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Amazon & Google: Affects Of COVID-19 On Digital Marketing

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My father always said “Time is a flat circle”, meaning the more things change the more they stay the same. At this point in time, it can’t more apparent that this isn’t true. We are in unprecedented times where the only thing we can expect is uncertainty. This is equally true within the digital marketing landscape for the time being.

Amazon

We are already seeing the effects of COVID-19 in Amazon’s digital strategy taking drastic measures. Amazon at the moment has completely pivoted away from Google Ads and is focusing on providing customers with necessary goods.

 Amazon said in their statement, “We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result, some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers. For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.” According to Amazon, this will be in place at least up until April 15th, now what effect does this have on you and your accounts? First off you will be seeing a drastic change in the cost of search terms and the number of impressions. 

If you are working within the industries that Amazon is focusing such as household items, you will see a significantly high CPC and a lot more traffic coming through. For the rest of us in the eCommerce world, the CPC’s will be dropping due to the fact that you will no longer be competing with Amazon. As well as the complete halt to advertising on Amazon, especially for vendors, as a whole due to the fact that Amazon has put priority shipping on items deemed necessary.

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Google

The most obvious thing to expect is an overall slow to spend being put into Google. This is to be taken with a grain of salt, the big players within each industry not directly effected by COVID-19 will still be there, but the mid-level and below spending companies will be reducing campaign spend drastically. We have already seen the effect of companies shutting down for the foreseeable future with Google posting a statement about the best processes for doing this. For those who just want to shut down their website, this is the last thing that google recommends. “This is an extreme measure that should only be taken for a very short period of time (a few days at most), as it will otherwise have significant effects on the website in Search, even when implemented properly.”. For those who need to shut their doors and turn off all activity and purchases on their site, Google has provided the instructions for those who need to shut down business for the time being. 

  • Disable your cart.
  • Inform Your Customers.
  • Inform Google

As for performance we have seen thus far on Google, total spend on the platform has dropped year over year as well as conversion rate. Now we aren’t anywhere near where panic is the only reaction. There is still room for growth I have seen clients who are performing very well over the past two week s and are looking to expand their search and shopping budgets on google for the rest of the month. Second, we don’t know how long this will last. Which means those who have opportunities for growth and high performance, take advantage of it, and those who are facing a drop in performance, buckle down. 

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For those who are managing accounts that are uncertain of where to go and what to do, check out Ryan Opal’s blog, Methods for PPC Success in Times of Uncertainty.

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Amazon’s AWS logs third outage this month, affecting Slack, Epic Games Store, Asana and more

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Amazon’s crucial web services business AWS is experiencing problems today, with issues affecting services like Slack, Imgur, and the Epic Games store for some users. It’s not looking good if you’re working from home, with some Slack users unable to view or upload images, and work management tool Asana also hit by the outages. As of 6:13 AM PST, Amazon said it had restored power to affected servers, but users may still experience issues going forward.

In an incident update, Slack said its services were “experiencing issues with file uploads, message editing, and other services.” Asana said the problems constituted a “major outage,” with “many of our users unable to access Asana.” Epic Games Store said “Internet services outages” were “affecting logins, library, purchases, etc.”

It’s the third time in as many weeks that problems with AWS have had a significant effect on online services. Two incidents earlier this month involving AWS ended up knocking out a huge array of platforms and products, taking out streaming sites like Netflix and Disney Plus as well as smart home devices like security cameras from Ring and Wyze.

Today’s outages seem less widespread but still notable, with some users unable to access services entirely and others merely experiencing intermittent faults. DownDetector.com shows reports of issues with the platforms mentioned above, as well as news aggregator Flipboard, online learning site Udemy, dating app Grindr, streaming service Hulu, and IoT services from Honeywell, Life360, and Samsung’s SmartThings.

The official AWS service health dashboard blamed the issues on power outages in a single data center, affecting one Availability Zone (USE1-AZ4) within the US-EAST-1 Region. At 6:13 AM PST, the company said it had restored power to the data center and was making progress recovering the affected instances. However, users will likely continue to notice the effects of these outages for a while longer while systems are updated and restored.

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Update Wednesday, December 22nd, 8:36AM ET: Updated story to add responses from affected services.

Update Wednesday, December 22nd, 9: 34AM ET: Updated story to note that AWS has restored to power to the affected data center.

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