Top Action Items To Successfully Navigate The COVID-19 Environment With Paid Ads

Since the end of the 2008/2009 recession, life for companies marketing their products has been good. The employment rate has been low, and the economy has been booming. Customers have had plenty of discretionary income and businesses have subsequently thrived.

Over the last few weeks this has all changed. The recent Coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed our day to day lives for both us and our customers. However, especially for those companies that are selling products online, there still exists the opportunity to continue to market and sell your products.

The bottom line with COVID-19 is don’t panic. Make smart marketing decisions based on your data.

How Does COVID-19 Affect Different Industries

It may come as no surprise that sales for many companies have been significantly affected in a negative way over the last few weeks. However, it may surprise you that many companies have had either increased or flat sales over the last few weeks as well.

Below is a list of different industries that have been seeing the different effects of COVID-19 – the positive, mixed and negative.

Industries seeing better performance

• Health & Medical
• Non-profits and Charities
• Business Management
• Finance
• Media
• Beauty & Personal Care
• Gifts

Industries seeing mixed performance

• Home improvement
• Retail
• Home Furniture & Decor
• Automotive
• Legal
• Jobs & Education
• Real Estate

Industries seeing worse performance

• Travel & Hospitality
• Sports & Fitness
• Building & Construction
• Industrial & Manufacturing
• Bars & Restaurants
• Live Entertainment
• Conferences & Events

Regardless of which of the industries above you find yourself, there are ways to optimize the current trends in order to generate the most sales possible in our current environment.

Here are the top 3 actionable items I’m implementing for my private clients:

1. Ensuring Your Existing Paid Traffic Is Clean

When reviewing different Google Ads accounts, the area I generally see the most wasted spend is what advertisers are spending in driving traffic from unrelated search terms.

Most of the times unwanted search terms driving paid traffic is usually seen in Google Shopping campaigns. In Google Shopping campaigns, you of course don’t mandate your own search terms. Instead, Google matches your product title and description with customer keyword searches. This is an automated process that is less than perfect and mismatches in product vs search terms can lead to some expensive mismatches to advertisers not keeping tabs on what terms are driving paid traffic.

Especially during these times, keeping track of how you are spending your advertising dollars is essential. I recommend that advertisers review their Search Terms report at least on a weekly basis, if not more often depending on your daily spend.

In order to see exactly how to keep track of what keywords are driving traffic and to remove unwanted searches, review my article – Keyword Search Terms – Unlocking The Ads Puzzle {revised 4/8/20}.

Note, just because I mentioned Google Shopping as typically being the main culprit of wasted spend doesn’t mean that Google Search terms are always providing clean traffic. In fact, many times quite the opposite. Depending especially on which keywords types an advertiser is using, Google Search campaigns may have more wasted spend than Google Shopping.

2. Know Where In Google You Are Advertising

About 9 months ago, Google announced some “exciting” news that soon Google Shopping ads would automatically be eligible to appear inside YouTube and Google Discover.

For those Google advertisers who did not see this announcement or at least did not act upon it, in June of last year all their Shopping ads would have started to display inside YouTube and Google Discover.

Was this a good change?

It of course is going to depend on individual advertisers whether they saw positive or negative results, if they did not opt out of displaying their ads on YouTube and Google Discover.

However, appearing on these networks is more geared toward display advertising, where customers are not typically actively looking to buy. And typically, display advertising is much less profitable than shopping intent advertising.

I explain the change and exactly what it means in my article – New Changes to Google Shopping Could Cost You Big Time!

If you don’t know what the change is or how it could be affecting your advertising spending inside Google Ads, I suggest you read it.

If you have been showing ads inside these networks, I suggest you take a good look at your profitability before and after June 2019.

Because at times like now, it is essential to make sure you know exactly where you are spending your advertising budget.

3. Look at Expanding Ads Budget To Include Bing

Yes, I said it, ‘Expand’. In today’s environment expand may be a blasphemous word; however, for some of my private clients I’m seeing much more profitable results currently advertising using Bing Paid Ads compared to Google Paid Ads.

Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) have always been a bit of a little brother to Google Ads. In normal times, Bing searches amount for approximately 10% of Google searches.

However, these days anything is but normal.

Microsoft/Bing currently powers about a third of desktop searches. With the percentage of mobile searches drastically declining and desktop increasing during the past few weeks, Microsoft/Bing has only seen a 5% decrease in traffic (significantly less than Google).

Current facts are dictating a higher percentage of sales coming from Microsoft/Bing and those sales are generally being achieved at a lower cost per acquisition.

If you are not currently using Bing or haven’t been reviewing your Bing Ads, now is the time to do so. I recently released an article regarding the surge in profitability in Bing Ads as well as the process of moving over Google Ads into Bing.

You can read it here – Microsoft/Bing Ads – A Surge In Profitability

Final Word

Now are crazy times. It is natural with human instincts when uncertain to pull the covers over your head and wait for things to return to normal.

However, for those with the courage to stay the course, opportunities do still exist.

Only by actively watching your advertising and making sure that you know where and how you are spending your ad dollars; you can ensure you are spending it wisely.

Now may be the time to ‘tighten you belt’, but that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice driving sales.

By refocusing wasted spend found in unwanted keywords into spending where trends are driving more sales, such as Microsoft/Bing, advertisers may find themselves actually gaining market share while continuing to drive profitable sales.

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Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal


Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit or read The Full Story on his blog,