When COVID-19 became pandemic in the past few weeks our lives have change.  Many small businesses have been reducing or suspending operations and are already feeling the pressure on their bottom line.

As people’s behaviors change, their search behaviors change too. We’ve already seen how COVID-19 has impacted Google Ads Results for different industries but there is plenty of room for small businesses to adjust to the challenges and we will check several trends that have emerged over recent days and weeks.

Mobile search traffic cut by nearly 25% in March

As less people is moving around and using their phones for internet surfing, there has been a noticeable decline in mobile searches as well with paid search campaigns showing a large decline in mobile search traffic.

Traffic on mobile is generally cheaper for PPC advertisers, so this shift has meaningful implications for PPC strategy in the coming weeks.

How to adapt to this new situation – Adjust your PPC campaigns for less mobile traffic

  • Revisit your device bid adjustments
  • Consider smart bidding

As more people who are searching internet shift back to desktops while spending time inside, expect to see big shifts to their performance across devices. You may have set a mobile bid adjustment earlier using relevant data at the time, but given the fast shifts in the search at this moment, it may be good checking your current device bid adjustments.  Google’s smart bidding strategies may help advertisers by working with changing data and adjusting their CPC bids in real time to match their goals. When choosing a smart bidding strategy, be sure to consider your goals and campaign budget.

As Google search traffic falls, cross-network opportunities grow

Since COVID-19 spread around the world our internet use is up nearly 50% even though the Google search time drop down. The good news is that you can still reach your prospective customers online but they are now looking in different places more.

 

As of start of March, Google search and Shopping may have taken sizable drops, but there’s still plenty of opportunity out there. Bing Search and Google search partners have remained still safe and steady places to find your customers and mostly have cheaper CPCs than Google search.

How to adapt to this new situation – Reach your audience on other networks

  • Now more than ever it’s crucial to advertise across networks
  • Include Google search partners in your campaigns
  • Dive into display and YouTube

Google search partners include many smaller search engines that are powered by Google and they make up about 10% of Google’s search reach, so consider using them in your campaigns to make up some of the lost Google.com search traffic. To use it simply check the “Include Google search partners” box in the networks tab of your campaign settings.

Now it’s easier than ever to find audience while they browse the web, scroll trough their social feeds, and watch videos online. Consider remarketing to your past customers and website visitors to bring them back to your site and keep your brand in their mind because they are often more likely to convert on their return visits.

When COVID-19 became pandemic in the past few weeks our lives have change.  Many small businesses have been reducing or suspending operations and are already feeling the pressure on their bottom line.

As people’s behaviors change, their search behaviors change too. We’ve already seen how COVID-19 has impacted Google Ads Results for different industries but there is plenty of room for small businesses to adjust to the challenges and we will check several trends that have emerged over recent days and weeks.

Store visits plummets by 90% in one month

Naturally, as people started social distancing and avoid unnecessary trips, many businesses were forced to close their physical stores or limit their in-store capacity due to limited physical traffic. Advertisers began noticing a small drop off in store visits in late February. By the first week of March, store visits were down 24% and slowly as the crisis continued the past week it hit 90% down in just a time period of one month.

How to adapt to this new situation – Get your small business online

  • Design a simple website
  • Get your business on Google My Business
  • Engage your customers on social media
  • Get your products online with Google Merchant Center
  • Promote your business online

Your small business doesn’t need to have a complex website, so use some free website tool builder or pay for one and make a simple website. When you are done, create Google My Business account, you can display your business hours, address, posts, photos and reviews across Google search. Your customers expect that your business might change during this times and they’re looking for updates to confirm if you are open. So they will check social media for your activity and if you are not active there, they might think you are closed for now. Traditional retail is struggling with minimal store visits, but ecommerce is an opportunity to keep your sales coming in since interent is still doing just fine with shopping and everyone is inside in front of their tablets and screens. And to finish the circle, promote your online business with advertising like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising or Facebook Ads.

COVID-19 dominates new searches

The news about the virus is spreading like a virus, exponentially and everyone is pretty much getting all news in real time. Other the past few weeks, searches containing “coronavirus” and “COVID” have certainly taken off.

But even if we look past the searches directly about the virus, the implications of our current situation are bringing people to Google with questions you don’t often see asked.

How to adapt to this new situation – Adjust your PPC campaigns for new search terms and volume

  • Review your search terms report regularly
  • Find new negative keywords before they start trending
  • Follow trending COVID-19 searches

We don’t know what will be trending tomorrow, so it is important to understand what traffic your ads are getting and add new negative keywords quickly to prevent your campaigns from reaching irrelevant searchers. All your new keywords run the risk of attracting irrelevant searches and wasting your campaign budget. Google Trends recently released a new Google Trend Coronavirus Hub, dedicated to these specific COVID-19 search trends so review the hub regularly to see how search interests are reacting to the changing news.

 

Lets be clear, perfect search ad does not exist. There is always space for improvement with a your PPC campaign, it is only a matter of time, money and cost. But that said there are certain things which can contribute to a search ad getting the best click through rate, while also promoting your brand.

Call to action in Title and Description

To the point, the call to action is leading web users to exactly what you want them to do to convert. If the users know what they should do, and how they should interact with your ad campaign, they are more likely convert. That said, it is a good idea to put a call to action in your title and your description. But be also keep in mind that if you use call to actions more than that, you put at risk that your search ad is forcing the message too much.

Brand or URL at the End of Title

When a user does not click your ad, it does not mean the end of the world and that you don’t benefit since it is a good idea to put your brand or URL of your company at the end of the title, such as ‘| Company.com’ for example. That will make the brand or URL more recognised with the contextual search phrase the user is searching for. And over a longer period of time you will be improving the brand awareness of your company without paying a cent.

Quantifiable Enticing Data

Put some sort of numbers in the search ad because people like numbers when comparing different things and it helps to encourage users to click onto your ad, since it gives the user a quantifiable way of comparing your search ad against the competition.

Ad Extension

Google allows you to use a range of different ad extensions in your search advert, such as site links, location, telephone numbers, ratings, reviews and more. Ad extensions are a good way to add some content and contextuality to your website, which will all encourage more web users to click it.

True URL Used

there is generally one rule to follow when it comes to choosing what URL to display in the search advert – does it work? You can choose a good looking URL, that is short and full of keywords. But you need to check out if the URL is actually leading to a place that exists and does not give you an 404 error. So always check the URL you use in PPC that it actually works.