Most e-commerce businesses are seeing spikes in traffic but can’t capitalise on the windfall, due to severe shortage of capital. Even Google and Facebook are expected to lose over $44 billion in ad revenues this year due to the global shutdown.
Are you spending a large part of your resources on low-funnel targeting and using short-term marketing strategies, such as branded search and remarketing? This strategy is short-sighted. While this may help you maintain whatever customer base this crisis has left you with, the longer the situation continues, the more likely it is to harm your long-term performance.
Managing your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, despite the COVID-19 crisis, has never been more urgent. Consider these strategies.
Managing PPC Campaigns
Let’s dig into some of the most effective ways you can manage your PPC campaigns in these challenging times and use them to your benefit.
Managing Budgets and Ad Spend
The first thing you should be looking at while adjusting your PPC campaigns to fight the COVID 19 crisis is the allocation of budgets and ad spends. Considering you’re already short on marketing funds, you need to shift your ad budgets to the products and services that are most relevant to the current situation. Do not experiment at all and focus only on the campaigns that have yielded results in the past. Also, instead of daily budgets, consider setting lifetime budgets to save up time on adjusting them every single day. Alternatively, you could also use Google’s smart bidding to adjust your CPCs to match your long-term goals automatically.
This also holds much importance in the competitive context. If your competitors are decreasing their bidding expenses, or are nixing their PPC campaigns altogether, you should be taking advantage of it. Don’t be afraid to increase your ad spends when you’re sure about the audience’s purchase intent. As a result, you’re quickly going to be able to capitalise on any opportunities that arise.
Understanding Consumer Search Behaviour
With a major part of the world under a lockdown situation, the average screen time for audiences has increased dramatically. People are now spending more time on their devices and are searching for activities that can be done from home. As the context of people’s needs is changing, so are their search terms. Use this opportunity to highlight services you can provide virtually to your audiences. Keep a check on the trending keywords through tools such as Google Trends, and use them in your ad copies to attract relevant audiences. As a starting point, you can use terms like ‘from home’, ‘free delivery’, ‘take away’, etc. in your copies and observe their effect on your clickthroughs and conversions.
Using the Right Metrics
The metrics you choose to judge your performance mostly have to do with what your short-term or long-term goals are. Ideally, your goal should not just be to stay afloat in these times of crisis. Instead, you should be focusing on generating as much value you can either through your current customers or by acquiring new customers. With that in mind, if you’re still looking at the Cost per Acquisition (CPA) or Cost per Conversion (CPC), you’re on the wrong path.
Keeping a check on your costs while making as many sales as possible does make sense, but in the short term only. Instead, it would help if you were focusing on your ROI and ROAS. Work on converting high-quality leads and developing relationships with them so that once this crisis is over, they continue to provide you value over the long-term.
Refining Ad Message
As discussed earlier, the pandemic has wholly transformed how the market works, and the needs of the customers have totally shifted from what they used to be previously. These times of uncertainty call for a message of trust and empathy on the part of the brands. If you’re able to connect with your audiences on such a note, they are automatically going to relate with your brand and eventually purchase from you. Make sure your ad message is more empathetic than salesy and is built around providing solutions to the problems your customers are facing these days. If you can successfully manage to address their issues with your ad message, you can easily promote your products and services to consumers via targeted and relevant PPC campaigns.
Utilising the Right Channels
Besides search engines, there are hundreds of online channels you can use to run your PPC campaigns. This is particularly relevant in these times since people are using social media and other video streaming channels such as YouTube more than ever. Facebook recently reported a 50% increase in its use for messaging and other purposes. Using a mix of such channels not only decreases competition for you but also helps you increase your overall reach. With each platform, you’re able to get to a different set of audience, and hence your audience pool gets more diverse without an increase in your budgets. Do not hesitate to go for unconventional PPC platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.
The PPC industry has changed entirely over the last month. While no one knows what may be ideal during these times, the framework we have provided will answer most of your questions and give you general directions on how to proceed with your PPC campaigns. Adapting to these changing times is the only forward, and if you’re already doing that, you’re on the right path.