Although states are starting to ease their lockdown restrictions we’ve all come to the conclusion that the COVID-19 pandemic will define 2020 and everything we do this year. In addition to the many changes in our daily lives, the digital world is transforming drastically. As a result of these new circumstances, people are no longer searching for the same things, causing major shifts in the Google SERP. Advertisers are well aware that COVID-19 has impacted paid campaigns for many industries, however, being able to understand how to respond to these changing trends can help keep businesses and their campaigns stay agile during these uncertain times.
In this blog post, we’ll analyze how COVID-19 has led to changes in search habits along with ways for advertisers to adjust their digital marketing strategies.
How COVID-19 Related Searches Blast on Google
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic dominating our society, it has come to surge our Google searches. As a matter of fact, COVID-19 related searches are today the most popular searches on Google, surpassing politics, weather, amazon, news, Facebook and more.
As a response to this new trend, Google has released their Google Trends Coronavirus Hub, which helps track COVID-19 related searches. We recommend all advertisers to frequently review these trends and spend some time adding negative keywords around such search terms to prevent wasting your budget.
When Are COVID-19 Related Searches Spiking?
Unfortunately, the pandemic dominates our daily lives and for many people it stays top of mind around the clock. However, others are fortunate to find ways to distract themselves as they continue their “normal routines” throughout the day. After examining Google trends and search patterns, we’ve acknowledged that the coronavirus is most frequently searched for when people first wake up or right before they go to bed.
How Have Consumers Search Patterns Changed?
In addition to COVID-19 related searches spiking, the pandemic has also caused shifts in consumers’ search patterns. As many people shelter at home and/or commute less during the pandemic, they also stay up later than they normally would. As a result, the times when they search on the web has changed drastically. Even in industries not directly affected by the coronavirus related searches, we are seeing increased late-night searches and ad impressions in PPC campaigns. Although many industries have noticed a general decline in interest for their products or services, this impact is way less noticeable later at night. In fact, search volume has actually increased after midnight.
The Effects on Your Ad Campaigns
Although the increase in search volume late at night might look positive to you, the conversion rates from ads during these times tend to be lower. In addition, coronavirus related terms are likely to be infiltrated in your search queries. Although your business and your ad account don’t directly link to the standard “virus search terms”, you should keep an eye out for words such as “cancellations” and “refunds” as these seem to have peaked and thus increased your CPC.
What To Do
To relieve anxiety caused from your paid search campaigns you can address current challenges brought by the pandemic by doing the following:
1. Dig Into Your Campaign’s Ad Schedule Performance
In Google Ads, you can easily track the performance of your campaigns by sorting it after the day of the week and hour of the day. The performance on this tab has likely changed after the COVID-19 outbreak so we recommend revisiting this page and make changes accordingly. You can easily navigate this by clicking on “Segment” and then “Time” when logged into Google Ads.
2. Consider Changing When Ads Are Running
As mentioned previously, late-night searches are peaking whilst their conversion rates are declining. With this in mind, you may want to consider bidding down “off hours” or even turning your campaign off during non-converting times. By doing this, you won’t exhaust your daily budget on non-profitable clicks and impressions.
3. Test smart bidding
As we continue to face new business and paid search challenges, new trends will arise while others emerge. As a result, it may be difficult for you to adjust your campaigns on a dime. With that said, you may want to consider Google’s smart bidding strategies, which can help you digest the rapid change of data and revamp your CPC in an agile matter to match your goals.
Our team is aware of the difficulties that have been brought to you and your business by this pandemic. We also understand that it may be hard to stay on your toes and respond to the rapid changes in search patterns and trends whilst dealing with everything else. Our dedicated team can help you! Just pick your favorite way to chat and reach out to us.