Article | April 2, 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak continues to impact the world like never before. Businesses have been hit hard, institutions have been shut down, and people are being made to stay indoors in an effort to slow down the spread of novel Coronavirus.
Nearly all businesses have been dealing with a lot of difficulties right now and the world of PPC advertising is no exception. As the world grapples with the pandemic unfolding in real-time, they turn to online searches and news to find answers to their questions.
This extreme change in people’s behavior has also impacted the change in their online search behavior. While some industries were well prepared for this shift, many are not.
Table of Contents
Has Covid-19 affected your PPC accounts?
Impact of COVID-19 on PPC advertising
- Industries with increased performance
- Industries with mixed performance
- Industries hit the hardest
Ways to adjust your PPC according to the new search volumes
Has COVID-19 affected your PPC accounts?
As of today, the COVID-19 related searches are ranking the most on Google, beating other searches related to news, weather, politics, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
To help track these emerging searches along with other breakout searches that users are looking at, Google has released the Google Trends Coronavirus Hub to offer more insights.
For some advertisers, these new searches have drawn more visitors to their sites, bringing in new customers. For others, however, the results have not been so great.
Wordstream notes that Google search ad impressions have declined by 7% over the last week, which is not uncommon during the holidays. But advertisers certainly weren’t expecting it to happen all so suddenly.
Conversion rates have dropped by an average of 21% since the COVID-19 became an epidemic. Advertisers who acknowledge these changes need to be able to adjust their PPC strategies to keep their businesses agile during these uncertain times.
Learn more: Teesside web advertising firm makes journey into glasgow
Impact of COVID-19 on PPC advertising
Google trends shows that the COVID-19 is on top of mind for most people, especially in the early morning and late at night. Many of us who aren’t fighting the pandemic head-on, often look to some other distractions online or try to carry on with our days as usual. Advertisers can review these searches and prepare to adjust their campaigns to avoid wasting their spend online.
Industries with increased performance
Healthcare and medical
Ever since the outbreak, most of us have turned to search to protect ourselves and the community. In the wake of social distancing and a worldwide lockdown, we’re relying on Google SERP to purchase over-the-counter as well as vital medications. As a result, medical advertisers are seeing a strong spike in their sale of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies with increased ad clicks and higher conversion rates than usual.
Non-profit and charity
The non-profit organization is another sector that’s having a dramatically increased impact due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Charities, non-profits, and social enterprises are working the hardest to help communities fight the COVID-19 crisis. Since the epidemic, this sector has seen
• A 10% surge in search ad impressions
• A 23% surge in search ad conversions
• A 20% surge in search ad conversion rates
Luckily, Google’s ad grants program is working with more than 35,000 organizations to help non-profit use AdWords.
Live-streaming and on-demand media
The phrase, “Netflix and chill”, “Quarantine and chill”, couldn’t be more true and relatable right now. With people practicing social distancing at their homes, we’re consuming more entertainment than ever.
This has led to a spike in the entertainment advertisers’ conversion rates, bringing in more viewers. Safe to say it’s not a bad time for the entertainment industry, as the demand for live-streaming media has skyrocketed and seen a dramatic hike in its conversion since the last few weeks.
Learn more: How COVID-19 Has Impacted Google Ads Results for 21 Industries
Industries with mixed performance
According to Wordstream, there’s no significant change in the search volumes or conversion rates in the industry yet. But there could be some shifts down the road.
Consumers are more hesitant in attending open houses and more reliant on professional agents to schedule an appointment instead. Despite the +15% CPC increase in real estate listings and real estate agent searches in the last month, there has been a -25% decline in the conversion rates. Agents and brokers, however, have seen a 30% increase.
Moving and relocation services have seen an 11% increase in search volume, maintaining a stable CTR, CPR, and CPR.
Both property development and construction industries are seeing a decline in their conversion rates by -53% and -7%, as well as lower search volumes. This could lead up to a decline in real estate supply in the future.
