How to adjust PPC campaigns as we exit the state of emergency

Article preview: The COVID-19 context brought major changes in the way we conducted our professional activity and organized our business. Regarding PPC (pay-per-click) platforms, we have noticed a significant impact on interaction and conversion rates, and for us, as PPC specialists, the standard playbook was set aside, as we had to react in real time. We will soon exit the state of emergency, a moment that will again impact the retail sector. In this article we will discuss how PPC campaigns can be adjusted, but also other strategies that you can consider.

After approximately 2 months of quickly adapting to the new context of crisis, the relaxation of social distancing measures could make us think that we will return to normal or business as usual. However, we are actually talking about a new normal, marked by some important lessons.

First of all, the context created by COVID-19 determined us, marketing specialists, not only to put aside the standard book of good practices, but also to be much more anchored in reality and focused on what people want and need, rather than being focused on sending them messages at predefined times. 

Second, despite the extremely unpleasant situation, we cannot ignore the benefit brought by the speed with which brands have acted on issues that may have been delayed or neglected: ecommerce extensions, website developments, various tools to streamline operations, openness to communicate and to implement marketing strategies.

We will continue this article with some tips for ecommerce (the niche we specialize in Optimized), emphasising on some technical aspects of PPC campaigns. These are our suggestions:

Analyse. What’s your COVID-19 related story?

Whether you are preparing to increase your budget or not in the near future, it is useful for you to understand what was the story of your PPC campaigns in the past 2 months. From the various metrics that can help you in this regard, we would recommend the following:

  • Average daily spending
  • Average CTRs and CVRs (how did the users interact with the messages)
  • Average CPCs and CPAs (how did the advertising costs have evolved)

For a thorough outcome, segment the data by device (desktop / mobile) and audience type (warm or remarketing vs. cold audience or new users). This way, you will observe the new purchasing behaviour trends in detail and you will be able to extract some useful insights.

Focus on profitability

It is difficult to predict how online sales will evolve when stores will reopen and people will be on the move again. Plus, according to a Kantar study, 71% of respondents in the G7 countries believe that their income will be affected by the coronavirus crisis. Thus, we can expect a decrease in consumer power, translated by a decrease in sales. This is, of course, relative to each ecommerce segment.

Therefore, regardless of your vertical, continue to adjust your campaigns based on demand and profitability. Smart Bidding strategies (Target ROAS, Target CPA) are useful in Google Ads. As for Facebook, optimizing campaigns using the Purchase objective helps filtering the exposure of messages to an audience with a high purchasing potential. However, in order to use these to their full potential, you need a relevant data volume. If you don’t have it yet, you can use eCPC for Google Ads or “Add to Cart” for Facebook.

Visibility and focus on Google Shopping (free + paid)

Conversion tracking. Is it still relevant?

The conversion tracking code communicates with Google and Facebook algorithms, sending relevant data on your account’s “success” (ecommerce transaction or micro-conversions such as initiated checkout or phone call).

Make sure all the relevant conversions are registered to your accounts (especially if your business has undergone transformations, e.g., you have had a higher volume of phone calls) and the conversion assignment window is adjusted to your current context.

Adjust messages and visuals

Keep communicating

If you also have an offline presence, announce that you have opened the stores and provide information on the implemented safety measures (how the spaces are being disinfected, how customers are allowed to enter the store, the employees’ equipment, how do you manage a larger flow of visitors etc). For delivering this type of content we recommend the video format. 

In terms of communication tone, focus on empathy and keep in mind that the person who sees your message is not necessarily the end user or the product recipient. You can still address those who want to purchase products for their parents or for the elderly – people who still need to be protected during the pandemic.

We hope you will find these tips useful. Stay safe!

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About Optimized

At Optimized we are specialized in e-commerce PPC campaigns (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads, YouTube Ads). Our portfolio includes online stores and our approach is based on clear performance objectives (CPA, ROAS, ROI). Our team consists of PPC specialists and certified Google trainers, as well as people with hands-on experience in e-commerce.

Our strategies are not generic, but strictly applied to e-commerce. We work with stores that want to profitably scale PPC campaigns, with clear objectives, aware that marketing is an investment.