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PPC in a Crisis: Adapting Strategies During Uncertain Times

coronavirus map with country statistics

Unfortunately, we live in a world that often experiences crises. Some are global catastrophes such as the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst others are national and confined to individual countries such as an economic recession.

Regardless, as a business you have to be able to adapt to changing times and times of crisis and this includes your PPC campaigns. While PPC campaigns are especially effective, they are subject to crises and times of recession just like any other marketing method or area of your business.

With that in mind, I have created a simple guide on how to manage your PPC in a crisis below, with a concentration on recession.

Why Adapting Your PPC Strategy is Important

You may be sceptical about changing PPC in a crisis but it’s especially crucial and during these times you will have to look at every aspect of your business and tighten budgets. Adapting your PPC in a recession is important because:

  • Your business may have a smaller cash flow to work with.
  • Competitors will be working harder to gain an edge.
  • Overheads and raw material costs could increase.
  • Customers may have less free cash to spend.
  • A decline in sales could affect profitability.

During times of recession, businesses generally suffer unless they are an essential service or need such as supermarkets. Sales will drop as customers have less disposable income, while costs may rise including overheads and raw materials.

Even with the best PPC services you will still need to make changes and re-think how your marketing progresses.

5 Simple Ways to Adapt Your PPC Strategy in a Recession

Individual circumstances and the industry your business is part of will play a huge role in the impact a recession has. However, regardless, there are still some simple things you can do to keep your PPC marketing effective in times of crisis including:

1. Optimise, optimise and optimise

This is something you should be doing anyway but optimising your PPC ads is even more crucial during a recession. This is because every penny counts and your marketing budget has to stretch as far as possible while still yielding excellent results.

Essentially, you want the lowest cost possible for your ad bids and to still maximise your conversions. This includes optimising things like your ad copy, titles, keyword usage, and bidding strategies.

You could start by reviewing your current PPC strategy and calculating PPC budget based on the expected dip in sales. From there, you can look at the individual components of your ads and optimise each part.

2. Capitalise on competitor failings

This isn’t a particularly nice tip but it is a harsh reality. During times of recession, businesses will often go bankrupt and cease trading. It happens all too frequently and while this is terrible for the company involved, it presents an opportunity for your business and PPC strategies.

During times of crisis, make sure that you monitor your competitor’s PPC ads and check how they are doing. Perhaps you notice fewer marketing campaigns from them, or even that they are shutting shop. 

You can take advantage of the holes they leave and capitalise on the increased potential for absorbing their customers. This could include utilising different keywords or even using negative keywords with their business name. This is a very cutthroat approach but in times of recession, you have to operate like this!

3. Increase update and review frequency

When things are running smoothly, there is a tendency to let your business run itself provided you are making a profit! This includes fewer reviews and less active monitoring of your marketing campaigns – essentially you are not as disciplined and proactive.

You can’t do this during times of recession and it’s not really a great way to run your business in prosperous times either! As a result, it’s advisable to increase your scheduled PPC review meetings and monitor your ad’s performance more closely so no budget is wasted.

4. Concentrate on volume instead of value

During times of crisis and recession, customers typically don’t have as much disposable income and may not be able to afford the top prices. 

You have to adapt your PPC in a recession based on this and consider targeting sales volume as opposed to value. Oftentimes you will have to lower your product prices, so instead of extracting as much volume as possible from each sale, concentrate on getting more sales from more customers.

5. Adjust for changes in customer spending habits

If you look at customer spending habits before the crisis started, compared to during the crisis, you should notice a large difference.

People will have less cash to spend, luxury goods usually see a decline in sales, and customers generally become pickier about the businesses and products they use as they want better value for money.

You have to react to these changes and keep up to date with what your customers want. By doing this, you can alter your PPC in a crisis to match their evolved needs an buying habits.

Times of Crisis Require a Different Approach to Business, Including PPC

The worst thing you can do during a crisis is to simply sit back and continue doing exactly what you were doing beforehand. Taking this approach leaves you incapable of reacting to change. In contrast, if you are proactive and alter your PPC in a recession, you can keep ontop of the competition, reduce costs when things get tight, and keep conversions high as customer’s spending and buying habits change.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.