As we know PPC (pay-per-click) is a vital component of any marketing strategy as it has the potential to increase business leads and increase brand reach thereby reaching a wider more diverse audience. However, the rise of COVID-19 not only affected brick and mortar stores, but also PPC campaigns. 


How did COVID-19 impact PPC

COVID-19 has impacted each industry differently, the same goes for PPC campaigns in a specific industry. Certain industries such as medical, legal and real estate saw its PPC campaigns affected due to COVID-19. 

Medical: Since the health industry was particularly affected by COVID-19, elective medical services (cosmetic surgery, laser eye surgery, etc) saw a massive drop in impressions and clicks, while CPC remained steady. Non-elective medical services also saw a drop in the first few weeks of lockdown, which is due to the reduction of services offered by hospitals. However, by April this began to increase across the board. 

Legal: Legal services had remained consistent yet saw a slow decline in clicks and impressions at the start of lockdowns around the world. However, certain legal sectors, such as employment law, were predicted to grow due to many people being laid off. 

Real Estate: The property market took a huge shift worldwide which explains the slight drop in both clicks and impressions since the start of the pandemic. The impact COVID-19 had on real estate is immediate as house viewings were limited due to social distancing and since people were being retrenched, mortgages were unaffordable. 


What can a PPC manager do?

It is important for PPC managers to keep up with the trends in order to remain competitive in the market. There are certain trends which emerged due to COVID-19, and just like COVID-19 these trends are going to be around for a while. 


#1. Video is a powerful tool

The pandemic has forced people to watch Netflix, YouTube and even create their own videos on social media platforms like TikTok. It is predicted that 82% of internet traffic will come from videos considering YouTube is the second largest search engine. 

Many businesses already make use of PPC video ads, however, it is crucial for these ads to adapt to Google video ads, YouTube ads and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok.

By incorporating Google video campaigns, businesses can reach a targeted and captivate audiences because more people consume videos than read a blog post. PPC campaign can feature ads to be shown before, during or after YouTube videos and can be in different formats including:

  • Skippable ads 
  • Non-skippable ads 
  • Outstream ads
  • Video discovery ads
  • Masthead ads


#2. Voice is the next best thing

In the last couple of years the shift towards voice search has become extremely popular as consumers use Google assist, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Consumers tend to find voice search easier and more convenient. It is predicted that 50% of consumers will make use of voice shopping by 2022. 

Since voice search is more conversational and informal, PPC managers would need to develop new keywords and phrases, and the best practice to do this includes:

  • Long-tail keywords should remain 
  • Revisit the current teams people are using and adapt it to voice search
  • Using question-based phrases are common (who, what, where etc)

Seeing as though most people use their mobile phones for voice search, it is crucial to mobile optimise everything including ads and landing pages. PPC managers should consider call extensions, it allows searchers to call the business directly by using voice search.


#3. Diversify PPC ad spend

Relying on Google ads is great but PPC managers should make use of other paid advertising platforms such as social media platforms. COVID-19 has made businesses question their marketing efforts which is why in times of uncertainty, it is a good idea to diversify marketing campaigns across different media platforms and split the ad spend. 

“As Google continues to move away from actionable data and more toward machine learning, it will be vital for advertisers to be well-versed in other advertising platforms that allow them more control over their spending, reach, and messaging. In order to do the best work we can for our clients, we simply can’t rely on Google Ads as heavily as we once did.”

Christine Zirnheld, Digital Marketer, Cypress North

Using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok might be more costly than Google PPC campaigns, but depending on the target audience, these platforms might need to be prioritised.



It is important to always prepare for the inevitable and uncertain circumstances, and by adapting a business’s PPC strategy is a starting point. PPC managers are expected to keep up with the trends in order to get the most out of their paid marketing efforts. PPC used in conjunction with SEO is vital for the success of any business. Read this article on how to make digital marketing easy. PPC can also be daunting at times, which is why this playbook explains everything PPC-related. 


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