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Corona crisis: Streamlining your Paid Search efforts

Curamando has compiled a list of actionable and handy ideas for your paid search activities to keep the business going.
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The current situation has put a strain on many digital marketing teams across the globe and it has become necessary to streamline and rationalize businesses at a very fast pace. During these challenging times, it is important that marketers and advertisers keep a logical sense of what is happening and continue to analyze and make decisions based on data – not gut feeling.

With CPMs, CPCs, and ROASs changing on a daily basis, we have compiled a list of useful and actionable ideas you can put to use today and that will come in handy for your paid search activities to keep the business going. Suggested ideas and actions for can also be applied to your overall marketing strategy or in other specific digital channels such as Social Media Marketing or Display advertising.

1. Build a reporting infrastructure

It is not a given to be prepared for whatever the world throws at you, especially not when circumstances – such as a pandemic – turn things upside down. However, it is important to stay prepared by monitoring patterns and trends within your marketing data. You are hopefully already following dashboards and reports covering your KPIs to discover sudden trends and pacing anomalies, such as diminishing conversion rates on your site. If you are not, it is the first and foremost necessity to act on. It is important to have tools and dashboards that give you an overview of your marketing activities in all stages and are aligned with your KPIs.

There are plenty of tools that can help you assess the current situation, stay prepared and follow your KPIs. Examples of tools to use for follow up and analysis are Google Data Studio and Google Analytics. For competitor movements and to keep track of search trends, it is recommended to use Google Alerts and Google Ads scripts.

How do you monitor your data and how do you spot trends and anomalies within your data?

2. Find your paid search quick-wins

Your level of preparedness, i.e. the tools you use to report on KPIs and how you leverage them, will determine how soon you will find your quick-wins. As long as you monitor your data you will find quick-wins. It is just a matter of how you analyze your data and what use you make out of it.

You have probably tested various messaging within your ads, keywords within your search and targeting within your media. When you start analyzing different aspects of your marketing you will find messages that have a lower click-through rate than others, keywords that do not get expected conversions and targeting that could be more narrow and specific. It all depends on your KPIs and targets for each channel, thus there is always an ad copy or keyword that is performing better than others and you have the possibility to use data and make decisions to increase performance.

How do you analyze your data to understand what works or does not work?

3. Think ahead and think strategically

In a situation where you have to be more restrictive with your marketing initiatives and budgets, it is easy to only focus on quick-wins, without taking the whole business and its priorities into account. Bold changes and budget cuts have to be carefully considered, as they should rather not interfere with your long term strategy. When the crisis is over, you should be able to deliver your services and products as expected – without having to rebuild trust and reliability with your target audience. You may consider cutting the budget and assess by e.g. pausing band-campaigns, with the rationale that organic search will cover any branded searches. This could potentially give competitors an advantage, even if they are not actively bidding on your brand. If branded search queries include products or services that both you and your competitors provide, you can be sure your competitors’ ads will be high up on Google’s result page.

If you do not have to pause your paid search investments, you can use the advantage of changing and steering ad messaging in real-time. When necessary, you can share updates that might be of great importance for an audience searching for your brand, which could be of high value when you want to communicate current circumstances.

Do you have a long term strategy within paid search?

4. Focus on being data-driven

Imagine that a company providing toilet paper followed Google search trends and found the sharp incline of searches in the past few weeks and then aligned those findings with their marketing initiatives. Would we now see great ads for toilet paper rather than reading about toilet paper being out of stock? If that had been the case, it could have been a form of data-driven practice. Being data-driven is a way to monetize the right products for the right people with the right timing. To be properly data-driven, there are parameters to consider – such as which KPIs should drive your decisions. There are also various tools to utilize to become more data-driven within your marketing, such as bid management tools within paid search. In times of rationalization, you would probably need to tweak these tools to get closer to your target state.

Google Trends “toalettpapper” December 2019 – March 2020

Which KPIs drive your decisions and which tools do you utilize to be data-driven?

5. Assess omnichannel

Adding these four pieces of advice together, it boils down to the importance of monitoring, analyzing, strategizing and aligning your marketing initiatives into an omnichannel approach. Your marketing activities thrive from having an approach that is translatable across various attributes. In times of streamlining your marketing efforts, you could most likely find low-hanging-fruits across channels. Would you, for example, find that organic search has high visibility for products or topics that are not driving the overall business, then it could be wise to adjust marketing initiatives for these products and topics within other channels. This way you can shift budgets between channels as you find necessary and, in uncertain times, you can adjust the budgets to match fluctuating demands.

How do you approach omnichannel and how do you allocate budgets between channels?

In general, data is the common denominator to succeed in your marketing and budget rationalization. If you would like to hear more about how you specifically can control your data – get in touch.

Want to read more tips on how to tackle the Corona crisis?

  • Read about how Curamando helped a large retailer to rapidly transition from omnichannel to e-com here.
  • Four tips on how to meet the changing consumer behaviour here.
By Lisa Stänerz
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