What are the effects and opportunities of PPC Advertising due to COVID-19?
Google and Facebook respond to the greed of some entrepreneurs with policy changes and help SMEs to make up for the lost sales through subsidized online advertising. In addition, we looked at the change in traffic on the major relevant channels and showed a new feature in the Google Keyword Planner.
Policy changes for the major PPC advertising platforms
As many have probably already noticed, there is a shortage of various medical (and non-medical) products in the world. Since this situation is sometimes very dramatic compared to the usual bottlenecks, many entrepreneurs see the opportunity to generate short-term profits from the Corona issue and thus take advantage of the uncertainty of many people.
The big platforms now feel it is their responsibility to take action against these machinations. For example, Google tries to remove all fake news on the topic from the YouTube platform and focuses on reputable sources.
But they also go one step further and prevent advertising measures that want to exploit this uncertainty. Google writes on their blog that they have blocked tens of thousands of ads that should be placed in connection with Corona.
Search engines (Google and Bing)
The two largest search engines specifically reject ads that explicitly use the words Corona, Covid-19, etc. in the ad texts and banners. Furthermore, Google writes, “The double meaning of words like “protection”, “check-up”, “prevention” or “virus” can be problematic in ads. In international campaigns, terms used locally in connection with COVID-19 and regional events should be considered”.
Thus, when designing the PPC advertising, it is essential to ensure that the advertising message cannot be misunderstood, otherwise a rejection can be expected.
Microsoft acts in a similar way and no search ads or shopping ads are displayed for most of the keywords about coronavirus.
Similar action is taken in the Facebook universe. Facebook also names the problem by name: “We put a new policy into effect to protect people from those trying to exploit this emergency for financial gain. This means we are now prohibiting ads for products that refer to the coronavirus in ways intended to create a panic or imply that their products guarantee a cure or prevent people from contracting it”. In some cases, entire advertising accounts are blocked if the violations accumulate. Facebook also makes it very clear in the guidelines which products may no longer be advertised: “Prohibiting exploitative tactics in ads and banning ads for medical face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits”. Thus, on Facebook / Instagram, you must pay close attention to which words are used in the ads.
Big players support the advertisers
Companies of all sizes around the world are affected by the temporary closings of their shops and stores because of the Coronavirus crisis. Not only the physical stores, but eCommerce and online businesses are also affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The large platforms (above all Google & Facebook) want to give small and medium-sized companies, which have been hit exceptionally hard, with grants.
Web traffic increases significantly
In addition to companies, consumers and with them search and purchase behaviour are of course also affected by the effects of the coronavirus. Not only ecommerce enjoys high transaction figures due to closed local shops. In times of social distancing, meeting platforms are also among the big winners of web traffic. Basically, a large part of life for many users has been shifted to the Internet and the platforms there.
In addition to the lamentable losses that companies accept, the situation for advertisers and agencies therefore also offers innovations. Be it new needs online, but also significant changes in user behaviour or the increased use of very specific channels. To track down these phenomena, let’s take a look at two exciting developments and the insights companies and agencies can draw from them.
Back to the PC?
According to a report, the number of visits to the most popular contact points online on stationary devices is increasing significantly, while use via app has not changed significantly.
Home office and social distancing also influence daily routines in this world, so the trend of switching from the small smartphone screen to a notebook, PC or tablet when searching for products, making purchases, or simply browsing is likely to be exciting for advertisers and agencies as well.
Finding for advertisers: The focus on specific devices, such as negative bid adjustments for desktop devices, should at least be put to the test. Even entire campaigns that were saved at an earlier point in time due to poor performance can be viewed in a new light in this context and for the time of the current restrictions in public life.
Reddit is experiencing a large number of users
You can hear and read it everywhere. Many people currently do not know what useful to do with their time. Figures show that pure pastime, be it on YouTube, Netflix, or Facebook, has increased significantly. Another example of such a development is Reddit.
In 2019 the social media platform was able to record a significant increase in visitor numbers of 30% compared to the previous year. A majority of the hits (over 50%) come from the USA, according to Reddit. In the middle of last month, Reddit reported a rapidly increasing number of hits (20-50%) for many of its subreddits.
Finding for advertisers: The subdivision into topic-related communities (those subreddits) makes targeting on Reddit an exciting topic for companies and agencies, which could add an exciting channel to online marketing campaigns in general and very acutely, especially due to the current circumstances.
New in Google Ads: Additional feature for the keyword planner
Last but not least, we would like to introduce you to another innovation in Google’s keyword planner, which can make keyword research much more efficient.
Similar to what some already know from the Keyword Tool, the keyword research tool from Google now groups the keywords. However, Google goes one step further and not only groups the keywords that contain the same term as a certain brand, but also clusters the terms into generic terms. For example, when entering “buy product”, four different generic terms are recognized. This feature is currently in beta and is not yet available for all Google Ads accounts.
The operation of the new function works as follows: If you open a generic term, further finer generic terms appear, which can be removed from the suggestions individually or together. This gives you the option of removing all brands that you usually want to leave out of the SEA keyword research.
This allows you to click together the desired combinations very quickly and at the same time you get a certain overview of the context in which the keywords entered are often searched. The new function is even better than for actual keyword research, the new function is suitable for a list of excluded Create keywords. This is particularly important if your own Google Ads / Microsoft Ads account is not only managed with exact-type keywords. Although there are tons of lists on the Internet with terms like “free” etc. that are expected to have a low conversion rate, individual negative-type keywords should also be used.
Most importantly, competitor brands should be excluded if you want to avoid high CPCs and potentially angry competitors. Whether or not it is a good idea to also exclude retailers will be decided on a case-by-case basis. In some industries it makes perfect sense to also include keywords for retailers. For example, users could be convinced of their own ecommerce store if they do not know it yet. Especially now that some local retailers have had to temporarily close their doors.
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