There is no doubt about it that COVID-19 has taken control of the World. It has impacted her people, overwhelmed the healthcare system, and ruined many small and medium businesses that go with it. As this global pandemic induced, social distancing confined her people and many business owners to their homes for days and months on end seeing places like South Africa, Spain, and America on a National Lockdown for more than 35 days with a possible extension into May and June. At this point in time, Doctors, Governments, and many other industry professionals are not entirely sure of all the answers to the tons of questions that many people may have but what we do know, is that small and medium businesses have felt the change in their campaign performance. All we can say is, thank goodness for the internet to get us through this time!

As businesses take the leap from office to internet, we have seen more people stay at home, making use of the internet trying to satisfy their business needs and find solutions to their burning business questions. Of course, these new searchers are driving new and bigger audiences to find their way to new websites, new vlogs, and ultimately leading them to consume more content but what about PPC and the effects of COVID-19? 

Search is an ambassador for consumer intent and behavior and with world pandemic COVID-19 taking mass control of our lives and restricting our movements, we are seeing a dramatic impact on search behavior, consumer mobility, media consumption habits, and company budgets.

With these ever-changing circumstances, businesses are having to find ways to adjust their marketing campaigns in order to strategically alleviate risk so as to not negatively impact their brand.

According to Wordstream, marketing channels, such as PPC, have already seen a decrease. Reportedly, Google search ads lost 7% of their impressions in just three months of the new decade, starting 13 January 2020 to March 2020. Not to say that that is uncommon, particularly during the festive or holiday season but it was certainly not anticipated by many Advertisers and Marketers to say the least.

Of course, every industry and Brand sees different results with Google Ads and so it’s imperative that we unpack this idea to further understand the effects of COVID-19 on Google Ads before making assumptions or hasty moves.

With these shifts, there is a serging opportunity for SEO professionals and content marketers to ramp up their customer reach by creating content that educates, informs, and drives conversions now to build their brand long term.

Which industries have seen an increase in user performance and customer engagement?

As mentioned before, we have to look at a number of industries to establish the effects that COVID-19 is having on Google Ads. However and not to our surprise, during times of crisis, people’s best intentions shine through, which has left the following sectors booming seeing increases all round:

  • Nonprofit and Charitable organizations
  • Medical 
  • Business Management
  • Beauty and Skincare 
  • Digital Sector
  • On-Demand Media
  • Florists and establishments that deliver “get-well goodies”

Nonprofit and Charitable organizations have seen:

  • A 10% increase in search ad impressions 
  • With a 20% increase in search ad conversion rates

Whilst Health and Medical have seen:

  • Almost a 25% increase in Search Ad clicks 
  • With more than a 20% increase in search ad conversion rates

Proving that many of us are turning to search as our Proxy for information on how to protect ourselves, our children, and our communities around us by scouring the internet for products like soap and hand sanitizer. Ultimately increasing the searches for beauty and personal care by a whopping 41%  

But that’s not all. As people mentally and physically prepare themselves for remote working over the next few weeks and possibly months to come, Wordstream reports that office supply searches have broken the seal. Searches for office supplies have increased by 90%, paid search ad clicks increased by 35%, and search conversion rates increased by 41%

Yet we have seen that some industries are not as ‘fortunate’.

Which industries have seen a decrease?

Newspapers are facing a major delivery challenge, outdoor advertising has almost come to a complete stall, radio isn’t picking up either as more vehicles are off the road and TV isn’t offering viewers with new content.

Marketers have had to postpone or cancel regular campaigns and films that would have been inappropriate to run during times of such a crisis. Scenes of people in crowded cafes or bars, in buses and on boats, people hugging, kissing and being around each other, in a time when social distancing is critical to saving lives, would be insensitive and would promote the wrong message

Other areas that have taken a massive loss are:

  • Tourism and Travel 
  • Building and Construction
  • Restaurants and Bars
  • Sport and Fitness
  • Live Entertainment

All-seeing between a 10 – 50% difference in their Ad performances

Yet, there are a few sectors that still fall within a ‘Grey Area’ so to speak, where industry professionals aren’t sure as to how negatively or positively they have been affected by Covid-19

Some of these industries are:

  1. Real Estate – Whilst borrowing rates are still at a low, we are seeing that search traffic has remained somewhat stable seeing little to no changes to search volume or conversion rates as more potential buyers are bound to their houses with not many activities to choose from, leaving them wandering the internet in search of their dream home
  2. Automotive – with Governments around the world implementing a ‘stay-at-home’ order, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of vehicles on the road and being bought with a 30% drop in the industry over the past few weeks. However, it cannot be exactly determined that the decrease was due to COVID-19 as in some countries, the purchasing of vehicles isn’t high during the month of March
  3. Jobs and education – Schools and Universities around the world have been forced to close for several weeks – months on end, forcing a rise in e-learning and training. Although the classroom has changed, there’s yet to be short-term changes to the performance of higher education advertisers.

The bottom line is that we will have to continue to study the market to determine whether or not  Covid19 has had an overall negative or positive impact on Google Ads. For now, be sure to continuously assess your website performance by tracking impressions, bounce rates, and audience behavior to determine how you have been affected. Alternatively, feel free to pop us a message and we can advise you accordingly 

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