anxiety over the most recent Coronavirus news alert, an increase in after-hours online searches is indisputable. Therefore, we’re rethinking our bidding strategies across the day and in some cases, implementing entirely new dayparting strategies to accommodate additional clicks in the early hours. Desktop searches are on the rise, a subsequent result of people working from home with Microsoft stating, “…that’s the device of choice when people have the choice.” With this in mind, we’re closely monitoring performance by device as well as leveraging momentum across our Bing accounts. As Bing is built into more than 1 billion Windows 10 devices, Microsoft Ads might just be our new best friend!

New Opportunities

It’s not all doom and gloom! In an attempt to focus solely on essentials, Amazon has pulled back on its Google advertising efforts across other sectors. Our clients now have a share of opportunities for obtaining higher ad positions on a lower average cost-per-click that were previously unattainable. We’re intending on capitalising on this by ensuring budgets are re-aligned towards products or services that are more pertinent to current events. Coincidingly, we’re testing alternate bidding strategies which can digest unprecedented data trends with immediate effect.

Going forward…

We’re proving that maintaining return on investment and cost-per-acquisition goals during a crisis is completely achievable when strategised appropriately. As competitors are reducing bids or ceasing advertising altogether, there’s increased opportunity for advertisers to maximise their visibility and quality score for optimum ranking on ‘the other side’. We’re also considering the potential implications of when things return to ‘normal’. Whilst we’re unable to predict whether there’ll be online store desertion in favour of visiting bricks and mortar establishments or an intense digital retail boom as shoppers stock up on their ‘outside’ clothes etc, we’re arming ourselves for either outcome.

If you’re looking for help and advice with your paid advertising, we’re here to help. Give us a call on 01642 130340, email us at or use our live chat function to speak to one of the team.

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