Should You Run a PPC Ad Campaign During COVID-19?

Woman on her phone looking at PPC campaigns during a pandemic

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Why You Need a PPC Ad Campaign During COVID-19

Have you found yourself clicking the buy button on your phone more and more often over the past year? So have many other Americans. Consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. retailers in 2020, up 44.0% from $598.02 billion in 2019, according to the latest Digital Commerce 360 analysis. 

Businesses, restaurants, and grocery stores scrambled and are still scrambling to adjust to the increase in online shopping. Consumers seem to like and even prefer the experience to in-person shopping. If you’re a business that still doesn’t offer an online shopping experience to its customers, you’re missing out on literally millions of dollars.

Simply having an online shopping cart may not be enough, especially if you don’t have a large loyal customer base. You need to be findable and attractive on the internet, and there are two ways to do that – 1. Organic search engine optimization of your company, products, and services, and 2. Pay-per-click advertising on search engines such as Google or Bing.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the second option, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), and what you need to know about running a PPC ad campaign during COVID-19.

It’s Not an Argument – You Need a PPC Ad Campaign During COVID-19 Because It Brings in More Sales than Just a WebsiteBusiness owner planning a PPC campaign during a pandemic

We’re going to be frank; you need a PPC ad campaign running during COVID-19. End of story. But for argument’s sake, here’s why. Remember that statistic earlier about online shopping increasing by 44% since the beginning of the pandemic? That means people want to purchase goods and services online, and if you’re not online, they won’t buy from you – simple as that.

Why isn’t just having a website good enough?

Now that’s a good question. A website that is perfectly optimized to the 200+ factors that Google considers when ranking your site is a great asset on your side. If you’re ranking number one in your industry and market, you probably have business rolling in, but you could have even more when you combine it with a PPC ad campaign during COVID-19 and after.

When consumers are searching with high commercial intent (they actually want to buy and not find “pictures of cute cats”), the first three spots of paid ads and the product listings account for 65% of clicks versus organic’s 35% (your normal website ranking without paid promotion). In other words, two-thirds of people are clicking on paid advertisements versus organic results. It makes sense because PPC is ranked higher on the page than organic results, and people click on what they see first.

We also know that click-through rates for organic results fall fast when ads appear at the top of the result page. In fact, Google Ads reduce organic click-through rates by 10%. You’re essentially shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t have PPC ads running during COVID-19 for your business.

A PPC Campaign During COVID-19 Means Instant Results

If you’re not one of the lucky enough companies to already have a website ranking in the number one organic search result spot, then running a PPC ad campaign during COVID-19 will be your best bet yet. PPC campaigns are equalizers in the sense of time. Organic websites can take anywhere from six months to a year to start climbing through the ranks due to what we call the Google penalty box (new websites are put here to judge legitimacy and quality). PPC campaigns, on the other hand, are like a faucet that turns on instantly.

After setup, you turn the spigot, and the campaign is live, resulting in instant impressions, clicks, and leads/sales. You don’t have to wait six months for something to happen, which is good considering many businesses might not have six months to wait during this difficult time. Running a PPC ad campaign during COVID-19 means, you’re in front of your customers now.

There are a ton of factors that go into competing in a PPC campaign, like budget, quality score, keywords, campaign type, ad extensions, scheduling, and more. However, you essentially have a chance to compete with big national brands instantly without needing a 1 million dollar advertising budget.

Tips for Running a PPC Ad Campaign During the COVID-19 PandemicMan looking at ppc campaigns on his phone during a pandemic

  1. Make Sure Your Industry will Benefit as Results May Vary

We know we said that you need a PPC campaign during COVID-19 because most people are increasing their online shopping. However, some industries might not benefit at this time.

If your industry is being impacted by restrictions placed upon it due to the pandemic and people can’t buy from you no matter where you advertise, you may want to hold off on creating a campaign. Industries currently suffering include travel, live entertainment, events, and sports. Restaurants are also suffering but can use pivot opportunities to provide curbside or carryout options.

Know current restrictions for your industry and test running a PPC campaign during COVID-19while diligently watching results. You can usually gauge the impact and whether a PPC campaign helps your business increase sales in the pandemic.

  1. Change Tactics When Possible

If you are in an industry that can’t supply your main service or product due to restrictions by state or federal laws, look for opportunities to pivot or change course, so you stay afloat until restrictions are lifted. A good example of a pivot that has worked is restaurants offering carryout, curbside pickup, or delivery options in place of dining-in. Running a PPC campaign pushing your other options during the COVID-19 pandemic can save your business.

  1. Do the Math

Just like anything else, PPC comes with a price. You need to figure out how much a sale is costing your business through PPC and whether it outweighs the profit.

For example, if you need 50 people to click on your ad at $1.50 a click to make five sales with a profit margin of $10 per sale, then you are spending $75 for a $50 profit. That’s not sustainable, and you’re losing money. But if your profit margin is $20 per sale and you make $100 profit on the back of $75, you should keep it up.

PPC ads are extremely fluid, and you can often decrease spend over time to increase your profit even more. Talk to an experienced PPC advertiser for more information on getting a PPC ad campaign set up during COVID-19.

  1. Be Aware Of Messaging

It’s easy to want to push your product like there’s nothing wrong so people will buy, but doing this can make you sound oblivious and out of tune with what people are dealing with, ultimately hurting your company.

For example, if you sell luxury cars, you might not want to say, “use your stimulus checks to upgrade to a luxury vehicle today.” People who need to use their stimulus check to pay rent, provide food for their family, or pay for needed services will not look upon your ad with favor, and you will get backlash.

Maybe those people aren’t your target market, but since most people are not traveling because they’re working from home, you’re still not making it relevant to your customer. The point remains – don’t alienate your customers. Be aware of your messaging, and tie it into your audience’s way of life in a sensitive and relevant way.

  1. Constantly Refine Your Campaign

If you’re letting a PPC management company handle your campaign, they’ll do this for you automatically. If you’re doing it yourself, then you need to be on top of your campaign like water on fish. Refining your campaign to reach your target audience at the most opportune time and in a way that entices them to buy is crucial when running an ad campaign during COVID-19. That means setting scheduling, using negative keywords, testing ad copy, and more to increase your sales and reduce spending over time.

  1. If You Can, Offer Incentives To Give You An Edge

If you have room to offer free items or services, do so to give your company a competitive edge. The added value during a time when people are struggling will make you all the more attractive to your potential customers. From free samples to free consultations or discounts, anything can give you a competitive advantage when you’re running a PPC ad campaign during COVID-19.

Start Running a PPC Ad Campaign and See for Yourself

We’ve listed why you should have a PPC campaign during COVID-19 (more people shopping online, increased sales opportunities) and some considerations and tips. Now it’s time to see for yourself whether a PPC campaign during COVID-19 will work for your company. Get started by calling Catapult Creative Media today at 225-590-3310 for a free 30-minute consultation and start increasing your sales.

Meredith Kisow is the lead copywriter at Catapult. She enjoys reading, hiking, and taking way too many pictures of her cat.

Work with Catapult Creative Media Inc. Catapult Creative Media Inc. is a digital marketing and design agency serving clients over the United States but is proud to call Baton Rouge, Louisiana home. Founded in 2007, Catapult provides digital, social and mobile marketing solutions backed by relevant strategy and measurable results. Catapult works the web to their clients’ advantage, launching them to their next level of success.

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