The automotive industry appears to have taken a hit. It has shown a noticeable decline of 30% in the industry with average conversion rates over the past few weeks. Although this can’t all be due to the pandemic, advertisers are seeing a lot of shifts in searchers’ preferences in the automotive market.
Job and education
There has been an increased demand in e-learning and training due to schools and colleges being shut down for at least a couple of weeks.
Given the college application rush over and the upcoming SAT in June (yet to be canceled), prospective students’ behavior on the SERP remain the same.
There’s also an increase in paid search traffic for new career opportunities and vocational training since the last couple of weeks.
Industries that have been hit the hardest
Travel and tourism
It’s not at all surprising to see that fewer people are booking for travel these days. With business, consumers, and government avoiding unnecessary travels, advertisers are finding it hard to convert new searches on their sites.
Searches for flight cancellations, delays and restrictions are also at an all-time high, leaving ads more exposed to curious searchers.
To address this problem, advertisers should:
• Add new negatives keywords for COVID-19, advisory, and cancellation related searches.
• Promote cheaper fares and easy cancellations and adjustments for future travel.
• Suggest travel insurance to your customers to ease concerns while increasing your average sale price.
Search volumes for live entertainment have also reduced by 24%, with a dip in conversion rates by 30%. The need for public safety and social distancing has caused consumers as well as performers to cancel their live shows all across the globe.
Ways to adjust your PPC strategy according to the new search volumes
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions. Here are some of the ways that you can adjust your PPC strategies according to the rising challenges:
It’s important to understand what traffic your ads are getting and add new negative keywords add new negative keywords quickly to prevent your campaigns from reaching irrelevant panicked searchers.
• Closely follow COVID-19 related searches to understand how people are searching online. Leverage Google Trends to see what’s trending the most. The Google Trend Coronavirus Hub is a great place for advertisers to find out users’ priorities and search interests in response to the changing news.
• The flipside to users spending more time online is that you can easily find them while they’re browsing the web. Consider remarketing to your previous customers and website visitors, bring them back to your site and keep your brand in their minds. This way they will be more likely to convert.
While times are uncertain at the moment, it is important to keep a positive mindset and be safe. Make sure to stay in the lookout for any new disruptions caused by the COVID-19 and keep adjusting your PPC campaigns consistently.
Article | April 2, 2020
Nate Burke, CEO of Diginius, a London-based technology company, who specialise in digital marketing and ecommerce solutions, discusses the growth and exciting future prospects for video advertising, particularly for those seeking unique ways to promote products in a saturated online marketplace.
Over recent years, there has been increasing focus on the use of video in just about every marketing context. And as it would seem, all the events and shifts in the market that have occurred ever since have only played into the success of the audio visual format.
Take the coronavirus pandemic as a prime example. Lockdown restrictions and stay at home orders across the globe have catalysed our consumption of video content. For anyone sceptical of this statement, just take the sweeping influx of TikTok users, and consequently, development of Reels, Livestream services IGTV and Stories features across social media platforms.
These video-based formats often provide a more entertaining and engaging way to consume content. And at a time when we have been looking for just about any way to fill gaps while stuck at home, videos have offered moments of escapism and connectivity, despite people never being so physically far apart.
The video content we have consumed has varied from DIY tutorials for making face masks or home renovation projects, through to product reviews and demonstrations for items we would typically like to see in person and in store.
And although restrictions are beginning to ease and these in store experiences can resume, many consumers will have adjusted to the new way of doing things, particularly with regards to online shopping and decision making.
Therefore, no longer is it enough to simply enable the purchasing of your products through an online channel. Rather, brands need to be supporting every step of the customer journey through their digital offerings, including the awareness, research and post-purchase service stages.
And thanks to the continued development of online advertising tools, this is now more viable than ever. For example, the social media features mentioned previously can all be used for advertising purposes too. Whether it’s enticing brand videos posted to your own feed, or promoted via each platform’s advertising network, or even an influencer partnership, whereby a famous face shows your product in action, there are countless ways to get word of your product out there with video.
Similarly, YouTube ads have long been praised for being a cost-effective way to earn greater digital reach through better engagement and creativity. As the second largest search engine in the world in terms of number of searches, it’s easy to understand why video advertising on the platform is so beneficial.
