We all know about the shift in ecommerce spending due to COVID. While the trends have shifted by geographic area based on various levels of reopening and comfort levels with in-store shopping, it’s still clear that online shopping will remain strong for quite some time to come.
This leaves many small to medium-sized businesses in a quandary. Many are dealing with the impact of the economy and don’t have the extra funds for advertising. Others are now facing higher competition within the same online retail space. For example, one of our clients is seeing Amazon bid on their brand terms now, which has caused their CPCs to increase, impression share to decrease, and ultimately and most importantly, a decrease in website sales. However, an online presence is more important now than ever. And the quandary continues.
Unfortunately, the uncertainty of 2020 will only continue as we deal with school openings/closures, the election, and a very unusual holiday shopping season. So, what can PPC marketers do to help either their own company or their clients during this unpredictable time? Let’s take a look at some of your options.
Re-Evaluate Your Campaigns
Ask yourself if your current marketing efforts are still meeting the needs of your prospects. Here are some places to take a look at:
Data Date Ranges
Trends over the past 30, 60, 90 or 180 days will really vary based on the lockdown periods for different geographies across the US and the world. Just keep these in mind when evaluating results.
Look at your campaign objectives and every single setting, bid modifier, etc. and think through them. For example, maybe you have limited your ad schedule to store hours, after work hours, or past peak performance times. With odd work from home schedules, you might be missing out on new ideal buying times. And then, who knows if your bid modifiers are still working the way you intended them to? Take time to really question every setting to see if it still makes sense.
Key Ad Messages
Your past key selling proposition might not be as strong anymore. Shipping times and costs are now more important to consumers than ever yet we’ve all seen how unreliable shipping has become. Maybe you need to test new or softer CTAs. Perhaps needs have shifted in 2020 so that you need to drive home a different key attribute of your product or offer.
Dig into your keyword performance over the past few months to see if you can uncover new trends in regards to clickthrough rates, conversion rates, etc. You might discover some new shifts that could create keyword expansion opportunities. Since so many people have encountered so many significant life shifts this year, there might be new or different ways to reach your audience as well.
Directly related to that train of thought, take a look at your search terms to see if you can discover new keyword opportunities or hone in on additional negatives to exclude.
Now might be the perfect time to reconsider testing a new strategy or two. You can create experiments to control the budgets and time frame easily. Some ideas include testing smart campaign objectives or bidding, ad formats or even a new channel. For example, you might not have ever tested a channel like YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest or Quora, but with social media use on the rise, you might find a new perfect niche.
Now that we’ve taken time to look back to fully evaluate performance, make sure you keep looking forward as well. We live in very uncertain times, but there are steps you can take by planning ahead and being prepared.
Use Automated Rules and Alerts
Re-evaluate your internal and client communications and planning to make sure you’re all on the same page, especially for the upcoming holiday season. Review plans, tests, new initiatives, budgets, and anything else you can ahead of time. Make adjustments to help everyone stay on track and in the know. For example, weekly action item lists or very specific subject lines can keep everyone aligned in an ever-changing time.
Stay in Touch
Keep on top of what our colleagues across the PPC industry are seeing. We have such a great PPC community out there that is willing to share their wealth of knowledge. Check out our list of top PPC blogs to follow, read up on #PPCchat online or read our (or others) weekly recap posts. Just set aside time to make sure you’re up to date on the latest in our industry, especially any channel betas that could be game-changers for your business.
Right now, numerous companies are coming out with ways to help you prepare for Q4. Here are a few:
Google: Visit the Think Retail on Air site to see upcoming trainings with a focus on online sales. If you are planning for the holiday season, there is one coming soon you’ll want to check out.
Facebook: This channel offers a variety of ongoing trainings. Contact your rep for a full list. One that might be of interest for ecommorce folks is Virtual After The Click Holiday Edition.
Microsoft Ads: Stay on top of tips by reviewing their blog.
Be Flexible, Yet Diligent
The key here is that no one knows what is coming for the rest of 2020. All you can do is your best to modify, adapt and change as needed while staying calm and using your experience and gut to keep you pushing forward.
What are you doing to address this unprecedented year in your accounts? Have you seen any new trends? Comment below to share!