How adapting your PPC strategy could be what saves your business during uncertain times 

From major crises such as global pandemics, financial recessions or natural disasters to more minor shifts in users’ use of search tools and AI, a lot of things can have a detrimental impact on consumer engagement. As consumer behaviour is continuously subject to changes beyond our – and sometimes even the consumer’s own – control, it’s important to constantly be aware of how well your PPC campaign is performing, and the ways in which you can adapt it to new, sometimes unforeseen, circumstances.

Being aware of how and when to adapt your PPC strategy also demonstrates your intuition and expertise as a business, making you a more reliable option for potential customers and clients.

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If it ain’t broke…you might still need to fix it

So the saying goes, if something works to a reasonably successful standard, there’s no need to replace it. However, even in the most successful PPC campaigns there’s always room for improvement. Here at Embryo, we carry out comprehensive web audits and data analysis around PPC campaigns regardless of whether or not there’s an obvious issue to ensure that we’ve always assessed every option to maximise the effectiveness of ad campaigns.

If this is how our approach under normal circumstances, you can see how important an adaptable and updated PPC strategy is to dealing with the impact of uncertain circumstances on your company’s performance. During the covid pandemic, for example,  the UK saw an unprecedented drop in GDP (Gross domestic product) in 2020 as many businesses were unsure how to adapt to such a drastic change.

As competitors compete for the attention of the consumer market and costs of things like overheads and raw materials increase amidst a crisis, you might have to think about tightening budgets and altering your style of advertising in order to reduce your losses. By analysing and adapting your PPC strategy, you can mitigate the negative economic impact of something like this on your company.

One of the most fundamental ways of surviving a recession is to carry out regular reviews so that you are aware of exactly how your ads are doing for bringing in revenue, and so you can avoid any potential future precarity with your business as a whole.

How to adapt your PPC strategy in a recession

Boost your budget

While you should already be looking at ways to optimise your PPC budget in order to increase ROI (return on investment), never has it been more important than during a recession when customers are likely to be spending less, and in bidding for the top spots advertisers are likely to be spending more.

To put it plainly, you should be looking to yield the maximum conversions for the lowest output. You can achieve this by optimising your ad content, keyword selection and bidding strategies to make the most of the busiest periods of impressions. 

Smart bidding is also an increasingly useful PPC intelligence tool that analyses contextual cues and automatically optimises ads for conversion or conversion value. This means that Google is able to adapt to the changes in circumstances to prevent you wasting your time and your budget on keywords or ad placements which are unlikely to drive a significant ROI.

In order to spend smarter you have to know what (and how much of) your money is being spent on already – and to take into account how a decline in sales could affect your ads’ profitability.

Volume over value

The potential decline in sales during a recession could also negatively impact your target sales volume. In order to balance out having to potentially lower your product prices in order to maintain sales and important CRM (Customer Relationship Management), consider focusing on increasing your scope of customers rather than the volume of each individual sale.

Although this advice might seem to counter everything you thought you knew about ROAS, (return on ad spend), in times of crisis it might not be worth investing more in a smaller pool of customers who ultimately might not be able to follow through and complete the sale. Therefore, but without sacrificing the quality of your B2C relationships, it’s sometimes a wiser decision to spread your eggs amongst a few baskets so that you’re not just left with one big omelette.

Performance planning

By analysing current circumstances in order to understand how a crisis like the economic recession might impact your business not only now but in the long-term, you can adapt your PPC strategy to make the most of even the most dire circumstances. By combining Google’s Performance Planner and Google Trends, you can predict how the crisis will affect consumer and competitor behaviour and use this to inform your own marketing strategy and advertising decisions.

Capitalise on your competitors

As well as being aware of your own performance, it’s important to know how well your competitors are doing. As the trading market reduces during times of recession, you need to understand what bankrupt companies are doing wrong so that you can avoid the same fate – and take advantage of the new gap in the market.

You can do this by carrying out a PPC competitor analysis and using negative keywords to prevent others companies ranking for terms you want your company to show up for.

The takeaway

No one wants to find themselves in a crisis, especially if you’re still in the process of growing your business and your customer network. However, by understanding how you can adapt your PPC strategy and use it to your advantage, you can make uncertain times feel a little more certain, and make sure that yours is not one of the businesses that becomes a gap in the market.

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