But while it might be one of the largest, YouTube certainly isn’t the only worthwhile search engine to be advertising on. In more recent times, the sophistication of other search engines, including Google and Bing, have created a strong case for businesses to include video consideration in their SEM strategies too. For example, we’re probably all familiar with the increasing favourability and better integration of YouTube videos displaying on results pages. And although this is separate to PPC advertising, it does require considerable effort in terms of SEO in order for videos to rank.
However, more recently, and we suspect moving forward, there is room for the use of video in these traditional PPC search advertising platforms too. In fact, Bing is currently rolling out a video extension feature to its ad accounts, allowing advertisers to include a 6 - 120 second clip in their search ads. On desktop, a thumbnail for the video will be shown to the right of the copy, which when clicked, the video plays in an overlaying window. On mobile, the video simply plays in the frame with ad copy still visible below.
As well as helping to secure greater real estate space on the results page, these videos make ads more engaging and can even enable businesses to provide more information about the brand, product or service beyond what is permitted in the copy.
Therefore, for businesses looking to implement a strong video strategy, Bing can help you maximise the return on investment required to produce such pieces of content. As well as making use of video to improve PPC efforts, the search engine definitely appears to prioritise the format more than other platforms do. Just a quick search for big name brands, such as ASOS and Sainsbury’s, will show you just how easily the search engine integrates branded and user generated video content, when compared to the likes of Google.
Again, with videos that are appropriately optimised, there is great potential to increase the space taken up on the all important first page of results. As well as this, you can provide searchers in the awareness and research stages with greater information and a better brand experience through content in a more engaging format to increase the chances of a conversion.
In terms of PPC advertising, the use of video is at no greater expense to the business. Video clicks are charged at the same rate as call to actions or website click throughs, and like in the traditional form, only the initial click incurs a cost. Therefore, users can click to watch the video, and then press the button to call, enquire or visit your website, and despite having spent more time immersing themselves in your brand, there will be no additional price to pay.
Undeniably, video advertising is becoming increasingly intelligent, providing businesses with much more opportunity to showcase their products in an engaging way, which can help break through the white noise of the saturated online marketplace. But interestingly, I believe this is only the beginning of what is possible with the format, particularly when it comes to PPC in search.
As the retail world recovers from the disruption of the pandemic, and businesses really begin to home in their strategies to accommodate users’ new found preferences in the age of post-lockdown, the creative use of video will become an ever-growing key tactic in advertising.
Article | April 2, 2020
Ahead of the NADA conference in Las Vegas, automotive advertising professionals including Jake Rostollan, executive vice president at Pinnacle Advertising and Neil Gandhi, vice president of marketing at Faulkner Auto Group shared their insights into advanced advertising, the next generation of car buyers, and alternative fuel vehicles, all of which will likely have a significant impact on the future of the automotive sector. Four members of Effectv’s Automotive Advisory Council participated in a panel discussion to dive deeper into these topics at a time when the automotive industry faces widespread disruption and change. To compete, automotive marketers are being tasked with staying progressive and attuned to advanced advertising tactics and opportunities, while at the same time simplifying marketing messages to communicate a dealership’s value.
Article | April 2, 2020
While brands have dabbled in augmented reality (AR) for years, 2020 marks the tipping point where it’s becoming an integral part of marketing strategy, helping create meaningful and emotional consumer connections.
AR has finally grown up; once infamous for gimmicks such as face filters on social media, it’s now a cross-platform tool to build truly interactive environments, compared to VR which requires a headset to create computer-aided stimuli. The figures tell us that the global market is expected to grow substantially from $13 billion this year to more than $67 billion by 2024. The technology is graduating from being used solely for entertainment to providing real-world value and utility for marketers through immersive and experiential opportunities. So – in the midst of a global pandemic – what makes this the perfect time for AR to come of age, and how can marketers make use of its unique attributes?
