Don’t Pause, Bid Down: Finding Value in Search During Coronavirus

Donutz Digital is a digital marketing agency who specialise in Marketing performance. They optimize marketing manager’s digital acquisition engine and boost their overall ROI using Pay Per Click campaigns, SEO, data and campaign automation. Robbie Deighan, PPC & Analytics Expert at Donutz Digital from the Talent Garden Dublin campus spoke at Ireland’s first TAG Talk to share his expertise about how the coronavirus has changed the world of search and how your company can adapt successfully through the use of SEO and PPC.

In case you missed it, here are 4 key insights from Donutz Digitals’ TAG Talk.


1 | Prepare For Digital-First Rebounce 

The Interactive Ad Bureau published a survey and their results are key for companies who are continuing with Google Ads campaigns. Traditional media budgets have been cut by bigger margins than digital media budgets over the last few weeks. April’s budget cut is bigger than March’s for traditional media, while on digital the budget cut is set to be lower than March figures. The conclusion summarises that digital media (for example Google Ads) will rebound quicker than traditional media. For marketers, it is vital to understand the importance of these trends, as the data proposes that the recession will end for digital media before traditional media and therefore it is a smart business decision to focus ad spending online.


2| Managing Search is Key to Optimize User Experience

Staying active with PPC or SEO can boost ROI. As the number of companies advertising online has dropped significantly, CPC is reduced for those who continue to advertise online, which is ideal if you are using SEO and organic marketing- less paid search above your product will result in reaching more potential customers organically, depending on the industry you operate in.

To maintain activity online during this time, it is inevitable that you must adapt to the coronavirus’ impact on business. Many consumers need reassurance that your business is trustworthy and safe and therefore your website needs to communicate whether you are still open for business through using live chat functions or providing correct contact information. Ensure that you review your search terms report regularly and it is advised to add coronavirus/covid-19 to it as it can add negative connotations and be triggering to some users. It is common knowledge that you should be unwilling to pay for visits and clicks if the user is unlikely to take a valuable action on your website. In addition, even struggling industries are still actively using SEO through taking the initiative to create new webpages. For example, many hotels in Dublin have created a web page dedicated to coronavirus procedures, so through bundling all relevant information clearly on one page optimizes user experience and communicating safety in the workplace.

Studies suggest that over half of searches do not end in a click- for example when using Google to find a company’s phone number, it usually is visible on the Google My Business (GMB) so users do not need to visit their website. As demonstrated in the example, most users take their lead from GMB as it pays to put time and effort into optimizing your profile for the rebound. Using GMB goes hand-in-hand with changing your website messaging- if you are going to tailor messaging on your website, you should add it to your GMB to achieve the full effect. During coronavirus Google has been making changes to their services and GMB is no different. Here are some changes that Google has recently made to GMB:


  1. GMB shows if your store or office is temporarily closed due to lockdown
  2. It allows business to post any special hours open outside the norm
  3. It also allows for Covid-19 update posts.


3 | Be Strategic With Your Budget

It is key to focus your attention on what is working best for your company. If your budget is set to be reduced (as most are) cut down on lower funnel activity. Keep the focus on prospects using relevant keywords and people that are already more likely to convert in order to remain efficient with a low budget. If your company is pausing search, it is best to pause the dynamic campaigns that use broad keywords as opposed to your marketing campaigns where the prospects are most likely to convert. Double down on exact keywords using SEO.

Due to these budget cuts, Google has had to provide incentive for companies who are cutting their budget to use their services. Google shopping is useful for businesses who are selling products and aim for their products to feature at the top of Google search results. Essentially, Google shopping is paid listings where companies have to register a Google Ads account and run a Google shopping campaign. With the introduction of the coronavirus Google is opening its Google shopping feature to all businesses for free, with the reasoning being an act of good faith for physical stores that have been closed because of lockdown. These actions are mutually beneficial because if Google can demonstrate the power of shopping through Google shopping it allows their shopping offering to become more competitive once businesses see results and therefore attracts more advertisers to turn to paid advertising campaigns. This is transformative for SEO and search in general and is an invaluable tool for companies to take advantage of throughout coronavirus for maximised awareness to key prospects.


4 | Find Opportunity Within the Crisis

In order to come out the other side it is important to see this time as an opportunity. There has been a clear drop in the use of Google Ads during the coronavirus as Google reports the slowest revenue growth in 5 years “In March, we saw a significant and sudden slowdown in ad revenues”. This shows an increase in search volume but less companies using Google ads. However, this is a strategic win to companies who continue to use Google Ads as there is less competition resulting in cheaper CPC and more visibility to consumers. Therefore, continuing with Google Ads is favourable as traffic is cheaper than ever before and if costs are an issue ensure, bid low and set low budgets and later in the day you will be sure to be picking up cheap clicks. 

This time also allows you to make tweaks to your digital marketing functions that are usually put off as they are too time consuming. In industries where traffic and conversions have fallen, now could be the perfect time to identify and implement SEO changes, in order to be best prepared for the rebound. Positive SEO tweaks can often lead to temporary dips in traffic as Google takes some time to recognise the value of the fix. Therefore, when rebound starts your website will be well placed after making the SEO changes.



Robbie presented this topic in his TAG Talk on May 5th, 2020. Rewatch it here.


Photo Credit: Donutz Digital

TAG Talk based on Donutz Digital’s blog post.

15 May 2020

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