Why COVID-19 isn’t the end of advertising and PPC campaigns

Global events have always had an effect on search behaviour and COVID-19 has been no different. With most of the world working from home, users have spent more time searching online. Because of this, some industries have seen click-through rates increase and cost-per-clicks fall during the lockdown. However, with some industries not being able to work and therefore sell, some would have been forced to either reduce their spend or pause their campaigns completely. As some industries are returning to work and there is now a timeline for other industries to reopen, there has been a shift in the last week and many advertisers are starting to spend again.

Best performing industries


Charities have seen an increase in both ad impressions and conversions during the lockdown period as people look for help and to help others. Charities and nonprofits have benefited from Google Ad’s grants which have allowed them to advertise for free. 


It is of no surprise that we have seen an increase in people turning to Dr Google. Consumers who are not allowed to leave the house still need vital medication and want to find out medical information. Because of this, health and medical advertisers have seen a large increase in clicks and conversion rates; ad clicks have increased as much as 34% whilst conversion rates have increased as much as 47%.

Beauty and Personal Care

Beauty and personal care products have been in high-demand during the lockdown. Items such as hand sanitisers and soap saw their search terms rocket as COVID-19 started to spread in the UK.

As the lockdown continues, personal care items such as hair clippers are now seeing their search item increase rapidly.

Businesses in this industry are seeing their Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs) decrease whilst conversion rates increase. As there is now a timeline to businesses opening back up, it could be a good time for businesses in the beauty and personal care industry who don’t sell online to start looking at Google Ads. These businesses can take advantage of the low CPCs to start a low-cost campaign to build awareness and attract new customers for when they are able to open.


COVID-19 is not just affecting people’s health, it is also affecting them financially as well. Because of this, people are searching for help and advice with their finances. For an industry that normally has very high CPCs and some of the most expensive keywords, the Cost-Per-Clicks have been falling. With an increase in Click-through Rates (CTRs) and Conversion Rates (CVRs), advertisers in the finance industry should be looking to Google Ads for a good Return-On-Investment (ROI). 

Worst hit industries


With the lockdown taking place on a global scale and governments advising not to travel, the travel industry has been hit massively. As some companies in the industry are struggling, there have been some that are resuming the paid search campaigns. Trivago, and Tripadvisor are a few companies in the travel industry who have decided to run their ads on Google and Bing again. Searches for “holiday” have also started to increase in the last week.

Bars and Restaurants

With bars and restaurants forced to close during the lockdown and looking likely to be one of the last industries to reopen, the industry is struggling. Because of this, restaurant search ads have seen an 18% drop in impressions whilst bars search ads have seen a fall of 26%. Both have also seen considerable drops in conversion rates. Whilst they look at introducing delivery and takeaway services with providers like JustEat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo, they have struggled to gain much success on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). 


The automotive industry is another industry to be hit badly by COVID-19. With dealerships closed, cars are not being sold and the lockdown has caused supply chain issues for new  cars. As consumers look at their priorities, switching cars is not very high on their lists. Because of this, search volume for car dealerships is down.


As worksites are only just starting to open again, many projects are now behind schedule which will end up delaying future projects. Conversion rates on ads in the industry are falling whilst the Cost-Per-Click is rising. This is also at the same time that search volume has also sharply dropped.

A lot of companies in these badly affected industries will be scaling back and even pausing their PPC campaigns. Just because most of the companies in your industry are doing this, it’s more reason for your company not to (if possible). It’s important to remain visible and stay in front of the minds of your consumers for when your company gets going again. If a number of your competitors pause their campaigns, it will mean less competition for you to be seen and also lower CPCs. You will need to change your campaigns and messaging to stay relevant and will lower CPCs, you will be able to lower your bidding strategy as well.

Can PPC help your business?

As you can see, some industries have been busier than ever before during the COVID-19 crisis whereas others are struggling to stay afloat. As the UK is getting closer to coming out of lockdown, it’s important that your business is front of mind of your consumers to help get your business thriving once again. Companies such as Google and Facebook are supporting small-to-medium sized businesses by offering ad credits and grants. If you would like to find out more information on how to apply for these or would like support in creating and running your PPC campaigns, get in touch today.

Written by: Thomas Coughlan
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