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Managing Your PPC Spending Through the Coronavirus Outbreak

 In PPC, PPC Optimization

Coronavirus PPC Update

3 Data Points on How the Media Buying Business is Performing During the Crisis

Last week, we posted an overview of how the Coronavirus outbreak is shaping PPC strategies across the country. As the crisis escalates and marketers and businesses begin to settle into a new reality, our team has compiled a new set of insights on how the media world is adapting to Corona.

Theory Confirmed: Search CPCs are Dropping. Across a diverse set of PPC accounts, OpenMoves so far has observed a drop in overall average CPC of about 47 cents, or 13.4%, comparing the week of March 16th to the same time in February. This confirms our theory that media prices are at a discount now for advertisers with the time horizon and cash positions to sustain operations short-term.

Even in Hard-Hit Categories, Consumers are Still Researching. Below is Google Ads impressions vs. cost chart for a business that found operations and sales go to near-zero during Corona, due to the nature of the business. Even at a time when consumers were not buying at all, demand in the industry in clicks and impressions was strong and stable. In other words, don’t expect that even in badly hit industries like travel and entertainment that consumer demand is gone – the buying intent has just been delayed.

Lots of Ecommerce Players are Still Hot. Below is a Google Analytics revenue chart showing YoY sales for a luxury fashion ecommerce store. March is on track to be a strong month with over 40% in YoY revenue growth. This isn’t a business selling staples or medical supplies – just a normal fashion brand that adapted quickly to Corona messaging. People are still shopping and buying online in many ecommerce categories, especially with brands that have the right messaging and promotional strategy.

How to Manage Your PPC Spending Through the Coronavirus Outbreak

With the recent escalation of the Coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent impact on the broader economy, many OpenMoves PPC clients and the PPC industry as a whole is wondering how best to proceed with marketing plans.

Here at OpenMoves we’re wishing you, your family and your business good health during challenging conditions. In this post, we’ve assembled a number of concepts and opinions on how to proceed effectively with your advertising through the virus outbreak.

Avoid Opportunistic or Tone-Deaf Messaging

Many businesses are facing short-term downturns as the Coronavirus shuts down travel, shopping, and events and consumer confidence is low. There’s a temptation to adapt aggressively, but brands should be cautious of appearing opportunistic. In short, don’t run a “virus sale” or message too bluntly about your business and products during the outbreak.

Further, consider also adjusting past marketing plans and promotions to not appear out of touch or tone-deaf. For example, a “spring break blowout sale” right now will clearly seem tone-deaf. Many OpenMoves clients are adjusting promotional messaging and advertising content to be situation-aware without being opportunistic or crass. For example, messages that promote positivity, family, and safety should be effective and received well in the current climate.

Expect Widely Variable Impact Across Industries

The impact of the virus will be felt broadly across the economy, but the degree of impact will range greatly. Clients with any business in travel, tourism, events will be the worst impacted. Other real-world based businesses such as restaurants, retail shopping, and sporting will also be hard-hit.

B2B advertisers will likely feel some impact, but may generally consider that business proceeds as usual, with likely some general downturn across the board. OpenMoves has many B2B clients that are for now simply proceeding with existing plans.

B2C ecommerce appears for us to be a mixed experience so far. Some clients are seeing aggressive downturns in results as consumer fear and very poor market results limit spending. On the other hand, some businesses are actually seeing a lift as consumers do more spending online to avoid being outside.

Expect Paid Social Impressions to Rise

We are expecting anomalous conditions across all paid social platforms and expecting usage and impressions to rise. With more people staying in, working from home, and checking on the news and their families, big platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others are likely to see usage increases.

The impact for PPC advertisers is hard to predict and probably will be unique to each business. A simple takeaway would be that despite current conditions, your ads will continue to reach your audience and in fact, may have more reach than ever. Because of this, be sure again to consider message and tone.

Communicate with Your Customers Clearly

Your business has probably already issued a statement about COVID-19, but if not, it’s time to act fast and make sure your customers and users are aware of your plans and the impact on products and services.

Many OpenMoves clients are looking at ways to incorporate this type of communication into existing media efforts, for example by adding Sitelinks in Google/Bing Ads and incorporating a clear message on landing pages.

In general, you want to reassure users that your business is operating normally – or else tell them how Coronavirus has impacted your business and your plans for business continuity. Even if there’s really nothing the virus has changed about your operations, a simple message stating that you are operating as usual and wishing the user good health will help to reassure customers and keep media performance as steady as possible.

Make Data-Driven Decisions Even Under Pressure

Despite the obvious concerns about public health and business continuity, there’s no reason that businesses should make snap decisions to stop advertising. It’s important for business leaders to make data-based decisions even with major market pressures in play.

If your PPC campaigns are still running and still performing, and your business is able to operate, there’s no reason to stop advertising. If some campaigns are performing well and others not, then make the decision to scale back on losing campaigns during the outbreak.

Finally, don’t be scared to scale working campaigns even during the outbreak. After all, life and business continue despite the circumstances and many consumers will be at home, bored and looking to shop, engage and share.

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