5 tips for dealing with PCP after the coronavirus outbreak

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Advertisers must be prepared to take the hit in an unpredictable world.

With businesses reopening in the United States and around the world in different states of pandemic handling, it’s more important than ever that your PPC campaigns and targeting are on point.

Here are five tips to help you manage your paid search campaigns as the world gradually recovers from the coronavirus.

1. Rotate to Normal-ish

As COVID-19 vaccinations roll out in many countries, directions are constantly changing on everything from social gathering groups and organized sports to how we engage in our office buildings.

The lifting of various bans and restrictions means consumers will be eager to get out and re-engage.

Whether it will be the same as before the pandemic remains to be seen, but it will certainly be a slow approach towards that goal.

Continue to advertise with compassion as businesses and individuals recover and rebuild.

Be aware of what people are going through in the specific regions you are targeting and ready to change your message or creation as conditions change.

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2. Evaluate business value propositions and messages

In many cases, companies can continue to promote their products or services which are more in demand in today’s environment.

How can your product or service be positioned in the face of new and growing trends?

Top trends to consider when pivoting valuable accessories and messaging now include:

  • Vaccinations, safety, mask requirements.
  • Expansion of social distancing guidelines.
  • Long-term return to work or homework.
  • Back to school.
  • Family entertainment.
  • Travel and tourism.

If your product or service is related or can be modified to fit into any of these areas, consider a temporary plan to promote these initiatives.

Additionally, consider scaling virtual services or virtual consultation to a hybrid model where secure collection can be achieved.

Take a look at your current PPC and digital campaigns and determine if the message is still right for you. What could be added to adapt to the changing landscape? For example:

  • Review the calls to action in ad content for “Visit Us In Store” and add hours and security requirements.
  • Display and social ads should always be image sensitive with people in a group or in contact.
  • Continue contactless curbside pickup information.
  • Include shipping information with free, fast and more features.
  • Hours of operation and any deviation from lockout.
  • Messaging about your company’s response to providing healthy environments.

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Some of these messages can be used in the main ad copy, but remember to make full use of ad extensions such as sitelinks and captions to convey the information.

Make sure to include this message clearly on landing pages.

Maintain a brand presence and keep feeding the upper funnel as it can be more difficult to recover later after losing momentum.

It is still possible to recognize the crisis and take a softer business approach.

Don’t make it difficult to pick up later. Everything can happen.

3. Optimize budgets and expenses

Now is the time to reassess your budgets and reconcile your budgets and expenses.

You may want to shift budgets to the products or services that have more relevance as businesses begin to reopen. Be sure to take into account any geographic explosion of activity when reopening the premises.

You will definitely want to shift budgets to the best performing campaigns to maximize results.

Take some tips for managing PPC on a budget.

Take a look at the budget versus actual spend to find budget nuggets that may not have been used throughout the year, and apply them to the campaigns that need them the most.

Depending on the platform, instead of daily budgets, consider metrics like lifetime spend or monthly spending limits to better punctuate campaign spending.

This will save you time for more important account management tasks.

Automated bidding features are becoming the norm, so consider implementing them in Microsoft Ads, Google Ads, and other platforms as the competition begins to pick up.

This allows platforms to automatically adjust real-time CPC bids to match the advertiser’s goals.

This automation feature can help you be more agile because user behaviors change quickly.

Check the re-evaluation of your maximum CPCs while using these features.

4. Consider changing search behavior

While people will likely continue to distance themselves socially, they will continue to find, buy, and live the dream online.

Communicate about the services that can be provided virtually and the turnaround times for service delivery.

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Use ad copy or ad extensions to communicate benefits like free shipping, fast delivery, curbside pickup, porch drop-off, and more.

Negative keywords

Depending on your industry, you’re likely to see minor or major changes in the search queries that trigger your ads.

This will require a two-pronged approach:

  • Reagent: Examine search terms and view locations of real-time campaigns for COVID-19, vaccines, safety keywords and content.
  • Proactive: Predict which searches are likely to trigger your ads and create negative keyword lists that can be shared across all campaigns and easily updated.

For example, exclude keywords associated with COVID-19 such as:

  • Corona, epidemic, pandemic, hospitalizations, death.
  • Vaccine, vaccine locations, brand names, news.
  • Safety practices, guidelines.

A great resource with the latest information on search behavior is Google Trends: Coronavirus research trends.

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5. Reconsider your channels

People will continue to consume news and video content and use online communication tools and map searches more than usual.

Facebook recently reported a 50% increase in messaging, with voice and video calls more than doubling on Messenger and WhatsApp.

With a high percentage of usage focused on messaging, groups, and live broadcasts, Facebook says many of these features aren’t monetized. As a result, they see a decrease in advertising revenue.

Despite this, many of those who previously ditched the platform for privacy concerns are returning to Facebook.

Declining revenues for many digital advertising platforms mean that advertisers have the opportunity to take advantage of reduced competition and increase their market share without changing their current budget.

Opportunities to explore now as people consume more content:

  • Expansion of display ads on the Google Display Network and Microsoft Audience Network.
  • YouTube and InVideo ad placement options.
  • Pinterest for consumers discovering products to buy.
  • Twitter (but with strong consideration for brand reputation issues resulting from negative behavior on the platform).

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When consumers are ready to re-engage, meet them with the commercials they are looking for when they research and use social media.

Be cautiously optimistic! It is good to be prepared for all future developments.

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