Under the Microscope: The PPC landscape under COVID-19

24 Feb 2021

PPC Under the Microscope

Helen Crompton

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In our 2020 digital marketing round-up, we saw a great shift in consumer habits. With lockdowns being ordered, people digitally flocked to online shopping portals, turning to Google to browse through the latest deals. And there’s no signs of things slowing down in the PPC landscape with Google constantly updating and reacting to current events, behaviours and trends. Let’s put our figurative slide of the current PPC landscape under the microscope to examine a little more closely what’s going on.

What’s the PPC landscape currently looking like?

Let’s go through Google’s latest updates, as they relate to PPC.

Recent Google PPC updates

  • 18 February 2021: Grow clicks and conversions by using responsive search ads: the new default ad type for Search campaigns: Google understands how quickly search trends can change, especially with COVID-19. To help better react to accelerated search trends, Google says responsive search ads can help you reach more of your customers to help grow your business in real time
  • 10 February 2021: Drive more leads from your Search ads: To help you generate more leads, Google allows now you to show a lead form when people tap the headline of your Search ad, rather than guiding them to a landing page
  • 3 February 2021: Bid across accounts with portfolio bid strategies: All advertisers will be able to create and manage these cross-account bid strategies for both Search and standard Shopping campaigns
  • 7 January 2021: New data exclusion controls for Smart Bidding: To make it easy for you to prevent technical issues from impacting Smart Bidding, Google introduced data exclusions for Search, Shopping and Display campaigns – ensuring that Smart Bidding uses accurate data to set the right bids
  • 22 December 2020: Easily see the estimated list sizes of your similar audiences, making it easier for you to find new customers  
  • 16 December 2020: Explanations expands to Target CPA campaigns on Search: With explanations, you can view the reasons for performance change in a single click, so you can spend less time investigating and more time on optimization
  • 16 December 2020: Google Ads Editor v1.5: New tools for ad strength, support for additional recommendations, and image extensions
  • 15 December 2020: Making it easier to see your campaign goals in optimisation score where the score provides personalised recommendations based on your campaign goals
  • 8 December 2020: App campaigns for engagement now available for eligible advertisers globally
  • 7 December 2020: Drive more, high-quality leads with lead form extensions

Managing PPC campaigns through COVID-19

To help navigate businesses through COVID-19, Google wrote this handy Google Ads Playbook. Here are some takeaways:

  • Implement marketing learnings from the crisis into your long-term business strategy to drive sustained growth
  • Base your approach on consumer insights: three search patterns have been identified since the onset of COVID-19: shock, step-change, and speed-up:

Shock (sudden change in behaviour, unlikely to sustain): Quick rise and fall in school-related searches as quarantine orders went into effect

Step-change (sudden change in behaviour, may sustain): Quick rise in exercise-related searches showing signs of stabilisation at elevated levels

Speed-up (acceleration of existing behaviour, may sustain): Acceleration in growth rate of delivery-related searches showing signs of continued behaviour for now

  • Understand the impact to your business 
  • Develop a strategy and take action quickly: pause ad groups and campaigns that aren’t cash-flow positive and set more conservative targets
  • Focus on your most valuable customers
  • Make sure your updated offerings show up in your creative

What consumers are doing online: the data

  • Using multiple devices to go online at unprecedented levels
  • Adjusting routines to be internet-first
  • Searching for critical information and content to meet essential needs
  • Search interest in “online grocery shopping” and “grocery delivery” grew 23% year over year in the US
  • Using technology in a new way to connect with others
  • There’s growing search interest for “stationary bicycles” worldwide – especially in Spain and France – and growth in search interest for “dumbbell set” in the UK
  • People are turning to online videos for help in coping with anxiety and stress
  • People are searching for things to do when they’re bored. Searches for “bored” have spiked significantly in the month of March, and searches for “games,” “puzzles,” and “colouring books” increased considerably during the same period
  • Accelerated growth rate of delivery-related searches
  • Quick rise in exercise-related searches
  • Quick rise and fall in school-related searches as quarantine orders went into effect
  • Searches for “takeout restaurants” have grown over 5000%, whilst searches for “online learning” have grown over 400% in the last year

Source: Google Ads Playbook

Google has made it clear that they want businesses to be able to adapt in real time to the ever-changing search trends and behaviours of searchers – especially in the current climate – with updates like their responsive search ads reacting to consumer behaviour changes. 

In order for you to create the most efficient ad campaigns, you need to stay up to date with Google’s updates and trends, along with knowing how to put together an awesome PPC strategy – that’s where we’ve got your back.

For a friendly chat on all things Google Ads, speak to our PPC agency team to see how they can help your business boom online! 

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