The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a wave of uncertainty across the entire business community. Small and medium-sized enterprises have been the first to feel the heat, with some scaling down their operations and making advertising budget cuts.
Such cost-cutting measures might appear somewhat reasonable at first, but do you really have to pause your PPC campaigns? That’s one question that many advertisers are struggling to answer conclusively and confidently.
The short answer is: don’t pause your campaigns just yet. Things might not be all doom and gloom after all. There are ways you can keep your campaigns running. Here are some of the things you can do to keep your ads active while keeping your costs to a minimum.
1. Analyze Your Data to Identify Drops and Changes
Before deciding to pause your ads, take the time to analyze your data to determine whether your sales numbers or leads have dropped. Even with the pandemic ravaging the business environment, your PPC campaigns may still be attracting valuable leads.
First, check your impression share, which helps to identify missed opportunities in your account. This metric shows the percent of impressions your ad has received over the potential amount of impressions it could actually have received. If your performance is positive, say 80 percent and above, it’s wise to reduce your budget during this time.
Use the “Auction Insights” report to compare your performance with that of your competitors. It allows you to see the shifts in their average ad overlap and positioning compared to your ads. You can then decide whether you need to slow down or be more aggressive. For example, if you’re way ahead of them in auctions, it might help to reduce your bid amounts.
2. Reschedule Your Campaigns to Capitalize on the Best Performing Times
It’s vital to evaluate your campaigns to determine their performance during specific times. With inputs from Google Search Trends, you can optimize your ads to take advantage of the best performing times.
You can quickly determine the best performing times by going to your Google Ads dashboard and locating the Overview section where you’ll find the Day & Hour chart. Try adjusting the table to determine the day and hour of the week that registers the most conversions.
Proceed to note the 2 or 3 days where you get the most conversions to make the most of these days. You can opt to exclude the non-performing days from your campaign or reduce their bids to reduce your costs during this period.
At the top right corner of your Day & Hour chart, there is a drop-down menu. Click the menu to assess your performance based on non-conversion related metrics, such as interaction rate, search impression share, and view rate.
Related: The Impact of COVID-19 On Newsletter Ads and Online Notifications
3. Review and Adjust Your Keyword Mix
This is also an opportune moment to review your target keywords and determine which are driving traffic to your website. Then, create a new campaign with a mix of keywords that are generating clicks to take advantage of their viability during this period.
While reviewing your campaigns, you need to identify keywords that are costing you the most per lead and pause them since these might not be working in your favor during these crucial times. You’ll be able to free-up money to spend on keywords that are costing less to generate leads for your business.
You can also locate the Keywords tab and open the “More actions” menu. Find the “keyword diagnosis” menu to run a diagnosis on all the active keywords. This gives you a detailed report on their quality score and how they’re being affected, allowing you to identify the best performing keywords.
You can then update your keyword mix to incorporate phrases that can deliver leads at reasonable costs.
4. Analyze Ad Positions to Find Better Scoring Opportunities
How much are you paying for the top four positions? If you’re using Google’s recommendations to make your CPC adjustments, you could be paying more to get to the top four positions. The truth is, it’s possible to get better ad positions for less.
Google Adwords uses Quality Score, an aggregate score that encompasses different metrics, to determine ad positions. The higher the score, the higher an ad is likely to be positioned. Relevance and user experience are the key metrics in determining the quality score of each ad.
Ensure each ad is relevant to your campaign and switch to manual bidding so you can adjust your bids according to your CPC data. Automatic bidding works, and it helps to save you time, but you can’t really control your CPC.
By monitoring the amounts you spend on bids and manually adjusting them as needed, you can lower your costs while still staying in the top four positions.
Related: The Impact and Value of Customer Re-Engagement Amidst COVID-19
5. Evaluate Your Device-Level Performance to Cut Waste
How are you taking advantage of bids specific to mobile, tablet and desktop during this coronavirus pandemic? The good thing is that Adwords allows you to see how your keywords, ads, campaigns, ad groups or product targets are performing by device type.
On your Overview dashboard, locate the chart for performance by device type. You should be able to see how your campaigns are performing on different devices. If needed, you can configure the settings depending on your data. For example, selecting mobile-only campaigns means your ads will only be displayed on phones and tablets with full browsers.
It would help if you first looked at the Cost Per Conversion (CPC). Due to the increase in mobile device usage, tablets tend to have the highest cost per lead, while computers usually have the lowest. You can either eliminate tablets or reduce their bid amounts based on the data.
It’s also advisable to opt for manual adjustment of bids, which gives you more control over how much you want to spend. Experts recommend adjusting bids for devices at the keyword level while taking advantage of the non-segmented data from the keyword tab.
In these challenging times, it’s essential to adjust and adapt to the current situation for your business to survive and possibly grow. The coronavirus pandemic continues to dictate how we carry out daily business activities; however, this doesn’t mean you have to give up on advertising.
PPC campaigns are effective in delivering actual leads for your business, and if they have worked for you before, then you probably need to find ways to keep them running. Cost-per-clicks have reduced by almost 50% across the board, so it’s easy to plan for your ads and make the most of the reduced rates.
With smart bidding and reduced CPCs, it’s possible to lower your cost per lead by 50 to 200% right now. Please take note of all the changes you make to your campaigns during this time, as they can also help you manage your ads better when normalcy returns.