We recently presented a deck at the Google Marketing Conference that looks at how to adapt your PPC messaging during Covid-19. As consumer behavior and their search patterns have changed during these times, PPC marketers must also adapt to their customer’s needs.
We’ve included the full video along with the written transcript. We hope you enjoy the show 🙂
00:00 Speaker 1: Hello. We want to show you a deck we presented at the Google Marketing conference that looks at how to adapt your PPC messaging to the shifting consumer behavior in today’s COVID era. So, we’re going to look at sort of how we got here, and then what your ad should really be saying when to know when to change them and how to test them in large scale. So when we look at the evolution, when this first started, we got all these ads that were unprecedented, we’re in this together, all the ads are really the same, to the point there were parody videos about how all the ads looked the same. And when everyone sees the same thing, there was this growing disdain for what the advertisers were saying and who they were. Well, the people wanted to know was, “What’s your service adjustment times? Are you open? How are you helping? Are you cleaning? How do you protect your workers?” But instead, we got, “Hey, we’re here for you.” And sometimes we got, “We’re here for you, and we’re open.” But it is not what people wanted to know. There is no safety information. People wanted to know was, “Are you open? Are you open near me?” Instead, we did not get, “Hey, here’s how we’re helping you,” Right, we got, “Yeah, we’re open, but we’re not going to talk about safety.”
01:21 S1: Now, this is a great ad that talks about what people want to know. “Safe delivery inside your home,” it is an appliance store. “Fast, competent in-house, and safe delivery. Following CDC guidelines with mask and gloves. Store only admits 25% capacity for your safety. Safe environment to see,” etcetera, etcetera. And these good ads that have talked about virtual consultations, contactless options, curbside meal pickup, are rare. When we look at the changing user behavior in searches, adding something you want with safe delivery, contactless payment, contactless delivery, virtual consultation, virtual conferences, these have skyrocketed. And unfortunately, when we look across a lot of ads and even organic results, there are not answers. So, this is what people want. Are you giving it to them? Do you show up for things like contractors who offer virtual consultations? And when we look across channels, there is a lot of mismatched messaging. So, in the insurance industry, you sure you’ve seen one to 50 TV commercials, that say, “Hey, we’re giving a giveback. We are giving discounts to new drivers because people drive less, accidents are down. We have all this extra money. We’re going to do this nice giveback to everyone.” And that is common in TV and radio commercials, but not online.
02:58 S1: So, if you’ve done a lot of work on your TV, have you translated that to your paid search ads? So, here’s how it got here. So, we want to look at is when to change and what you should say. So, unfortunately, most people, they would just ignore everything. The cruise ships made so much news about, here is a floating cruise, no one will even let dock in their country. And yet when most cruise lines brought their ads back, they brought their 2019 ads back that ignored everything. These are ads from July of 2020, they are brand new, and yet they ignore how do you do safety? Are you cleaning? I mean, the cruise industry stocks have taken a beating. When we look at things like Instacart, which has grown significantly. It is just, “Hey, Instacart grocery delivery.” But are you giving PPE to people picking up my groceries? What is the safety consideration of people touching my food? Same with HelloFresh. Uber at least has done some with Uber Eats about, you can get it delivered to your door, use leave at door at checkout, it’s a little more convoluted than some of the others that DoorDash or GrubHub is doing. But it’s something.
04:16 S1: Now, some did remember. Norwegian Cruise Lines, “Your safety is our priority.” Uber Eats, “Order left at your door.” But this is how most people’s CTRs have gone. This is an actual company’s data. They had a nice CTR, schools start closing, it dropped a little bit, lockdown begins, it dropped further. Then they launched a national TV campaign talking about what they’re doing, it went up a little bit, but they didn’t change paid search. One of their big competitors changed their search ads, it really affected their data. So they’re running CTRs at one-third of what they used to. Now, here’s another company. They had a lower CTR to begin with, schools closed, it started going down, lockdown started, they just paused their entire account for a few weeks. They started advertising again, they did okay. A competitor enabled their old ads and it helped them a little bit because now everyone was sort of bad.
05:17 S1: Then they sat down and said, “What do we need to say today?” And they changed their ads. Their CTRs are double, over double what they had previously, right. And then the stimulus checks were sent, it increased and they’re still running CTRs double their previous numbers, conversions rates are the same, due to their competitors being so poor in their messaging, right. So if you get the ads changed, that’s going to help the CTR, it will help the conversion rate to some extent. The question is, does your web page also match this message? Great page, “Schedule a showroom visit. Our showrooms are available at 25% capacity only. Do a video call. Do live chat. Order online.” This shows all the ways, and then we’ve got a “Click here to learn the measures we’re taking to the outbreak.” That’s exactly the landing page people want these days to know how do I safely deal with your company?
