Coronavirus-related quarantine remains firmly in pace in the UK and other countries around the world, maintaining an overall feeling of uncertainty and worry. Sure, people are trying to make the best of things, have fun, use different ways of staying in touch but for most of us, I still have my times of worry.
While that’s not exactly a revelation, it is something to bear in mind when you consider your online PPC activity. It’s very likely that your conversion rates (CVR) on your previous SEO and PPC rules has dropped, and in many cases, sharply. But, it’s also possible that for those of you still running your campaigns that you’ve noticed a lower average cost for the click throughs and conversions that you are achieving.
If that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and because of all the uncertainty – related to life after Covid-19 and your own PPC and digital advertising during the pandemic – you’re thinking about pausing your ads, I’ve also been thinking hard about that and have come up with some (hopefully) helpful thoughts and ideas to help your planning and your business.
CTR’s Have Risen
According to analysis by Wordstream, since the end of February, average click-through rates on PPC ads have actually risen. That’s particularly the case for Google PPC ads.
Of course, a click through isn’t a conversion, but it’s an important step, which means if more people are hitting those ad links then your audience is likely growing. However, you won’t benefit from that CTR growth if your PPC ads aren’t out there. To ensure your business gains some of that higher CTR, you may need to work on your ads a little. But if the audience is there, it’s worth the effort.
Digital Advertising Is Cheaper
Although there’s evidence showing a higher CTR during quarantine, a time when people have less to occupy them, many businesses are pulling their ads. That means that the cost of some online advertising, including PPC, has actually become cheaper over the past few weeks.
Source: Klient Boost
But, that’s not all. While the cost of advertising has fallen, where businesses have successfully altered their ads or begun new campaigns suitable for the current times, their transactions and revenues are higher.
No-one wants to profit from this pandemic but, if by remaining active with the ability to provide consumers what they need and want during this time, then that’s a positive outcome all-round.
Higher Social Media Consumption
Another detail to remember – as if we could forget – everyone who is following quarantine rules is inside their home a LOT more than usual. This can lead to boredom and a lack of things to d, which means many people are on their phones and scrolling through social media even more than usual.
That means that the right advertising and messaging on those platforms can deliver:
• A bigger audience for your brand.
• More interest in what you do.
• Higher CTRs on any ads you do share.
• Increased conversions and ROI.
According to a recent TechCrunch report, use of Facebook and WhatsApp has increased around 40% during the pandemic.
Of course, its not just boredom that’s fuelling that increase. Much of it is due to people connecting with friends and family. That’s another important point to consider when you’re creating your social media and search engine PPC ads; spread some cheer or just great new ways for people to keep in touch. This will help your brand to be seen as a positive source of interest by existing and new followers.
What Do The Experts Think?
With these three details at the forefront of your mind right now, I want to share some of the top tips for online advertising that I’ve seen across the web from a variety of different sources.
1. Wordstream’s Mark Irvine has a lot of good advice for beginning or upping your PPC activity in the right way, during quarantine and social distancing:
“Your customers expect that your business might change during the pandemic and they’re looking for updates to confirm whether and when you’re open. Some will turn to Google or your website, but many others will try to find your most recent posts on Facebook or Twitter. If they can’t find you on social, they’re less likely to trust you’re still open. Be sure to create a free business page on Facebook and give your customers a periodic update so that they know your business is still open.”
2. If you’re unsure exactly what type of online engagement and advertising you should use, or keep running, after listening to an eMarketer podcast, Clickz is PPC positive:
“Rather than stopping ad spend, marketers need to refocus ad spend on key areas of streaming, gaming or online food delivery. eMarketer’s data shows the best use of ad spend at the moment is PPC, followed by email marketing and regional advertising.”
3. Google, one of the ultimate online ad experts, has also created some useful support for online advertisers during the Covid-10 pandemic. Its advice includes:
“Evaluate your ads. Consider your context and tone. Consider if your message is helpful. Adapt to dynamic market conditions. Stay up to date on local conditions.”
4. A Search Engine Land on online advertising during the crisis shares the idea of re-evaluating PPC ad messaging, from Microsoft Corporate VP Rik van der Kooi:
“It [re-evaluating ad messaging] seems very obvious to update ads, but the reality is very few advertisers are doing it.”
5. Considering search behaviour and adapting your keywords and negative keywords list is another tip, this time from Search Engine Journal:
“Depending on your industry, it is likely you will see minor or majors shifts in search queries triggering your ads. This will require a two-pronged approach:
Reactive: Reviewing search terms and display campaign placements in real-time for COVID-19 keywords and content.
Proactive: Predicting searches that may trigger your ads and create negative keyword lists that can be shared among all campaigns and easily updated.”
6. Positivity cannot be underestimated right now, so if you can share a light-hearted or feel-good message in your online advertising, ZeroGravity marketing says you should do it:
“Throughout this difficult time, many people are searching for positivity to help them keep their spirits up. Therefore, it’s best to strike a careful balance with your copy. Ideally, your messaging should respect the gravity of the situation while also maintaining a sense of light-heartedness.”
7. Making adjustments to existing PPC campaigns is unlikely to be the only thing you should do right now, but it’s a good place to start according to this tips post:
“Your first step should be to audit what you have currently running or in your pipeline, especially any pre-scheduled content where launch is imminent. Decide what should be paused immediately….Consider what to prioritize or pivot.”
8. Thrive Agency recommends making room in your PPC and other ad content for local SEO because with people unable to travel, they’re more interested than ever in what’s around them:
“Make sure your business is using local SEO strategies to optimize your website for “near me” searches. You want customers in your geo region to be able to easily find you online so they turn to you first. At a time when we’re all looking for more convenience, this gives your business a chance to provide assistance during a critical time for families.”
9. Many consumers are in need of some comfort from their online searches and often just want to learn something new, or enjoy a welcome distraction form all the bad news and one way to do that is to avoid the hard sell:
“Tailor messages to be consumer-focused top-of-mind, as most are shopping “in the moment of fear and anxiety – e.g., I don’t have enough toilet paper. Ask is your message relevant now, today, and tomorrow? Step back from the hard sell and provide messaging that reaffirms your commitment to be there over the long term and through thick and thin.”
10. Keeping customer communications clear, simple and completely transparent is another important tip to follow, backed up by research from the Harvard Business Review:
“Everyone is facing this crisis together, so be transparent about what your business is going through. Customers can empathize with brands facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly…. Describe the steps you’re taking to mitigate risk and give them insight into the steps you are taking to help the community.”
11. Stay focused, try not to panic and make your website and all the online advertising linked to it the best it can be, is the advice of marketing professional Grant Simmons:
“Fix your site. You know it’s not perfect, spend some time practising what you preach and make your site the lead magnet it needs to be!”
There’s no question that this is a tough time, but knee-jerk, short-sighted actions could pile worse news on top of the already bad feeling many of us have experienced during quarantine. IF at all possible, try and adapt your online business advertising and PPC campaigns to help your customers, encourage new interest and also to keep yourself and your business busy and ready for the post Covid-19 quarantine future.
Have any industry trends you’d like to share or tips that will help others through this crisis? Drop them in the comments below. Also, I offer audits of your existing PPC campaigns. Find out more here.