Every day, more paid search advertisers are pausing campaigns among coronavirus upheaval. Many campaigns from travel, events, luxury, to automotive car dealers, etc. have been suddenly stopped during the last 2 weeks.
While governments are taking radical measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, search and conversions behavior changed just as quickly.
In automotive, users show less interest in searching and buying facing the prevailing uncertainty. CPCs, impressions, website traffic, and daily spend continued to fall for the past days.
Is the fall in search interest in automotive a reason to stop paid search campaigns? As a matter of fact, no! Even confined, people still need products and services. Of course, it is wise to adopt a cautious approach regarding the budget. Below I’m sharing some thoughts that can change your mind.
1- Don’t Make A Hasty Decision
If you see a drop in orders or leads don’t stop campaigns until you analysed the full picture. Indeed, if you register at the same time a decrease in clicks / spend, then the ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) will be the same, even better.
One more piece to keep in mind before you decide to pause: Some of your automotive competitors stopped advertising on Google Ads, which means that you can take advantage of lower CPCs – as the demand is falling.
Yet, why not keeping paid search active if the ROAS is better than prior?
Also, you need to decide whether to start from 0 in few weeks OR treat the few leads you won during the confinement – with a better ROAS?
For the automotive industry, it is essential to capture maximum leads and interest during this period – so, dealers can restart quickly by getting in touch with leads.
So, don’t cut your campaigns. Adopt rather tactics generating short-term ROI in order to maintain a maximum turnover.
2 – Really Want To Lose Close Clients ?
Some users were In-Market just before Coronavirus. Most of them didn’t cancel their purchase decision – they just reported it. Confined, those people will keep looking for the car they were planning to buy by searching for it on Google, consulting reviews, watching videos … Unfortunately, they will also use the time to look more for competitors!
So, by putting your brand in front of searchers, you make the cut when the buying decision is made.
3 -Adapt Ads Messaging
It is important to adapt your ads during this period.
Include solidarity or a sympathy message in ads copy is recommended. This is a way to show your compassion with users and tell them that you cary about them – you are not showing ads just to sell them a car. Think of messages like: “Always by your side”, “We will come out stronger” …
4 – Rework CTA / Sitetelinks
Another aspect of adapting messaging is modifying Call-To-Action and Ad sitelinks. It would be wise to modify CTA or sitelinks like “Find A Dealer”, or “24H Test Drive” which are not any more suitable.
In place, favor CTA, like:
- Discover More
- Download Brochure
- Explore Range
- Why Nissan ?
- Nissan Promise
- Finance calculator
It may be interesting to activate call extension during this period so people can get in touch with you easier.
5 – Clean Your Accounts
If you decided to pause or reduce your investment, use this time to clean up your accounts. Review and actualize your ads copy. Check all your extensions and remove all outdated ones:
- Structured snippet extension
Deep dive into the search query reports to develop your keywords and add new negatives.
Similarly, spend some time reorganizing your campaigns:
- Develop your exact match campaigns
- Explore new keywords opportunities in BMM
- Think of a new approach for your DSA campaigns
Finally, take time to look at long-term data (1 year or more) to see how your performance evolved. By doing this, you will establish a list of things to fix when your campaigns are back on.
6 – Consider Inexpensive Branding
History has shown that companies that cut their investments during trouble times take longer to recover and prosper than those that maintain or increase their spending.
Discovery campaign is a good way to retain a brand presence while spending little. Discovery campaigns can show automatically on the Google Discover feed, YouTube home feed, and the social and promotions tabs in Gmail. Finally, Discovery ads are charged on a cost-per-click basis.
You might not get the business now, but be sure this investment will pay off later. So, if you are eligible to Discovery campaign beta, go ahead and test it.
7 – Keep Feeding DMP / Cookie Pool
If you are using a Data Management Platform you already know that DMP retains information for a limited time or based on the lifespan of a cookie (90 days).
Seeing the crisis will take almost 3 months, you may have an issue when you restart the activity. So, consider keeping paid search to nurture your DMP with data – even if the volume is low.
8 – Prepare Post-Crise Plan
Things will get back to normal, even though they may be different. Indeed, historically, after such events, the demand boom will offer important boosts in all industries, particularly at the approach of the summer period.
Paid Search will be one of the most effective ways to reach automotive consumers. So, start thinking:
- how to secure -increased- recovery budget
- how you can generate more leads and maximise ROI
- which line of business you need to prioritise
- how to deal with the competition – which as you, will come back in force
- how to increase your share of voice
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