Three Innovative PPC Approaches to Trial Post-COVID-19

by Nathan Ifill Impression

Nathan Ifill, PPC Executive at Impression, gives three tips on how to use your Google  Ads account post-COVID-19.

It would be a gross understatement to suggest that digital marketing campaigns have had to adjust to COVID-19. While many businesses are using this as a time to invest into their long-term SEO strategy, there are still plenty of opportunities in PPC.

Here are three innovative and sometimes counterintuitive strategies that you can try in your Google Ads account after the pandemic.

Create a paid search campaign with your organic keywords

Advertising on organic keywords that your site ranks well for can lead to cheaper traffic and incredible results.

Commonly considered an exclusively SEO tool, Google Search Console is an absolute goldmine when it comes to building high-performing paid search campaigns. Amongst other things, the free service gives you performance data on the organic search terms that your website ranks well for on Google.

Since Search Console shows you how many impressions and clicks each of your pages are getting, as well as your click-through rates and average positions, it’s easy to filter by URL and discover exactly which terms Google thinks are most relevant to your landing pages.

There are multiple ways that you can use this information for your PPC campaigns. For example, you could create a campaign targeting organic search terms that your landing pages rank for in low positions. Alternatively, you might choose to target any relevant, organic search terms with a low click-through rate with a super-specific ad.

One counterintuitive way to use the data that we’ve seen success with is creating a paid search campaign targeting the organic search terms which are receiving the most impressions. Add the search terms as exact match keywords to a paid search campaign and you’re done. Thanks to Search Console, you know in advance how much search volume there is. On top of that, since Google is already ranking the page for the keyword, you can expect cheaper traffic and higher Quality Scores due to the landing page’s high relevance to the searcher’s query.

We’ve even seen campaigns of this type outperform branded traffic with some of our clients, so it’s well worth giving this technique a go post-COVID-19.

Pause everything that hasn’t converted

If it’s not converting, pause it. Don’t be fooled by this suggestion’s simplicity. By simply pausing the keywords, ads, ad groups, and even campaigns where you’re not seeing results, you could see an uplift in performance across your entire account. In fact, with one of Impression’s eCommerce clients, we almost tripled revenue month-on-month doing just this.

Why does this work? With fewer options to spend your budget, Google is forced to redirect your media spend to the areas that work, driving more conversions for your money.

As always in PPC, it’s a case of doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t in order to get more bang for your buck. Unfortunately, too many marketers fall into the sunken cost fallacy trap, throwing good money after bad, and giving even more budget to second-class keywords. It’s important to remember that by pausing everything that’s not converting, you maximise the money that you can put into what does work.

What’s easy to do is easy not to do, so cut your losses immediately by pausing the poor performers in your Google Ads account today. If you don’t see an increase in performance as a result or you simply change your mind, it’s easy enough to re-enable the keywords, ads, and campaigns later on.

Add previously converting search terms as targeted keywords

If a search term is relevant to your business and has converted in the past, you should add it as a keyword in your account. It’s something that we know that we should do, yet due to time constraints, we don’t always actually do it.

Since Google’s algorithm matches close variants like spelling mistakes and similar variations, you might wonder why you’d bother adding super-specific search terms as keywords when your ads are showing for them already anyway. The short answer? It’s cheaper. Plus, most marketers wouldn’t even think to advertise on these long-tail terms which gives you free reign to dominate the SERPs with virtually no competition whatsoever.

There’s only one issue – adding these converting search terms takes ages. You could select the search terms in Google Ads and add them as keywords from there, but then you have to manually change the match type for every single search term, otherwise, they’ll all be added as broad match keywords that will eat up your budget for very little return.

A better, but still time-consuming way to do it is to filter the terms in Google Ads, download the data, edit the match types in a spreadsheet programme, and then copy and paste the file into Google Ads Editor to create new keywords.

If you’re looking to do this quickly, however, there’s an easy way to set up your account to add these search terms automatically using our converting query to keyword script. The best part is you can just set it and forget it.

This technique is so good at finding diamonds in the rough that, in one of our client’s accounts, our script added an alternative keyword that led to a 300 per cent increase in conversions, a 17 per cent decrease in Avg. CPC, a 76 per cent decrease in cost per acquisition, and a 257 per cent increase in conversion rate.

Whether you choose to do it manually or not, targeting previously converting keywords could be a quick win for your Google Ads account.

Your post-COVID-19 plan

Things will eventually go back to normal – or at least something resembling normality. When that happens, you’ll be glad that you prepared with a post-COVID-19 plan.

The three techniques above aren’t mutually exclusive, so you can implement one, two or even all three of them at once as part of your strategy. One thing is for certain – when search volume in your industry starts to return to previous levels, you’ll be glad that you planned ahead and put these approaches into practice.