The businessowners I’m talking with right now fall into one of two categories – those that are currently spending money on paid search advertising (PPC) and aren’t sure if they should continue, and those that haven’t utilized PPC yet and are hesitant to try a new strategy in the midst of a risky economic climate. (In case you were wondering why I haven’t been talking to anyone who’s confidently using PPC and plans to continue, it’s not because those people don’t exist – it’s because those people are just quietly fueling their revenue growth using PPC and don’t plan on changing their online strategy any time soon.)
If you’re already using PPC as part of your marketing plan, now is the time to double down on your advertising spend. If you haven’t tried PPC yet, now is the time to get started. The search space is ripe with opportunity right now.
In these uncertain times many companies are trimming their marketing budgets, which has reduced search advertising competition. The result is rapidly dropping cost-per-clicks (CPCs). Clicks are much cheaper right now, which means you can get more clicks for your budget as well as go after more competitive keywords that might normally be out of reach. In some cases, we’re seeing clicks priced at 20% of their regular cost.
As an example, here’s a chart illustrating click costs for a sample client of ours. Over the last 8 months, this client has had a CPC ranging from $2 to $4 with considerable variability. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, their click costs have dropped off significantly, hitting as low as $0.82 per click.
If you’ve been using all long-tail keywords, like we have been with the client above who is in a moderately competitive industry, try going after some shorter keywords. Use the data that you generate now to decide whether these keywords are worthwhile to pursue once their cost returns to normal. Do the math on their conversion rates and average order value (AOV) to determine the threshold where it no longer makes sense to bid on those individual keywords to inform your decisions when the market returns to normal.
Fewer advertisers means a bigger piece of the search pie. If you’ve been fighting the battle of low impression share, now is the time to get your ads increased exposure. While this doesn’t mean much for conversion-focused ads, branding campaigns will benefit from this difference. Right now, there’s more opportunity to get seen and generate brand awareness, which is valuable for some marketing strategies.
We already know that search advertising is effective, but right now people are turning to search engines even more than usual to get the most up-to-date information on local businesses and national retailers (like whether they are open for in-store shopping, if their hours have changed, what their mask policy is, etc.). We’ll have to wait to see what the data reveals as we enter the later stages of this pandemic, but there is a strong possibility that this increased search volume is going to provide advertisers more opportunity to reach consumers at a critical point in their purchase journeys.
Right now, Google is giving out $340M in credits to small businesses for future ad spend as part of their COVID-19 Ad Relief Incentive. To qualify you need to have used Google Ads in 10 out of 12 months in 2019 and in either January or February of 2020. The incentive is aimed at helping current advertisers continue their advertising efforts throughout this difficult time. We can confirm that these credits have already started hitting our clients’ accounts.
- Click costs are down dramatically, meaning your budget will stretch much further
- With fewer advertisers right now, you have a greater ability to grab search impression share
- Current search patterns seem to indicate that PPC may be more effective during this recession than ever before
- You may be eligible for an ad credit from Google (free money!)
Looking for more PPC resources for small businesses? Visit our blog for ad ideas, PPC advice, and the latest updates!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging, and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and two children and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!