COVID-19 has changed a lot of things in our daily lives and how we operate, regardless of if you’re a big business, small business or somewhere in between. However, it’s never been a better time to advertise on Google Ads, as the UK’s internet usage hits new heights during the lockdown period.
Despite the news from the Office for National Statistics, showing that GDP fell by 20.4% in April, there’s still reasons to be optimistic about consumer spending. There are certain services that people will always need such as emergency plumbers and electricians. Investing in Google Ads gives businesses in these sorts of industries the opportunity to deviate, if necessary, from their main primary services (e.g. PAT testing) and focus on the work they can attend like emergencies. It provides immediate results which helps to generate a quick return on investment.
Those that are working from home are also finding that they have more disposable income with reductions in travel and leisure activities. As businesses start to reopen to the wider public, now is the time to start engaging with potential customers who will be looking for the services that have been unavailable for the last few weeks. Whether your business has been open, closed or partially operating, now is a good time to consider Google Ads.
How COVID Has Changed Searcher Intent
COVID-19 has changed how the standard person searches on the internet. Searches for brick and mortar stores have dropped dramatically, however, people are increasingly searching and buying from online stores. For instance, with the closure of gyms, we’ve seen search terms for “gym equipment” increase by over 600% in April compared to January. If you’re a product provider, your target market is likely to have made the switch from visiting you in person to buying specific products online. By utilising Google Ads, whether that’s the search, display or the shopping feed, you have the opportunity to place your products in front of those “window shopping” in the online world.
But what does this mean for service providers? As previously mentioned, terms such as “emergency plumber” have remained consistent. In fact, they’re up by around 50%. Google Ads is perfect for getting your services in front of this audience in a cost effective and timely manner.
Even less essential service providers are seeing a boost in searches. Despite the UK government providing a six month extension on some MOTs, WordStream are reporting a 44% increase in searches for vehicle repairs and maintenance, despite overall searches for buying cars dropping. This is an area garages may benefit from by investing in Google Ads. It allows them to target keywords and phrases related to their services that have seen a spike in interest and in turn, increase the number of bookings they’re receiving. This is a common trend within multiple industries and not just the motor industry.
How Your Business Can Benefit
The economical effects of COVID-19 have varied from business to business. Whether you’re looking to cement your new market dominance, bounce back above your competitors or you’re somewhere in between, there are ways your business can benefit from Google Ads in the future. We’ve outlined a few of them below.
Get the Jump on Your Competitors
With uncertainty over the future, many companies cut their marketing budgets or stopped marketing altogether throughout the lockdown period. With a reduction in spending across all platforms, including Google Ads, it’s likely that there are less businesses to compete with for the advertising space. Within the Google Ads platform specifically, this has two primary benefits. The first being that less competition means there’s less consumer choice which means you could increase your market share. The second benefit from this, is that with less advertisers on Google the average cost per click will be lower. Lower cost per clicks will help to give you a bigger profit margin by reducing the cost per acquisition price. Your budget will also go further as you can attract more clicks for the same budget than you could before lockdown started.
If your business has thrived during lockdown and competition is still high, you may focus your budget on expanding into new areas or exposing more of your service and product range. If you’ve been inundated with sales, you should have more revenue to invest into marketing and grow your business into new areas or bring new services and products to your existing area. Google Ads allows you to do this quickly although you may want to create some specific landing pages for the new areas, products or services in order to boost your quality score.
Get Ahead of the Curve With Google Trends
By utilising Google Trends, you can view how consumer interests and searches are changing especially as we come out of the lockdown phase. They may change again if there is a second wave which is why it is important to stay up to date with the trends related to your industry. The platform allows you to see average search volumes for specific keywords and phrases. Based on the data, you can update your Google Ads to prioritise services and products that are beginning to see larger volumes of searches and back off of ones that are in decline. The one thing to watch out for with this, is that it only accounts for the number of searches. It doesn’t give you data on the conversion likelihood. So a smaller audience that has a high chance of purchasing could be better than a large audience with a low chance of purchasing.
Get Your Bookings In Early
If you’ve been forced to close or partially close, you will want to reopen in the strongest position possible. The best way, particularly for service providers, to do this, is with an online booking form. By providing this on your site, it makes it easy for people to see your availability after clicking through from your ads. It also gives you an opportunity to differentiate your ads compared to competitors. You can include calls to action like “pre-book your appointment online”.
Some businesses won’t be able to start marketing until they’re officially open and by that time, you’ve got the jump on them. If your booking form takes online payment or a deposit, it can protect you from missed appointments and bring in a source of income throughout the lockdown period. Although these benefits come from having a booking form, the opportunity comes from leveraging the Google Ads platform to make people aware that you’ll be up and running on day one after lockdown.
Estimating Your ROI
Within most industries, now is the time to invest in Google Ads. There’s no certainty on the returns you’ll get back but you can start to forecast the likely outcome of investing. By using our free Google Ads Calculator, you’ll receive a free report that gives an estimated return on investment using Google’s data.