Are Google Ads Still Effective Post Covid-19?

Published on - October 19, 2020 by hesk-digital

Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another. Not only has it changed many things about our everyday lives and ability to travel, but it has also changed the way we use the internet and has affected the Google universe. As a search term, COVID-19 is taking over our search engine. Since February, coronavirus searches have increased by 260% globally, according to Google.

With many economies readying up a recession, consumer spending has been at a low. While we’ve seen a shift in what people are searching for, we’ve also seen businesses react to the decrease in consumer spending, which has affected Pay Per Click advertising. According to IAB, digital spend between March and June had been down 33%. 

So, are Google Ads still effective given the effects of COVID-19, and are there any ways you can utilise the shift in consumer behaviours to use Google ads more effectively? What is the impact of Covid-19 on PPC advertising? Read on to understand new search trends during COVID-19 and which industries have taken the biggest hit and which of those are flourishing, and how to utilise Google Ads.


Misleading Search Terms

Now more than ever, it is important that you pay attention to your Google Ads account. There are many keywords who’s volumes have increased. However, if you’ve seen an increase in search volume for flights and travel agencies, chances are those users are attempting to cancel their flights and holidays. Not picking up on negative keywords could cost you a lot of money in a PPC campaign.

The only way to understand if you’re wasting your money on a negative keyword is by checking your Google Ads account every day. To save your money, consistently review the search terms report. What you’re aiming to do is mark any undesirable and misleading keywords as a negative keyword. By doing this, you’re saving yourself money as Google will not show your ads for searches with those specific words such as ‘’airline flights’’ in this time.


Afterhours searches

In the past, after hour searches late in the evening have yielded a much lower conversion rate. However, with most people working from home and lockdowns affecting how our normal day is structured, people are searching online more at night, and we’ve seen impressions increase at night.

So how can you utilise this as a business? Redirecting a small budget towards running ads after hours is recommended. This gives digital marketers the opportunity to build awareness in general, with retargeting when they research. Through such a simple trend change, you could potentially increase your conversion rate to utilise Google ads.



Industry response to COVID-19

Consumers are keeping up with how industries are responding to the COVID pandemic and how specific businesses are responding. This all relates to consumer loyalty post-pandemic. Altering your approach to Google Ads may serve you better long term. Post updates on your website, respond to customer enquiries and answer the phone in these trying times. Collecting information about the way your customers are behaving and what terms they’re searching for and maintaining a Google ads account presence will benefit you in the long term.


Industry-to-industry performance

The shift in consumer behaviours, such as the decrease in overall spending may suggest that all industries have seen negative changes and a reduction in ad performance. However, some industries have seen an increase in PPC performance. Below are which industries had their Google ad performance increase and which got hit the hardest.


The industries whose Google ad’s performance increased the most


Business management

With people working from home, companies are attempting to survive the pandemic and are trying to figure out how to restructure their operations to support an online platform. The search term for business management grew by 23% since February. We’ve also seen office supplies grow as a result of people working from home with a conversion rate increase of 41%.



Many people globally have been turning to the internet to gather information on the pandemic and how to protect themselves from it. Users have turned to online stores to purchase face masks which have become the new norm, to over the counter medication — all in an attempt to protect themselves from the virus. Many advertisers in these industries have seen a large increase in ad clicks and conversions. The pharmaceutical industry alone has seen an increase of 47% in their conversation rates.


NPO and charities

Everyone understands that there are difficult times. More difficult for some more than others. People are attempting to find a way to help out in any way they can. They have seen a 10% increase in search ad impressions, a 23% increase in conversions and a 20% increase in the conversion rate. 


The industries hit hardest

While we all understand that the pandemic has resulted in a shift in priorities, this being prioritising public health over anything else. As a result, in a shift of priorities, we’ve seen some industries hit hard as a whole.



As previously mentioned, businesses have had to restructure to allow their workers to complete work from home and online. Moreover, with lockdowns and restrictions on domestic and international travel, it is with no surprise that travel advertisers are struggling to increase their conversion rate. Simply put, very little to no people are able to or are comfortable enough to book a  holiday abroad during the pandemic.

What makes it tougher for those marketers who work in travel and tourism, is the spike in negative keywords. Search terms such as ‘’flight cancellations’’ and ‘’flight delays’’ have not assisted the industry. It is important for travel and tourism businesses to promote easy cancellations and cooperate with customers in order to retain and build loyalty in the long term when restrictions loosen. It is very important to also add new negative keywords which relate to COVID-19 to your Google ads account.



Similarly, with people being on lockdown, and generally in no position to go out and eat out and seek entertainment, bars and restaurants have been hit hard. Those restaurants which haven’t temporarily closed during this time are seeing strict policies restricting the number of people allowed to dine in at once. This limiting how much traffic can even come through at once. As a result, restaurants have seen a decrease in search ad impressions by 18% and a reduction of 59% conversion rate. Moreover, bars/nightclubs have seen a 26% reduction in search ad impressions and a decrease in 57% in their conversion rate.


How to effectively use Google Ads post COVID-19

Ultimately, to successfully use Google Ads post-COVID-19, research is key. Analysing data available on how your industry is doing and seeing what sort of trends are present in your industry is an indicator. By setting realistic goals and expectations, marketers can keep a business alive during the pandemic.

Google ads will be more effective for some industries and less for others. However, taking the time to review your account to see what new opportunities there are for your business to market can improve your conversion rate. However, if you’re on the other side of things, you can still effectively use Google Ads by pulling back on specific campaigns and adding negative keywords.

If your business works with a marketing agency, ask them to review the last couple of months of data and to add negative keywords, cut budgets on low performing segments or even to invest in new keywords. During this time, it is important to market in a proactive manner.

Through reading and understanding the data presented in this article, and doing some further research for your industry, you will be able to use Google ads effectively. Moreover, implementing the tips shared in this article will help improve your PPC campaigns. Simply, Google Ads is still effective post-COVID-19. For some industries more than others, however, this doesn’t stop your business from using it to help your businesses situation.


About us

At HESK Digital, We’re experts in SEO, paid advertisements and analytics. We have over three decades of marketing experience and a senior team who has experience with major Sydney marketing agencies. We find it essential to keep up to date with and discuss developments in our field.If you’d like to grow your business and leverage our wealth of knowledge on analytics and SEO, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free discussion on how we can help.


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