The Effects of COVID-19 and Search
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has affected everyone’s lives, and it has proven to have a deep effect on search engines and search behaviour.
Firstly, Google has put restrictions on advertisers trying to capitilise on the Corona virus, restricting advertisers from advertising items like face masks, hand sanitizers and more. This is done in order to curb people inflating prices on these sorts of items and also in order to curb any potential false information on the virus.
E-Commerce sites are also feeling the effects of the virus as potential customers (who are feeling the pinch of economic downturn) do not have access to delivery of items bought online. This is resulting in e-commerce sites seeing users come to the site but a downturn in actual sales.
Travel and accommodation advertisers have completely stopped ad accounts in this time due to restrictions on travel. Users are not allowed to travel hence there is no need to spend money on ads where there is no possibility of a sale.
There are a lot of negatives when looking at advertising on search engines during this time, but there are also positives and opportunities, which we will list below:
Impressions/Search Volume: While we have seen a drop in conversions numbers and conversion rates there has been an increase in impressions and search volumes. People are confined to their homes and are spending more time browsing the internet. They are researching and browsing sites, possibly making plans for once lockdown ends, or prepping for future projects. Either way there are increased eyes on sites and this opens the doors for other options.
Remarketing: With the increase in search volumes now is a great time to start populating your Remarketing lists. This will allow you to remarket to users who have been browsing during lockdown and remind them of their interests once lockdown has ended. The increase in impressions and search volumes will allow your Remarketing lists to populate faster and allow you to have customers ready to advertise to. Start preparing your messaging now, design any image ads and prepare any specials you may want users who are showing interest now, to see once lockdown ends.
Branding/Awareness: Right now is a great time to setup branding campaigns to try capture the interest of users browsing. Strategies could include Facebook image ads and also focusing on Google Display network ads. Facebook and Google Display networks tend to have a lower CPC than other platforms and right now may be a great time to get an influx on curious users for a low budget and low CPC.