Covid-19 – what PPC advertisers should expect

By Rashed Khan / Ppc / March 16, 2020

As Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is increasingly spreading more rapidly in the UK, the uncertainty has caused a lot of hysteria and general panic in the last few days. While the government decides on the best way forward for the country, many businesses are having to consider what their strategy should be amidst the hysteria.

Corona Virus

Searches in the UK for Covid-19 have shot up recently as the number of coronavirus cases increase daily. Of course, some business niches are likely to be hit harder than others, while some may even end up benefiting. Several businesses have decided to let their employees work from home, and many people have taken them up on their offer. Amazon has offered unlimited sick days to those in quarantine due to the Corona virus.

In this blog, I’ll be looking at how I would expect some niches to be affected by Covid-19. Before that, though, let’s look at two tips on what PPC advertisers should be considering at this time:

Tip 1 - Review search terms

As there is a massive amount of interest around the coronavirus and Covid-19, it is worthwhile keeping an eye out on your PPC search terms reports. Searches during a time like this can be unpredictable, and people may end up searching for the impact of the coronavirus around your niche. For example, your travel businesses may pick up traffic from people searching for the impact of the coronavirus on the travel industry. If you’re bidding on your long-tail brand searches, then you may pick up some clicks form people searching for your ‘brand + coronavirus’. This traffic is very unlikely to lead to a conversion, and so you should take steps to block it out.

Tip 2 – Review advertising budgets

If you’re in a niche that is likely to be hit the most by the corona virus and people are just not buying, then is it worth spending money advertising on PPC? Perhaps not. It may be a wiser option to save your advertising budget and then spend more money when the coronavirus problem subsidies and business goes back to normal.

Holiday and Travel

If you’re in the travel industry, then, unfortunately, you’re likely to be hit quite hard. Our holiday and travel clients are already seeing a reduction in sales and leads as uncertainty around how long the coronavirus will take to stabilise hits their bottom line.

It is already not a good idea to be in a large crowd because if one person in the crowd is infected by the coronavirus, then there is a good chance that they can pass it to multiple people at once. This is persuading people to stay at home.

America has suspended travel from several countries in Europe. To begin with, the UK wasn’t on this list, but it appears as though this may change. This is likely to aggravate the panic and hysteria further. It will also increase the chances of people deciding to put off the holiday that they had planned.

As the panic fades, travel/tourism leads and sales will likely come back. It is also common for there to be a flurry of sales after a weak performing period because there is now a backlog of people wanting to go on holiday.

Face Masks and other preventative products

I’ve already been served YouTube video ads selling face masks to protect customers from the Corona virus. Paid social advertising or YouTube video advertising is popular among drop shippers. It is clear from the website template being used that the advertiser that served me the YouTube video ad on protective masks was running a drop shipping business. I’ve seen the website template being used by several drop shipping advertisers.

Google Trends Face Masks

Where one business loses out, it is common for another business area to benefit. I’ve seen a massive increase of people wearing face masks as a preventative measure, and it is often gets mentioned on social media as a safety precaution. These savvy marketers are making the best of the situation by capitalising on the interest in face masks.

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Retail footfall

Retail businesses are likely to see a reduction in footfall as people are encouraged to stay home. There is a danger of the coronavirus spreading in crowds which is likely to deter shoppers from wanting to visit a retail store unless it is necessary.

Having said that, there does appear to be a lot of panic buying as people purchase essentials like toilet paper, rice and pasta. We will discuss this later in the blog.

eCommerce

While of course, the coronavirus is something that the world needs to rid themselves of, eCommerce businesses may stand to benefit the most from it. This is because even though more and more people decide to quarantine themselves and go out only when it is necessary, the need to shop and purchase resources is still present.

This means that some people may choose to turn to the Internet to purchase the items that they need.

Cleaning products and toilet paper

As the Covid-19 virus spreads, interests for hand sanitisers and other hygiene products has skyrocketed. This is as concerned shoppers take measures to protect themselves from potentially catching the coronavirus.

Google Trends - Hand Santiser

Stock levels are low as supermarkets sell out of their hygiene products. Advertisers who sell hygiene products are likely to see an increase in sales, and it would be wise to ramp up marketing in this area so that your hygiene products get found. We’ve already noticed an increase in prices on hand sanitisers on Amazon as sellers take advantage of the low stock levels.

Toilet paper and essentials

In the UK there has been an influx in interest in toilet paper. As people prepare to quarantine themselves, they are purchasing essential everyday products that they will likely need.

Google Trends - Toilet Paper

This has resulted in a rapid increase in sales for toilet paper. Many supermarkets have already sold out. This means that advertisers who still have toilet paper to sell are likely to see an increase in sales.

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Covid-19 – what PPC advertisers should expect