It’s an unusual time — there’s no doubt about it. But there’s still plenty you can do today to ensure that you get the most out of your paid search campaigns now and in the future. Especially during the pandemic, here are some helpful strategies for campaign success:
Leverage Data to Inform and Strategize
With any good search campaign, you should always use data-backed strategies to drive your business decisions. Now more than ever, the importance of having focused and effective targeting for your campaigns is essential. If your organization hasn’t already, determine what activities your constituent base is performing on your site and use those insights to make informed, strategic decisions.
Start by looking for any interesting Google Analytics trends on your website. For example, is a particular landing page receiving more traffic than normal over the last few weeks? If so, what do the search terms leading to this page tell you? Have your audience demographics shifted? Should your targeting be narrowed or expanded?
Using the data you collect, you may discover that it’s worthwhile to create specific campaigns around the landing pages where you’re seeing spikes or campaigns with specific or broader reach.
Invest in Driving Awareness
With social distancing in effect, the majority of us are confined to our homes. With that in mind, now is a great time to invest in more top-of-funnel marketing strategies. Focus on how and where you can engage your audience. Consider offering webinars, as well as blog content, with a heavy emphasis on mission and, more importantly, how your brand is helping. Good, paid search campaigns are only as good as the content they lead to; the more relevant and high-quality your content is, the more traffic and conversions you will ultimately drive. Some examples of organizations doing a great job with content include Doctors Without Borders, who are doing a series of COVID response update videos explaining the many varied ways they are responding to the evolving pandemic; Feeding America, whose Hunger Blog does a great job at demonstrating the impact they are having on the COVID-19 crisis and offering ways for people to help; and the Arthritis Foundation, whose comprehensive Coronavirus Resource Center provides valuable information for people affected by arthritis, demonstrating the importance of their mission.
Reflect Your Response in Ad Copy
Is your mission in line with aiding those affected by coronavirus? Are you working toward supporting medical professionals to help find a cure? Maybe the population you serve is impacted by this disease more than others? Is your mission potentially compromised in the face of this pandemic? Whatever the case may be, you should be reflecting your current status in some iterations of your ad copy. Don’t forget to utilize available ad elements — such as site links, structured snippets and callout extensions — to convey your efforts, goals and message.
Monitor Search Queries (More Than You Normally Would)
Be mindful of the volatility of searches during a crisis. A good deal of search terms are driven by uncertainty and urgency right now, so the search terms you see in Search Query Reports may vary a great deal week-over-week. Run SQRs each week or every other week to see if anything sticks out to you. Perhaps there’s enough search volume to constitute creating a new campaign? Can you take some of these terms and pivot them toward a content marketing piece such as blog content?
In conclusion, marketing through a pandemic can feel risky and even scary, but those who avoid it altogether face loss of revenue as well as longer recovery times when the crisis ends — ultimately putting their missions in jeopardy. There are plenty of actions you can take to set up your paid search campaigns and your organization overall for success. As part of our next article in this series, we explore additional strategies for continued campaign improvement to take your paid search efforts even further.