Outside of being a highly contagious, rapidly spreading disease we learn more and more about how each day, COVID-19 changed our everyday in so many ways. From going to school, to work, out to lunch with friends, to see a new movie, to shopping at the mall, everything is different now, and the question of if and when we return to “normal” lingers, with the likely response of living with a “new normal.”
A recent Wordstream webinar discussed why you should advertise in both good times and bad, and six tips on changes to refresh your Google and Facebook ads in our COVID-19 world. Naturally, advertising and PPC campaigns experienced challenges as well. Some businesses decided to draw back on their advertising, while others continued. The webinar cites McGraw-Hill research that shows companies that continued or even grew their advertising during the 1982 recession grew despite economic hardship, while others that reduced their advertising declined. So instead of drawing back on advertising, tailor your ads in response to COVID-19 as our economy begins to open back up.
The following tips will get your advertising back on track and meet the customer’s needs.
- Update and test new ads. What performed well prior to the pandemic may not now. Search intent has changed. For instance, someone searching “virus check” now is more likely making a COVID-19 related search, as opposed to a product that checks your computer for viruses. To this end, instead of using “COVID-19” and “Coronavirus” in your ads, use local messaging and messaging that puts you ahead of the competition, like free and quick delivery for products people may need but don’t want to or can’t venture to the store to buy. Also take into account the different intents that might bring searches to your ads, and create various ads to best reach each audience.
- Be aware of new search trends. What we have been searching for and how we are making those searches changed within the last three months. COVID-related searches have been the most popular. More people are searching from desktops over mobile. Even where we search from has changed. There is an influx in searches from more suburban locations as people are working from home. Be sure to adjust both your location settings and your device placement settings.
- PPC campaigns are rebounding. Wordstream found that in May, advertisers saw 94% of the conversions they had in February. Conversion rates began rising in April after dipping in March across many industries. During mid-April is when people began receiving their stimulus checks, so as people had more income, they had more purchasing power and confidence to put money into the economy.
- There is a new normal for local businesses. Local, brick and mortar businesses are reopening, but there is still a need to find new ways to target customers. Foot traffic is still down as stores reopen. Wordstream found that compared to the baseline of visits to stores prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, store visits are only down 23% as of May 29. Reach customers by updating your Google My Business profile. People want to ensure you are open. Make sure your information is accurate and optimized. Update your store hours and be sure to list what you’re offering in response to COVID-19, like curbside pickup.
- Find new opportunities across networks. Display, social and video networks all have experienced increased traffic in the last three months. Expand your advertising to these networks to further reach your audience. The recently released Google Discovery campaign is available to all advertisers. These campaigns allow you to reach users across YouTube, Gmail and the Google Discover page, meaning these ads can reach people before they even search. It’s worth looking into this new type of campaign.
- Social ads are growing. Facebook active user base and engagement grew to an all-time high during COVID-19. More and more people are spending time on Facebook. Use Facebook advertising to help convert what Google didn’t. With increased ad exposure comes increased conversions. Wordstream found that people who see ads more frequently (six times across networks) are two times more likely to convert. Use Google Ads and Facebook Ads effectively so that they work together and target the same audiences.
Changing your advertising message across networks will further help your ultimate goal. Instead of decreasing your efforts, get creative with your plan to create messaging in-line with the COVID-19 world. Unfortunately, the normal we grew accustomed too is not returning anytime soon, so start adjusting your campaigns to find success under the new normal.