Managing pay-per-click ads during a crisis

Research how search terms have changed, communicate your benefits, review current ad copy, maintain your brand

Today we’re going to take a deeper dive into Google Ads and the changes this online platform is experiencing.

Maybe you run your own Google Ads account or maybe someone does it for you – either way, this information is very relevant.

If you use Google Ads to advertise your business, ever since the COVID-19 crisis really hit Canada about mid-March, things have changed. The global pandemic has meant consumer behaviours are changing and adjusting.

Amidst all of the current adversity, you don’t want your ad campaign to make it seem like you don’t care or you’re trying to profit off of other people’s misfortunes.

Here are tips on how to confidently use pay-per-click (PPC) Google Ads as a marketing strategy:

Research how search terms have changed

Google notes that there are more and more search terms being used for words and phrases like:

  • “can you freeze” or “can you store” different types of food; if you’re a food blogger or recipe creator, this is really your time to capitalize on those search terms;
  • “delivery” or “curbside pickup,” so if you’re able provide that, then use those search terms to advertise;
  • “mortgage suspension,” so if your business is somewhere in real estate or mortgage services, start experimenting with those words and phrases;
  • “home school options,” “family entertainment” and “medical supplies and services,” so if you’re business is anywhere in these sectors, retool your advertising to reflect these search terms.

Try to think of where your company can utilize some of the changing search terms to drive traffic to your website.

Communicate your benefits

If your customer benefits have changed, make sure your ad copy reflects those changes. If you’re offering curbside pickup, reduced hours or porch drop-off, now is the time to make sure your ad copy reflects that.

It’s really frustrating for your customers to search for you online, find your ads, click on your website and it doesn’t reflect the current pandemic.

Use your paid ads to show the different ways you’re combating the pandemic and the ways you’re serving your customers. This isn’t something you can ignore with any of your online advertising.

Review your current ad copy

Make sure that you have removed all “Visit us in store” language. If your language talks about service calls or home visits, that will need to be revised as well. Talk about what you currently do, using phrases such as “online orders,” “contact-free quotes” and “door stoop delivery.”

If you have display ads running, take a look at the photos and make sure they depict circumstances consistent with the two-metre physical distancing guidelines, and that there’s no shaking hands or hugging. You want to be really respectful of the current situation.

If you list your hours of operation as an extension and they have changed due to the pandemic, then change the wording on your ads. Use phrases like this to reflect your changed circumstances: “limited staff,” “limited hours” and “online order system.”

People are searching the Internet for delivery or curbside pickup options with most things, so if you offer these options, use one of your extensions to talk about it.

Try not to lose your brand presence

No one knows how long this pandemic is going to last, but some hope that by July or August we are getting back to some sort of new normal. If you were previously using Google Ads, it’s important to retain a brand presence through the pandemic.

Adjust your budget but try to keep some of your top-performing search terms so you can bounce back afterwards, so it won’t take you as long to recover.

As you change your messaging and adjust your ad campaigns, remember search terms are down across industries. And so are conversions, according to data compiled by marketer and author Neil Patel.

Right now, all we can do is be creative with our advertising. Try different messages across the board and track where you’re seeing the greatest results.

Donita Fowler is an online marketer who supports entrepreneurs in their quest to be the boss of their online platforms.

Donita is a Troy Media Thought Leader. Why aren’t you?

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