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How Paid Ads Are Performing During The Pandemic

May 21, 2020
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How Paid Ads Are Performing During The Pandemic

The current economic conditions are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a necessary hit for the greater good. However, not all aspects of the economy are suffering equally, and in a few cases, some pockets are thriving. With that in mind, I thought we’d take a look at the world of pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and see how things are doing.

PPC During COVID-19

WordStream, one of the leaders in PPC management software, started to detect a downward trend in Google Ad impressions as early as mid-April. Keep in mind that Google search queries did not show a corresponding dip. Thus, the result of the drop in ad impressions might be attributed to a reduced ad inventory. This makes sense; as businesses see a reduction in revenue, they may compensate by reducing ad spending.

It’s essential to keep in mind that PPC is one type of marketing used by a company in a specific industry. Hence, how that industry has been impacted directly influences how a company approaches its PPC. WordStream notes that industries such as non-profits and charities are seeing an uptick in ad impressions and conversions. In contrast, travel and tourism have seen a steep decline in ad conversions.

What SMA Sees with PPC

The WordStream view is excellent for understanding how things are performing on a large scale. Still, in the end, a lot of it is just faceless numbers. Luckily, SMA has real clients with real people that we get to speak to about their business. So how are they doing?

It’s a mixed bag. The theme for this blog is “everything is industry-dependent,” but in our case, we get to dive deeper into what that means. We have some clients that offer seasonal home repairs, as you might imagine they are still performing well. I attribute this to the fact that their seasonal maintenance is something that cannot be delayed. Additionally, with more people staying home 7 days a week, home repairs that result in a better home are a must.

In the legal world, things are not as good as they once were, but it’s not all doom and gloom. We are seeing a decrease in family law, Google Ad clicks, and conversions. Still, at the same time, we are seeing reductions in family law related searches. So, we can safely assume that the downturn in PPC results is directly related to the downtown in search traffic. As of now, there is no reason to believe that the ad performance will not return to normal once search traffic returns to normal.

What Can Be Done?

If you can afford to stay the course, you should. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of a less crowded ad auction and might result in a better average cost-per-click. However, with some markets seeing a decrease in traffic, you might want to make some small adjustments to your PPC accounts.

Changes to how you bid and the devices your ads appear on might be all you need to adjust to keep your ads performing up to your standards. However, WordStream suggests that for some, it will make sense to explore other ad networks such as Google Display and YouTube.

Trying To Cleanly Wrap It Up

There is no magic pill, nor is there a one answer fits all solution to what we are seeing. I recommend continuing to monitor Google search trends within your industry and creating a game plan.

While it is clear that we are not through this economic downturn, I do believe we will start to see improvements as more and more of us return to work. If you have questions or concerns about your PPC strategy during this tough time, we should talk.

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Jared Stanton

By Jared Stanton

Jared Stanton joined the SMA team in April 2017. He has worn a lot of hats during his time at SMA but has found his permanent niche running the company’s paid-per-click advertising campaigns. PPC allows Jared to make data-driven decisions in the best interest of his clients.

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