The Covid-19 pandemic has put the world on a standstill. Its far reaching effects left economies reeling. Consumer behaviours have evolved along with the changing times. Mandatory stay-at-home orders spurred online activity. But despite increased online activity, consumers are more hesitant to purchase these days. Many are online but most are unwilling to convert.
As a result, low conversion rates have severely affected PPC performance. Just look at the current Wordstream data on Pay-Per-Click ads. Users are skipping ad clicks. Compared to average click-through performance, actual search ad clicks during the pandemic plummeted.
This brings us to an important point. High search volume does not necessary mean high conversion rates. In fact, recent conversion rates experienced a huge dip by an average of 21%.
Changes in Google ads performance, coupled with budget deficits, have compelled business to scale down their PPC campaigns. Everyone’s knee-jerk reaction is to turn off their ads.
From a bird’s eye view, pausing your PPC Campaign is the best thing to do.
But is it really wise to turn off your ads now while everyone else is doing it?
Not really. There is a silverlining when other businesses drastically cut down their ad spending: it means a decrease in Cost Per Clicks across the board. Less competition means you won’t have to spend as much to gain visibility.
Instead of dropping out of the PPC game for the time being, it’s ideal to adjust your PPC campaign strategy. Find ways to leverage the opportunities while reducing ad costs. Here are tips on how to adjust your PPC campaign and make it thrive during the Covid19 pandemic:
Refine your ad copy.
Ad copy that might have worked before the pandemic may no longer be contextually appropriate today. For instance, call-to-action phrases like “set an appointment” or “visit us today” are no longer apt. Modify your ad copy so that it reflects what you offer. Are you offering “pickup” or “virtual appointments”? Feature them in your ad copy as alternative to in-person transactions.The goal is to convey sensitive, meaningful messages. If your audience is not into “buying mode”, it’s useless to do hard selling. Do not capitalise on the fear of the virus nor spread misinformation. Just look at these two anxiety-fueling PPC ads on Bing that cash in on consumer panic. If these were run on Google, these would have been banned.
Build relationships through valuable insights. Offer value to your audience. Prioritise contribution over conversion. Purposeful, informative messages help to strike better connection with your target niche.
Re-channel your ad spend.
Conduct an honest assessment of your PPC campaigns. Distinguish high ROI campaigns from average-performing campaigns. If your PPC budget is tight, it’s advisable to temporarily pause campaigns that aren’t doing so well. If they aren’t giving results before the pandemic, that’s not likely to happen now. Re-channel funds into campaigns that yield better, tangible results. This helps to reduce wasted ad spend and ensure the efficiency of your PPC campaigns.
Use Dayparting Strategy.
Dayparting is a PPC strategy which allows the display of ads to audiences at a certain day or a certain time of the day. Scheduling ads on days or hours most optimal for conversions increase audience reach. It maximises the visibility of your ads.
As a caveat, dayparting is advisable for business models that run on peak hours. For instance, your target audiences are most active on Thursday to Sunday, and are likely to purchase around 3pm to 6pm at night on Friday and Sunday. Instead of running your ads the entire week and the entire day, you can customise your ad schedule and display ads on Friday and Sunday, between 3pm to 7pm. Running your ad schedule at the right time can increase your click-through rates and reduces unnecessary ad expenses.
Geotargeting, also known as local PPC, is designed to target specific audiences within a particular geographic location. It’s ideal for local businesses, like the neighborhood bakery or cafe, which primarily caters to local customers. Local PPC enables you to show ads to prospects closest to you. You can show ads to communities within a specific radius from your store or a more expansive scope such as a country, areas within a country or multiple locations. Worried about possibly excluding other valuable prospects? Don’t worry. Once you input your target location, there will be an estimate of potential reach, the total number of people who fall under your geographic criterion.
Also important in geotargeting is location exclusion. Location exclusion in Google Ads prevents the display of ads in certain areas within a targeted area.
Local PPC complements low ad budgets. It allows for efficient ad spending by not showing ads in all the wrong places. Because ads are shown in locations where you’ll find the right prospects, there’ll be less unqualified traffic. This helps to increase return on investment (ROI) in the long run.
Explore smart bidding.
Smart Bidding pertains to Google Ads’ automated bid strategies. Google uses machine learning (taking into consideration contextual data like location, intent, ad characteristics and device to name a few) to customise CPC bids real time and optimise for conversions. Whenever Google predicts that a conversion appears more likely based on these data, it increases your bids. There are five bid strategies to choose from, depending on your goals:
- Target ROAS
- Target CPA
- Target Impression
- Enhanced CPC
Smart bidding is ideal for business owners who are new to Google Ads (and possibly lack technical expertise to tinker with all its functionalities) but would like to start different campaigns. As a caveat, smart bidding can give good enough results, but will not replace a customised bidding strategy.
The Advantage of Working with a PPC Specialist
During these uncertain times, PPC campaigns must adapt accordingly to search behaviour and purchasing trends. Otherwise, they will fail to convert.
PPC specialists can help to execute relevant, up-to-date paid search strategies. They have the technical knowledge to optimise your PPC campaign tailored to your preferred budget and marketing goals. To maximise your money’s worth, it’s best not to experiment with result and entrust paid search efforts in the hands of a PPC expert.