Extensive investment in the ecosystem is laying the foundations for AR’s long-awaited, mainstream emergence. Google and Apple’s mobile tech stacks, ARCore and ARKit, mean more than four billion smartphones across the world are already AR compatible, and Google now includes AR in mobile search. In addition, the imminent arrival of 5G will dramatically boost mobile connectivity, enabling developers and content creators to use approximately 100 times the bandwidth of 4G to build a new type of experiential, 3D environment where users can intuitively interact with the people, objects and information around them.
Alongside these tech developments, the global COVID-19 context is inevitably changing consumer needs and behaviors, increasing demand for the virtual, contactless experiences that can be achieved through AR. And in the near future, wearable tech such as AR spectacles will also join the party to propel evolution in the space even faster.
Here are four ways AR can be a game-changer for marketing in 2020:
Enabling product visualization
In a world where consumers order everything from clothes to cars online, marketers can harness AR to help shoppers visualize products in an interactive and immersive way that goes far beyond a static image or video. This could mean experiencing what it’s like to sit inside a dream car, watching AR panoramas unfold through the virtual windscreen, or seeing what a jacket looks like on the actual shopper, without them having to leave the house.
Augmented Reality enables consumers to explore customization options and the unique elements that a product can offer. Brands that utilize the technology witness up to 8x longer dwell times, as giving consumers control over their digital experiences boosts engagement levels. For instance, participants at an AR smartphone launch can virtually see and interact with detailed specifications and features of the device. AR is certainly not restricted to just online browsing – it has a real benefit in the physical world too, for instance helping shoppers in stores discover how and where the product was made, just by scanning a code –subsequently helping move them along their purchase journey.
Future-proofing education and development
AR enables a more sophisticated, discovery-based form of learning. For example, students in a classroom can engage with virtual, 3D objects to help grow their understanding of certain topics. Teaching concepts such as orbits in the solar system can be optimized using AR-powered, interactive models. Additionally, AR allows for the gamification of learning experiences, helping to boost knowledge retention through educational puzzles and treasure hunts.
The learning benefits of AR also extend beyond the classroom. In mechanical fields especially, the technology can train people how to complete tasks by superimposing the end result on the version the trainee is practicing with. Implementing AR in professional development cases has shown significant improvements to learning curves, creativity, and spatial awareness. In fact, according to a study by the National Training Laboratories, “learning by doing” has shown to increase learning retention rates by up to 75% compared to simply listening to a seminar or lecture. By progressing education onto understanding and experiencing, as opposed to reading and writing, AR offers huge benefits across the industry.
Invigorating interactive advertising
Product visualization, along with other attributes of AR, can be used to deliver interactive advertising experiences that truly connect with consumers and boost conversions by 40%. AR ad units drive far more engagement and dwell time than conventional media and can give digital display advertising a new lease of life. What’s more, the real-time interaction between user and ad enables advertisers to effectively measure the impact of their campaigns and optimize accordingly.
Advertisers have cautiously experimented with AR for years but they have largely added minor elements to traditional campaigns simply to ‘tick a box’. To make the most of AR’s capabilities and deliver real engagement, marketers need to take a different strategic approach and put this disruptive technology at the heart of their ad campaigns.
Superseding live events
At a time when social distancing makes live events and product launches problematic, AR can be used to digitally create immersive and emotionally-charged experiences that generate buzz around a brand. In fact, AR improves upon the in-person experience by allowing marketers to scale events beyond the natural boundaries of any physical location and enable hundreds of thousands of participants from all over the world to share the experience simultaneously. This will revolutionize how audiences engage with live music and sports events in particular, enabling unique forms of interaction.
By augmenting the user’s immediate environment with a digital presentation layer, AR allows users to interact with players and performers in a way that is not possible with a traditional passive offline event, and to be true participants rather than simply viewers. AR reduces the need for traditional physical events and paves the way for a new era of participative, immersive and scalable online experiences, with visceral and emotional engagement.
The perfect combination of tech evolution, advanced connectivity and contextual circumstance means this is the year AR really comes into its own. By taking advantage of product visualization, interactive advertising and immersive digital events, brands can leverage AR as a game-changer for marketing in 2020.