New PPC Benchmarks During COVID-19 & PPC Strategies to Overcome Aftereffects

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has shaken up everyone on this globe. When the impact of a pandemic changes the behavior of common people, it certainly affects businesses. While some industries witnessed peaks during unanticipated situations, many also went down. But, that’s all our lives are about. They are unpredictable. However, this never means that one should stop trying and making efforts. The only way to better prepare for the present and future challenges in your business niche is to analyze the trends, identify benchmarks, and use them in the creation of marketing strategies to stay strong or at least afloat in the market.

Since the beginning of 2020, we have noticed the major impacts caused by COVID-19 on PPC campaigns in March, April, and May. As different regions and countries around the world are rapidly changing their regulations and approaches to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic, patterns in PPC campaigns are also reflecting significant changes in the consumers’ behavior. As consumer behavior continues to change, so should our PPC ad campaigns.

Today, we are going to shine a light on the new PPC Benchmarks industry-wise that saw steep fall and rise in 2020, and then we will share how marketers should respond to the new normal.

5 Industries that Experienced High Volume during COVID-19

Businesses in the following industries experienced high demand in the last few months and, as such, their ad campaigns also resulted in higher conversions.

  1. Computers and Electronics

With restrictions on movement during the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, governments in various states and nations issued instructions to temporarily close businesses. But, all of us know that the world needs to keep moving on. The people who could conduct their businesses online and employees who could carry on their assignments and tasks from their homes spent on big-ticket electronics online. The demand was not only from working people but also students to stay in touch with their studies, friends, and faculties.

The SERP fulfilled these demands without considerable change in CPC or CPA; however, computers and electronics advertisers on Bing benefited hugely from their unique audience and also experienced noticeably better performance (17.33% CVR) than on Google Ads.

Image Source: WordStream

  1. Real Estate

Even though real estate had to face the challenges of stopping showings and open houses during the corona crisis, this industry saw a higher performance by selling more online. Appointments and onsite visits are extremely crucial for buyers before making a big investment; luckily, real estate agents have been able to earn the trust of home buyers as their advisors and concierges. Besides, reduced Cost per Clicks also helped real estate advertisers keep costs low while connecting the buyers and sellers online.

According to the WordStream recent study,

  • The average Cost per Click (CPC) plummeted to $1.91 on Google Search and $1.31 on Bing Search.
  • The average Cost per Action (CPA) reduced to $26.53 on Google Search and $7.04 on Bing Search. 

Consequently, the average Conversion Rate didn’t change much (6.87%) on Google Search but soared to 17.12% on Bing Search.  

  1. Occasions and Gifts

No matter what kinds of situations prevail in any year, it is certain that festivals, birthdays, and special days will still come. As such, when the whole world was facing lock-down in one or another form, the sentiments related to these celebrations are still the same. A lot of people tried to celebrate them differently. With lower CPC and CPA, online gift advertisers saw the opportunity. They leveraged subscription boxes and online gift box delivery services to lure people and also succeeded through Bing Shopping.

As per WordStream, Average Conversion Rate (CTR) in May 2020 was:

  • Google Search: 5.29%
  • Bing Search: 7.87%
  • Google Shopping: 2.78%
  • Bing Shopping: 12.31%
  1. Health 

Amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no need for an explanation about what triggered the advertisements of the health industry to perform well.  Unsurprisingly, coronavirus become the highest search term on Google in April. These days, people are paying attention to their health and wellness more than ever. With higher search volume and low Cost per Clicks, advertisers of the health industry found a lot of new customers and converted them as well.

Image Source: WordStream

  1. Beauty and Personal Care

Recently, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry saw a substantial increase in the demand, among which soaps and sanitizers remained at the top. It is natural for people to self-care during the spread of this highly contagious infection. Research shows a maximum of 41% increase in search volume for beauty and personal care. With the higher visibility in SERPs resulting in lower CPCs, many businesses in this sector are booming and ultimately, enjoying higher conversion rates (CVR).

Image Source:

3 Industries that Felt the Hardest Hit during COVID-19

Unlike the above sector, businesses in some sectors are still facing the negative impact on their PPC campaigns and facing a crisis.

  1. Travel & Tourism

Just like it’s easy to guess why the health sector experienced a hike, it’s a no-brainer why travel & tourism is facing the flames of this pandemic. This is one of the industries that impacted very badly during April and even remains the cited example of an industry that is still being affected. Many might seem surprised to know that the performance KPIs on the SERPs don’t look so bad but that is just due to very conservative campaign targets and limited budgets.

Image Source: WordStream

However, people locked inside homes for so long will desire to breathe fresh air and enjoy new places. Also, some countries like Japan and India are encouraging their residents to spend vacations locally and within the country. So, it would be really interesting to see how this industry will ramp up.

