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Navigating the Search Landscape During COVID-19

What’s happening? 

As brands, marketers and consumers continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, adapting to the ever-changing circumstances has been challenging for many. But even as consumer needs have shifted, one thing has remained constant: people are relying more than ever on search engines like Google to find important or useful information, from researching facts on the disease to finding DIY tips or streaming suggestions. 

What does this mean? 

With more consumers searching online for new types of information, it’s imperative that marketers react accordingly to develop strategies that better align with the current environment. Like other media channels, search has seen major changes in user behavior across a variety of business verticals, and understanding these changes is critical to developing an effective strategy that drives business results. Since search acts as a “barometer of consumer intent,” it can be a valuable tool for helping brands stay ahead of the changing landscape. 

What should marketers be doing? 

Brands should be focusing on a few key factors related to their paid search strategies. First and foremost, ensure that ad copy messaging is relevant and appropriate. Audit all ad copy and evaluate the context and tone of each message. Consider whether the message is helpful—this is a great opportunity for brands to craft messages that are proactive in addressing new consumer questions or concerns. This could involve the removal of CTAs such as “Visit Us In-Store” or the addition of curbside pickup and delivery information. Constantly and thoroughly reassess messaging to ensure it is a proper fit. 

Budget levels and allocation have also become increasingly important. For some brands, business has taken off since the outbreak of COVID-19. According to Google, search interest in “online grocery shopping” has increased 23% compared to this time last year. Brands should consider increasing spend to handle higher demand, or scale down temporarily until market conditions improve. 

Allocating funds to more profitable campaigns, like e-commerce efforts, is another important part of this budget evaluation process. Now may be an opportune time to bolster support for products or services that have more demand in the current environment. 

Another core factor to take into consideration is the bid strategy. In such turbulent times, some bidding models may not be as suitable. Marketplace volatility can complicate automated bidding decisions, and in some cases, it may be wise to consider shifting to a more conservative model – or in more extreme circumstances, reverting to manual bidding until conditions become more stable. 

Is your SEO strategy working for you in the right ways during the COVID-19 crisis? We can help. 

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