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5 Tips for Managing PPC During the Coronavirus Outbreak


The advertising landscape has changed virtually overnight with the spread of the COVID-19.

We’re now seeing majority of commerce shutting down across the United States and the world.

This will require advertisers to be brave, agile, creative, and patient with our ever-changing environment.

Here are five tips to help you manage your paid search campaigns during this pandemic.

1. Business Value Props & Messaging

In many cases, companies can shift to promote different products or services that have more demand in the current environment.

Can your product or service be a priority right now or be considered as essential?

The main trends to consider for pivoting value props and messaging now:

  • Social distancing
  • Working from home
  • Home schooling
  • Family togetherness
  • Entertainment / streaming / communications
  • Essential and medical services

If your product or service be can be tied into or can be modified to fit into one of these areas, shift into a temporary plan to promote these initiatives.

Also, look into shifting into virtual services or virtual consulting and providing online workshops or webinars.

Review the current campaigns and determine if the messaging is still a good fit and what should be added to accommodate the changing landscape, for example:

  • Review copy CTAs for “Visit us in-store” and revise.
  • Display and social ads sensitive images with people in groups or touching.
  • Add curbside pickup information.
  • Include shipping information with features of free, fast, etc.
  • Hours of operation and any deviation from the normal services.
  • Messaging on your company’s response to the virus.

Some of this messaging can be used in the primary ad copy, but don’t forget to fully utilize ad extensions such as sitelinks and call-outs to convey the information.

Be sure to include this clearly on the landing pages.

Retain a brand presence and continue to feed the upper funnel because it may be harder to recover later after losing momentum.

It is possible to acknowledge the crisis and take a softer sales approach.

Don’t make it difficult to ramp back up later.

2. Budgets & Spend

Now is a good time to reevaluate your budgets and reconcile your budgets vs. spend.

You may want to shift budgets into those products or services that have more relevancy during this national emergency.

You will definitely want to shift budgets to best performing campaigns to maximize results.

Take some tips from managing PPC on a small budget.

Take the time to review budget versus actual spend to find nuggets of budget that may not have been utilized throughout the year and apply it to the campaigns that need it most.

Depending on the platform, instead of daily budgets, consider settings such lifetime spend or monthly spend limits to better pace campaign spend.

This will free up your time for more important account management tasks.

Smart Bidding in Google and other platforms offer automated bidding features.

This allows the platforms to automatically adjust CPC bids in real time to match the advertiser’s goals.

This is an automation feature that can help you be the most agile as users’ behaviors quickly change.

Do review the reevaluate your maximum CPCs while using these features.

3. Search Behavior

While people are social distancing, they will still be researching, purchasing, and living the dream online.

Communicate about what services can be delivered virtually and turn-around times for delivery of services.

Use ad copy or ad extensions to communicate benefits like free delivery, fast delivery, curbside pick-up, porch drop-off, etc.

Negative Keywords

Depending on your industry, it is likely you will see minor or majors shifts in search queries triggering your ads.

This will require a two-pronged approach:

  • Reactive: Reviewing search terms and display campaign placements in real-time for COVID-19 keywords and content.
  • Proactive: Predicting searches that may trigger your ads and create negative keyword lists that can be shared among all campaigns and easily updated.

For example, exclude COVID-19 related keywords, like:

  • corona
  • covid
  • coronavirus
  • sars
  • virus
  • wuhan
  • epidemic
  • pandemic

Also consider job/unemployment, vaccines, home schooling, or any related consumer searches if you are B2B.

A great resource with the latest information on search behavior is Google Trends: Coronavirus Search Trends.

4. Channels

People staying at home will be consuming more content like news and videos and using more online communication tools than ever before.

Facebook reports a 50% increase in messaging, with voice and video calling more than doubling on Messenger and WhatsApp.

With a large percentage of usage centered around messaging, groups, and livestreams, Facebook says many of these features are not monetized, so they are seeing a decrease in ad revenue.

Despite this, overall, many people are returning to Facebook who had previously jettisoned the platform over privacy concerns.

The decline in revenue in many digital ad platforms means there is an opportunity for advertisers to see less competition and increase market share without a change in their current budgets.

The opportunity to reach more people at the top of the funnel through PPC and paid social ads is now in full swing

Opportunities worth exploring now as people consume more content:

  • Display ad expansion on the Google Display Network and Microsoft Audience Network.
  • YouTube and in-video ad placement options.
  • Pinterest for consumers discovering products for purchase.
  • Twitter, but with strong consideration for brand reputation issues arising from negative behavior on the platform.

5. Pivot to Normal-ish

At some point, various bans and restrictions will be lifted – in whole or in part.

When that happens, consumers will be eager to get outside and re-engage.

Whether that will be the same as pre-virus is yet to be seen.

But it good to prepare for any and all future developments.

Stay well.

More Resources:

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]


What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1


HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.

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Om författaren

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.


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Advocate | DigitalMarketer


Advocate | DigitalMarketer

Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.

So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.

Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database. 

The most important part of this step is asking these four questions. 

What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us? 

These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.

What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?

Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine! 

What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service? 

This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold. 

If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say? 

This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers. 

Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.

When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase. 

Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.

For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.


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