  1. Family & Community

Nonprofit and charity communities are getting more donations and recognition from search ads. But, other family-oriented communities struggled a lot and seem to do so onwards as well. Even with steady CPCs, these organizations witnessed only half of their conversions from Google Search that caused CPAs to double during the period. On the other hand, Bing Search showed an increase in conversions during April, but the trend disappeared later on.

  1. Internet & Telecom

Surprisingly, the internet & telecom industry that offers essential services is also witnessing conversion rates going down. Many businesses and consumers started to cut costs where they could and are increasingly examining the plans available on the market. Since March, conversion rates dropped straight down nearly 30% and this trend doesn’t seem to be going up. Consequently, mega advertisers are increasing their budget now, which is considerably driving CPCs up for small advertisers.

Industries with Mixed PPC Performance during COVID-19

There are various other industries that experienced mixed PPC performance during the past three months. Some of them are:

  • Home and Garden
  • Retail
  • Food and groceries
  • Dining & Nightlife
  • Sports & Fitness
  • Vehicle

The mixed performance is not just attributed to the lockdown but also the impact that this pandemic will continue to have in the near future as well.

Let’s understand the reason behind mixed performance with an example of the vehicle industry. 

You are probably aware that the auto/vehicle industry faced the challenges of the supply line and import issues with added economic decline and reduced mobility. But, most people spending time at home are still searching for vehicle models with the preference of pre-owned cars over new models (that could be due to the global economic crisis).

As such, this industry showed a boost on the SERP. Once the restrictions will lift and people are allowed to travel to their offices, schools, and worksites, most people may prefer to travel in their private vehicles than public transportation.

Now, what can one possibly do to protect their advertising account from this huge impact? Read on.

What to do to Protect PPC Campaigns during COVID-19

Naturally, a huge section of people is worried about how this coronavirus crisis is going to affect their businesses in the future. While they have already suffered substantial losses, it is still not too late to protect PPC account and campaign.

  1. Assess Your PPC Account 

First of all, you need to notice the significant changes to the key traffic metrics. Check out clicks and impressions in Google Analytics and Google Ads to determine if marketing changes are leading to drop-off.

2. Devise Your PPC Strategy

Changing trends and consumer behavior demands changed PPC strategies. You can’t always win with the same strategies in all situations. You need to adapt according to the current situations and the new normal world. The government directives include work from home policies, enforced closures, and emphasis on social distancing and hygiene. So, just as consumer behavior is changing in response to these things, advertisers need to change their strategies too.

Now, the question comes – what strategies could help advertisers? Well, here are some cues.

3 PPC Strategies That You Must Start Working on Today

The following strategies will help you to make a long-lasting impact on your search campaigns.

A. Be Visible Before Consumers Choose Others

Yes, the first thing you need to do is to be visible. Even though consumers are not interested in buying something new for now, it doesn’t mean they are not active. They are searching frequently across different industries. The only thing that has changed is the period between when consumers start searching and when they will start purchasing. So, your efforts will pay off now or later.

How to become visible

  • Do cross-channel marketing
  • Try Native Ad Placements
  • Update your business data (with potential closures or closing and opening hours)

B. Focus on New KPIs (that work now)

This year, the world has changed a lot and your target audience behavior has changed more than you can expect. So, believe it or not, your key performance indicators might also have changed.

The consumer decision journey has extended. Thus, you also need to evaluate if the current attribution model is working for you now or not.

While first-click attribution is beneficial for strategies where you want to attract users who may not convert right away, last-click attribution can help you with strategies where you are trying to optimize for immediate conversions. Reevaluate your decisions every month or quarter.

C. Shift Your Messaging Technique

Tone-deaf messages may have worked for you before, but they won’t now. Everybody is going through different emotions. While many people are feeling a lot of stress, some are also experiencing depression. So, get thoughtful with your messaging in your text as well as visual elements.

Make sure that your message:

  • Aligns with the current situation and the customer’s situation as well
  • Is relevant and the products it shows are in stock right now
  • Can address consumers’ issues or current demands
  • Has highly-visible and updated CTA buttons
  • Highlights the offers you are currently providing
  • Shows changed business policies, safety precautions, hours or closures if any
  • Is customized according to regions

To Sum Up 

We are all trying to figure out what will work for our businesses and campaigns in this new normal world. But, only those will succeed who will work on solid, data, facts, and ground reality. Conduct research, try out different things and assess them to see what works best for your business and PCC campaigns. The market is changing and may or may not rebound later. So, you need to be flexible, perceptive, and adaptive.

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe, and Stay Updated

Vijaya Tyagi

Vijaya Raj Laxmi Tyagi has been an avid content writer for over five years with a keen interest in writing SEO articles and blogs. She also finds great enthusiasm in writing about a vast variety of topics, including gardening, interior designing, health & wellness, and tourism. Her educational background in Computer Science and Engineering has given her an edge to write about technologies that tend to mark a great impression on daily lifestyle and behaviour, while her intrigue towards Mother Nature drives her to discuss green topics.