5 Tips for managing your paid search during the coronavirus pandemic

The advertising landscape has changed quite a bit with the spread of COVID-19 and the rising pandemic across the globe, as many brands face uncertainty around marketing and ad spend. Whilst businesses are having to adapt there is no reason why we cannot continue to run ads and remind our customers that we are here and open for business.

We’ve got some helpful tips to help you manage your paid search campaigns during the pandemic and to get you out the other side:

1. Reconsider the products and services you are promoting

In some cases, you may be able to shift your focus to promote other products and services that people might need during the pandemic.

Whilst this is not always going to be possible, it is worth considering whether any of your products are of high-priority or could be considered as essentials even if previously they were not. There is also a larger shift in users looking for home working, family fun, and entertainment solutions so if you have products that fit into these areas you should look to promote those.

For service providers, your team should evaluate the possibility of being able to offer these services virtually to customers and potential customers.

2. Change your messaging

Due to changes in consumer needs, industry needs and what you can deliver, you should review your current ad campaigns and check whether the information being provided is still relevant.

There are some changes that you might want to consider when doing this:
  • Include a message about your company’s response to the virus – this can be done on landing pages and on ads
  • Review call to actions to remove “visit us in store” mentions and replace with updated delivery or collection information
  • Ensure display and social ads have virus sensitive images that don’t show people in groups
  • Include shipping information with mentions of free, fast, etc.
  • Mentions any change to hours of operation
Some of the messaging can be updated in the primary ad copy, but don’t forget to make the most of ad extensions such as sitelinks and call-outs.


3. Review your budgets

Whilst it may seem like one of the last things you want to do, now is a good time to re-evaluate your budgets and spend.

During this time, you should review your budgets and evaluate whether there are some products or services that have more relevancy which you should be spending more on. It is also key that you shift budgets to the best performing campaigns in order to maximise results.

Take the time to review budget versus actual spend to find areas where you can best utilise any unspent budget. Depending on the platform it is worth considering settings such lifetime spend or monthly spend limits instead of daily spend to better pace campaign spend.

Reviewing and optimising your budgets and spend will free up your time for more important account management tasks, plus many platforms have smart bidding features which can assist with understanding any changes and where you should be putting your spend.


4. Understand what users want

While people are in lockdown in the UK and across the globe, they are still searching, purchasing, and browsing online. It’s key to demonstrate across all channels whether you are able to offer your services and products, and how you will go about delivering these.

Products that people are searching for include DIY related items, games and leisure items, and items for home working. Google Trends is a good resource for looking into search behaviour and for understanding what people are concerned about or need at the moment.

As previously mentioned, you should use ad copy and ad extensions to communicate benefits like free delivery, fast delivery, curb side pick-up and drop-off, etc.

Depending on your industry it is likely you will see shifts in search queries triggering your ads, and there are two ways you can approach this.

You can take a reactive approach and review search terms and display campaign placements in real-time for COVID-19 keywords and content. Alternatively, you might want to take a more proactive approach, predicting searches that may trigger your ads and creating negative keyword lists, which include COVID-19 related keywords, that can be shared among all campaigns and easily updated.


5. Consider trying different channels

Whilst people are locked down at home, they will ultimately will be consuming more content online than ever before. Facebook has reported a 50% increase in messaging, with voice and video calling more than doubling on Messenger and WhatsApp which is hardly surprising.

With a large percentage of usage centred around free platforms such as messaging, groups, and livestreaming Facebook has also highlighted that they are seeing a decrease in ad revenue.

This decline in revenue across many ad platforms opens up an opportunity for advertisers to reach users whilst facing less competition, offering a potential increase in market share without much change to budgets.

Aside from Google Ads and Facebook, there are other areas worth exploring as users are upping their screen time:
  • Display ad expansion on the Google Display Network and Microsoft Audience Network.
  • YouTube and in-video ad placement options.
  • Pinterest for consumers discovering products for purchase.
  • Twitter, but with strong consideration for brand reputation issues arising from negative behavior on the platform.

It’s important to remember that this pandemic will end, and it is key to retain a brand presence and continue to feed the upper funnel to ensure it is easier to recover later. Whilst it is an uncertain time, businesses are still able to acknowledge the crisis whilst offering a softer sales approach that could just help them through.

For more assistance on managing your PPC during this time, please get in touch with our friendly team to see how we can help.