The impact of the pandemic has been seen across all industries. There will be a “new normal” for the economy and regarding consumer behavior for the post-COVID-19 world, which necessitates the shift in strategies.
Top COVID-19 Search Trends
Business models have been overturned as digital transformation has now been actualized and realized across all industries. The search landscape is also adapting with a rise in searches in some industries and the traffic has been driven online due to the shutting of physical stores. Many industries are facing some of the toughest times they have ever handled.
One of the most challenging industries during this global pandemic is travel. There has been a dramatic decrease in search volumes. Customers are also facing uncertainty about local, regional, and international travel because of changing shelter-in-place limitations and 2-week self-quarantining needed after traveling internationally.
Customers are looking for stuff that they can do nearby which makes the activities sub-category within travel an outlier in the travel industry. Think about regional and local advertising to get to consumers after shelter-in-place bans begin to end.
One of the powerful industries during the global pandemic is retail, as it has moved from in-person to online among a changing blend of sub-categories week to week. At-home personal care merchandise from teeth whitening, waxing, personal grooming, and hair care searches are up year over year. There has been a surge in DIY grooming and haircare as Shelter-in-place orders went into place.
There has been a significant spike in occasions and gifting sub-categories this year, with a year over year increase regarding virtual and video added to the normal celebratory search queries. An increase in search traffic year over year has also been seen in the Hobbies vertical.
There has been a hiatus in traditional automotive sales, but consumer interest in buying has continued, just shifting to a digital setup. Despite the shopping patterns and search themes shifting, there has been an increase in in-market purchase queries. Due to the continuous economic uncertainty with jobs, there is some reluctance in buying big-ticket products such as new vehicles. As a result of changing policies associated with “essential” businesses, customers are trying to understand which dealerships are open versus closed.
4. Health & Wellness
Searches increased year over year as customers were looking for extra information about coronavirus and viruses early on including symptoms, vaccines, treatments, queries around high-risk basic situations such as asthma and smoking. There was also an increase in queries around over the counter (OTC) products such as masks, sanitizers, and disinfectants. An increase has been in vaccine searches, searches for the flu vaccine, searches around depression, and searches containing a coronavirus related term in the query.
Best PPC Strategies to Implement
There will be a lasting impact on your search campaigns by what you do in the short term.
1. Be Visible
Consumers are searching and we’re seeing searches increase across industries, which means that the length of time from when they began searching for purchasing has increased. This extension of the consumer decision journey has given consumers more opportunities to research before they make their decision. You need to think about certain areas such as cross-Channel Strategy to join the paid search with other media channels which will magnify your search strategy. Ensure your business data is updated. You can also reach new audiences and drive growth through native ad placements.
2. Adjust KPIs & Attribution
There might be a change in your key performance indicators (KPIs) and with the lengthening of the consumer decision journey, you might also need to assess if your existing attribution model is helping or harming your strategy. If you want to get users who may not convert immediately then first click attribution is useful. When you are trying to optimize for more immediate conversion then Last click attribution is useful. If your business model has transformed and the consumer journey has prolonged then contemplate whether you need to go over your attribution model to make it work better with your updated marketing strategy.
3. Update Your Messaging
Don’t let your ads come across as tone-deaf. Be considerate with your messaging in ad copy and visual imagery. These are stressful times and you need to make sure that your messaging aligns with the current situation. Think about your customers’ situation and make your ad relevant to it and ensure such products are in stock. Make your calls to action and applicable and up to date. Highlight your offers with call-out extensions. Update your store information as the situation changes region by region if you are a business that operates in multiple areas.
4. Balancing Between Automation & Manual Optimization
Maintain the balance between automation tools and at the same time monitor performance manually. You need to monitor performance manually and adjust strategies as needed. Good data is needed for automation for the algorithms to build their predictions. In the search platform, algorithms can respond relatively quickly to the changes in behavior and know the changing signals to make modifications to bidding strategies. It is not recommended to switch to manual bidding, rather if you use manual bidding strategies, you need to switch as soon as possible as automated bidding will keep you on top of the dynamic marketplace. If you are using automated bidding and your business is seeing instability then check out enhanced CPC bidding to maintain and improve performance.
The new normal demands shifting and adjusting your existing strategies to keep up with the dynamic changing marketplace. Be aware of the changes taking place in your industry and check new ways to reach customers and optimize your PPC campaigns.