06:22 S1: So when thinking about testing these trends, right, and what to look at. Number one, right? We think about the new normal today, ask yourself these questions, what did you change about your business, what did your employees change about how they worked? What adjustments did you make for your and your customer’s safety, right? Most people have gone through this exercise of changing things, they’re not communicating it in the ads, so put this information in your ads, your ad extensions, don’t forget the image adds, right? Update your website with this information. We look across industries right, tech and telecom industries, they waive data limits and fees, businesses were donating profits to various places, food service companies were waiving fees and delivery fees, travel companies made it really easy to cancel flights or do free rescheduling of flights, right? A lot of things were done, what did you do? ‘Cause you’ve probably done something, have you told people this?
07:29 S1: So when we think about when to test your trend, right? In our first chart, we would see, “Hey, look, we came back, we started advertising, we did worse than before.” Well, that tells us our message isn’t correct. If you see a steady decline, tells you you need to make changes. So often what you’re thinking about here is not how to change one ad group right, that’s easy to do, it’s what message do we need across ad groups? Does our headline too need to talk about safe delivery, that we do virtual consultations, that we offer this new call to action, new way of interacting with us? So you’re headline one related to ad group, headline two and three are benefits of working with you and calls to action, so you often don’t want to know this in a single ad group, you want to those trending across many ad groups, maybe even your entire brand and non-brand ad groups. So this is where you can do multi-ad group testing to see these trends, right?
08:35 S1: You’ve got a standard ad, “Hey, our machines aren’t going to replace you, they make you smarter and better, award winning tools, virtual consultations, automated set up, extended trials during the lock down, maybe some discounts,” right? And so you could say, “Here’s our three themes, regardless of the ad group,” put those headlines in 500, 1000 ad groups, 50, if you only have 50, and then aggregate by data. So then once you set it up, you’re trying to see, do people care more about our standard ad, do they care more about virtual consultations, do they care more about extended trials, do they care more about discounts, safe delivery, that you’re offering a discount until X time due to helping them out with their credit card bills or whatever it happens to be, what’s that bigger theme? And then once these are set up, you can use multi-ad group testing, software like Adalysis, pivot tables, whatnot, to read the trends across all these ad groups to understand, this is the message people want right now, but then you roll that out and you say, “Here’s what we need to really focus on now,” but in two weeks from now, a month from now, that may not be true anymore right, as things are quickly evolving and you’ve got a big disparity between Europe and the United States right now.
09:57 S1: So what’s the difference by geographic region? And that’s the kind of trend you want to look at, here are the big things we’re learning, here’s our multi-ad group testing to see which one of these safety messages are we’re helping your message, our give-back message is best for us right now, easy to test and feel that out, then how do we adjust it and do something else? So what’s interesting is we’ve seen a big uptick in ad customizers right now, ’cause people are starting to realize they need to use different data sources, and so, we’ll see somewhere, “Hey, 25% off smart TVs until… ” Ad customizer look up the most popular team in that region, “Penguin’s games, Steelers games, Cowboys games are back on TV,” right? “50% insurance giveback until… ” And then use a recovery date. So these are where if you want to have different messages by geography, by of course, device, some other data point, you can use customizers to make these changes. They were most commonly used in e-commerce or for APRs and stuff, so there’s a lot of good uses of them right now as well.
11:09 S1: So things to think about. If you update your ads, check your ad extensions. I saw an ad the other day where they had made a really nice ad and had adjusted it, but then their ad extension said, “Finalize the deal with a handshake,” completely blew the message they were trying to get into about safety. Watch the trends. Business to business is less commuter-constrained, you used to see that really big spike at 8:00 AM in the morning until 5:00 PM in the afternoon when people were at an office, it’s not as true anymore, you see a lot more B2B searches early morning, late evening and even weekends. Desktop search, of course, is up a huge amount, so if you had been sort of really focused on the mobile and forgotten about desktop in your industry, desktop search is up. Alright, weekend search is up a huge amount. Weekday search is up a little bit, so when your new ad sea dips in their metrics, CTRs declining, conversion rate’s declining, retest it.
12:14 S1: When you see better virus data news, you also may want to introduce than some of your old ads to see, is this working now, do we need the new ads that talk more about safety? There’ll probably be a hybrid of the two for probably six months to a year from now. So the only way for advertisers to navigate COVID and recovery is to keep watching the ads and testing them based upon how users are changing behavior and what they interact with, and the change is really fast right now, right. We can see so many trends in only a few months of time that before could have taken years to see that many trends. Users are responding quickly and changing very fast right now in how they interact with companies, what they want, how safe they feel, do they feel it’s fine to go out, and then the next week they’re like, “Oh, we’re staying at home again.” The changes are really fast, so you have to watch your data trends to say, “We’re getting worse, we need to adjust our message.”
13:18 S1: If you’re looking for software to do this at Adalysis, we can automate a lot of this, make scale easy, testing, easy. And you can do it yourself, it’s a matter of how much time and effort do you want and do you have a good way of doing it at scale or a good workflow process? So think about these changes right, think about what consumers want, what is your safety message? What changes did you make? What changes did you make for consumer safety and your worker safety, have you added new ways of interacting with people, virtual consultations, live chat, so forth and communicate that to users. And by adjusting your ads, to communicate what users need, you should see a marked improvement in your overall data metrics.