How to manage SEM & SEO during challenging times?

Corona, COVID-19 or cruel virus who’s origin nobody can’t really seem to figure. COVID-19 has changed the state of mind of the entire world and focus has shifted from everyday business to national lockdowns. The digital landscape is also affected by COVID-19. Thousands of people working remotely - using new digital tools and different sources homeschooling their children.

Many organizations already took a big hit in their sale and on their bottom line. Many consumers fear a recession next year and are at the moment spending less money as usual. Though many consumers are actually currently spending 30% more on online shopping than normally. So the question is whether to pull back some of the marketing initiatives or to do more online in the next months to come? 

We picked SEO expert Mia Andersson and PPC expert Anders Leds brains to find out how they plan to manage and consult their ecommerce clients.

SEO during and after COVID-19

Looking in general into organic search results we see that organic performance has dropped during the Corona-period. Most of these websites though have a flat keyword ranking curve. Google Search Console also shows considerable drops in search impressions - rankings are the same. This information validates that companies don't have an SEO/ranking issue but a drop in search demand due to COVID-19.

It would be rather natural to start to reduce spend in SEO and content marketing efforts. Though the problem is that companies can risk losing organic rankings if they stop their marketing efforts. When the search demand returns then companies will continue to drive less organic traffic than before the COVID-19 situation. So keep up your SEO-initiatives or maybe do more than you initially planned.


Closed stores = focus even more online!

Companies with both a local shop and an online webshop are responsible for making sure that their local customers can find them online. The integration of getting the local shop and online website to benefit from each other has never been more important.

One of the most important tasks is an updated Google My Business profile. Let your customers know that the local shop is temporarily closed and instead lead the way into your webshop or website. If your shop has different opening hours or is closed for less than two weeks go with special hours. If the shop is closed longer than two weeks the local shop should be set as temporarily closed.

It would also be good to update your Business description in My business if you already haven’t done so, and Business Posts are also going to be really helpful for your customers in this COVID-19 period because initiatives or special offers in a website will be visible in SERP when customers are searching for a brand or specific products.


Keep up the SEO-work

The COVID-19 situation has changed a lot in the digital landscape. Search volume has changed and businesses are most likely going to come out of 2020 with quite a different result than assumed at the beginning of the year. When that is said it is important to keep in mind that the search volume will return at some point and when that happens it is important to be on top of the search engine page results. So keep on the SEO-track and keep on developing the website so it meets customer needs and expectations. Hopefully, the customers will be back soon.

SEM (PPC) during and after COVID-19

Wordstream recently delivered insights from tens of thousands of advertisers on how COVID-19 has influenced the landscape of PPC in the US and the impact goes across industries and advertisers. From the beginning of March and forth, the US experienced a drop of 7% in ad impressions, and a drop, on average, of 21% in conversion rate across industries. 

Not surprisingly, among the hardest-hit industries, we find the leisure and experience economy, such as the travel and tourism industry, bars and restaurants as well as concerts, festivals, and sports events. At the Adapt office, we have clients as well, where paid media channels were switched off from one day to the other due to a complete stop in sales of travels. 

However, not all industries are experiencing a drop in conversion rate. Among the industries with increased volume and performance are streaming and on-demand media, health and medical, and beauty and personal care. 

Lower conversion rate but ALSO lower CPC in the US

Other industries are experiencing more mixed changes in performance. In the US, online retailers experienced on average a drop of 14% in conversion rate on search ads. In uncertain times as these, people might be unsure of their future income, which might be at least one factor explaining the lower conversion rate. However, due to an avg. decrease of 9% in CPC it somewhat evens out on ROAS (return on ads spend).

How are the Danes doing?

The tendency in Denmark shows that consumers have adapted and turned even more purchases online. 

Numbers from FDIH (Foreningen for Dansk Internethandel) gathered between March 16th to 30th show a positive development with 49% of companies selling online experiencing increased sales, while only 37% are experiencing smaller or larger declines in sales.

Of pure e-commerce shops, 56% are actually increasing sales, while omnichannel companies are struggling a little bit more with results ranging from 36% increased sales to 48% decline. 


Our tips for managing PPC campaigns during these challenging times:

  1. First of all, focus your budget on bottom funnel campaigns that are driving conversions, and decrease your budget in upper funnel or on campaigns that do not drive conversions. For example, focus on Facebook dynamic retargeting and custom audiences based on e.g. email subscriber lists.
  2. Additionally, focus on products that convert and are driving you ROAS. Whether this is Facebook Ads or Google Shopping. Pause products in your shopping feed and leave out products in your Facebook campaigns that do not contribute to ROAS. 
  3. Use your time to optimize on the less exciting tasks such as checking your search terms report and adding negative keywords that can save you money. 
  4. Lastly, have a plan for post-COVID-19. If budget allows it, consider expanding your email subscriber list, for instance through Facebook lead ads.

What else can you do? Well...

Going forward we advise you to pay extra attention to your data, revenue and performance. Time likes this, where customer behavior deviates a lot from the norm, also opens up the opportunity to spot new opportunities for growth, where you can use data to gain insights on rising demands within certain categories or products types. 

Do you need a hand optimizing your PPC or organic search campaigns? Then do not hesitate to contact us.