COVID-19 – What it Means to Marketers


In this article, we take a look at current and expected trends in PPC amidst the global virus outbreak.

It’s no rocket since that nearly all businesses have been impacted in some way by the coronavirus and the PPC world is no exception. Unless your business is on the lucky side selling things like hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper, or even vodka…the impact on your PPC account is likely not positive.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some trends we have already started to see in PPC and what we can expect to see over the next few weeks and months.

Organic traffic is down in most industries

If you are in the news industry or financial space, your traffic has most likely skyrocketed. However, if you are in the travel industry, there’s a big chance that you saw a massive drop in traffic.

Google Shopping

There is good news for Ecommerce retail advertisers! Earlier in the week Government and health agencies asked the public to stay home and protect the NHS staff along with saving lives.

As travel comes to a virtual halt, schools close, and governments react, most of us find ourselves stuck in our homes to avoid and halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

With people taking extra precautions and avoiding public spaces ( not that only the essential shops stayed open anyway ) – the demand for online shopping has never been higher.

Therefore, Google Shopping along with any Ecommerce Search campaigns, are likely to see a big increase in volume over the next few weeks and most possibly even months. This is of course also depending on the nature of your online shop. Whilst people are shopping online more for food, household items and other necessities, luxury items like plasma TV’s and other – may seem a downfall of interests.



If you are a small business, looking for ways to improve your revenue, check our article The Small Business – Survival Guide in Hard Times 

COVID-19 dominates new searches

This may be the most obvious of the trends, but coronavirus terms are likely to be infiltrating your search queries. While we’ve seen global epidemics in previous years, none have caught as much attention as Coronavirus has.  Swine Flu and Ebola outbreaks caused ripples worldwide back in 2009 and 2016 but caused little impact across the search world.

As both the virus and news spread exponentially, we’re learning about it in real-time. It’s dominant in our minds and in our questions on Google search. Over the past few weeks, searches containing “coronavirus” and “COVID” have certainly taken off. These terms are often appended to everyday searches like “travel booking” or “event cancellation”.


How To Respond

Adjust your PPC campaigns for new search terms and volume

During an economic downturn, you’ll find that you will have less competition, which means it is easier and faster to get results, and in some cases, you’ll be able to get deals, such as a potential reduction in pay-per-click advertising.

  • Review your search terms on a regular basis

No one’s favourite PPC task has become even more important as searches quickly explode related to COVID-19 and the disruption it’s causing in both our world and our ad campaigns.  t will be trending tomorrow, so it’s vital to understand what traffic your ads are getting and add new negative keywords to prevent your campaigns from reaching irrelevant panicked searchers.

  • Find new negative keywords before they start trending

All your new keywords run the risk of attracting unsavoury or irrelevant searches and wasting your campaign budget. Before tomorrow’s news story breaks and irrelevant search traffic flocks to your ads, find new negative keywords with a keyword tool.


Don’t exploit the situation

The first thing we are witnessing is that there are people trying to exploit fear.

Countries around the world seem to be running low on the majority of supplies. From face masks and toilet paper to hand sanitizer and other basic necessities… A lot of people are using this situation to buy these products and resell them on eBay or running ads and selling them for triple of price.

This isn’t entrepreneurship and this isn’t marketing. We highly recommend that you avoid exploiting the Coronavirus situation to make a quick earning.

On the better side, search interest has increased dramatically for cleaning and protective products. However, only a small portion of advertisers will likely benefit from this, but if your store is one of them – congratulations, your business is thriving!



While we are arguably at the peak of interest in the virus, we are likely to continue to see high levels of interest over the coming weeks – rather than rapid decreases in interest as we saw with the other epidemics.

And as for your marketing, this is the time for you to double down. Don’t be fearful when others are also afraid. Do what Warren Buffett does… be greedy when other people are fearful.

In other words, double the work to see double of the results.

Due to the above circumstances, We are offering FREE 45 Minute Consultations for small to medium-sized businesses.  Please CLICK HERE to arrange.

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