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Vijaya Bharti
Author: Vijaya Bharti

What is the impact of COVID-19 on Google paid ads

What is the impact of COVID-19 on Google paid ads?    

COVID-19 has had a strong blow on the economies of most of the countries. The lockdown situation and temporary closures of businesses had a strong impact on Google paid Ads. The campaign performances of small and big businesses have had to go through changes due to the pandemic.

As people have had to stay at home during the pandemic, the online search and online shopping trends have witnessed a surge. While this has resulted in new leads and customers for some businesses, others have suffered and have had to modify their strategies according to the current trend.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought about a ‘New Normal’ in our daily lives but also in the digital universe. For instance, many IT businesses have been searching for robotic process automation services to automate their routine and labor-intensive operations to cut down on manpower costs during COVID-19. The economic downturn caused by the pandemic has resulted in new keywords surfacing on the Google Trends coronavirus insights page. The sudden change in consumer behavior has impacted Pay Per Click advertising.

Consumer Trends in Digital Advertising since COVID-19    

In the effort of keeping up with the impact of COVID-19, here are a few trends that are emerging in digital advertising and Google paid ads.

  • A surge in night search    

    There’s a rise in the number of night searches with more people searching on Google during the night hours. Therefore, running ads during night hours may yield good results.

  • New searches dominated by COVID-19    

    As per the data by Google Trends, the searches for COVID-19 in the US shot up in March. Users are referring to Google for information and answers on Coronavirus.

  • Increase in useless keywords volume    

    As a result of COVID-19, many people were searching for queries related to flight cancellations and related information which led to an increase in keyword volumes that aren’t particularly useful.

  • A shift in consumer behavior    

    According to Google, there are five main shifts in customer behavior impacting search which are finding new connections, adapting to the New Normal, maintaining health, assembling critical information, and praising frontline workers.

How COVID-19 has impacted Google Paid Ads in Different Industries?    

The ad market was expected to grow to $865 billion by 2024 before COVID-19. However, the pandemic resulted in a significant drop in advertising spending across the world. As per reports, 24% of media buyers, brands, and planners have had paused their ad spendings until the end of the second quarter. Also, 46% of them adjusted their spending during the same period. While COVID-19 has had a negative impact on Google paid ads for some industries, others have experienced an upsurge in their PPC performance.

  • Non-Profits and Charitable Groups    

    Non-profit organizations and charitable groups have witnessed an increase in search ad conversions by 23%. The search ad impresses increased by 10% and the ad conversion rate increased by 20%. This increase was mainly due to the increase in search volumes by people who are looking to help during COVID-19.

  • Business Management    

    As COVID-19 resulted in companies switching to work from home, employees experienced a shortage of office supplies. This led to an increase in the search for office supplies by 90% which in turn increased paid search ad clicks by 35% and search conversion rates by 41%. Moreover, retail businesses also had to shift their operations online due to which the search for packaging and shipping supplies doubled. The search ad conversion for these supplies shot up to 123% and the search ad conversion rate went up to 107%.

  • Healthcare and medical    

    The fear of COVID-19 increased the searches for information on precautions and preventions of coronavirus. Moreover, users switched to online stores and SERPs to buy OTC medicines to prescription medicines. This has aided healthcare and medical businesses to sell their products online with increased ad clicks and conversion rates. Therefore, the impact of COVID-19 on Google paid ads in the healthcare and medical industry has been positive.

  • Real Estate    

    With low borrowing rates and a pause in the housing market, the search traffic was stable for the real estate industry with a little change in the search volume, conversion rates, and CPC. However, the conversion rates and search volume has been declining for construction and property development. Real estate listings and agent searches experienced increased CPC. The conversion rates for real estate listings fell by 25% and the conversion rates of real estate agents increased by 30%. Further, the search volume for relocation and moving services increased by 11%.

  • Automotive industry    

    The automotive industry witnessed a drop in the average conversion rate by 30% in March. The steep fall was a result of COVID-19 and other factors as well. The average change in the search conversion rate fell more for vehicle dealers and vehicle parts & accessories, while the same increased for vehicle auctions, vehicle window tinting, and vehicle repair & maintenance.

  • Travel and Tourism Industry    

    Perhaps, one of the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic is the Travel and Tourism Industry. Since the outbreak of coronavirus, all the businesses, people, and governments of all countries have avoided unnecessary travel. This resulted in a significant drop in travel-related searches. However, the searches for flight delays, cancellation, and restrictions shot up. As a result, travel advertisers were not able to convert their traffic.

  • Restaurants and Bars    

    The other industry that suffered a strong below in terms of online searches, traffic, and conversion was the restaurants and bars industry. Restaurants and bars were forced to close the dine-in options and deliveries also suffered as customers avoided ordering out in the initial phases. Consequently, the search ad impressions and conversion rate for bars and restaurants fell significantly. However, as the lockdown restrictions are easing in many countries, customers are adapting to the new normal way of living. With more awareness about coronavirus, people have resumed ordering takeaways and doorstep deliveries. Some restaurants are also allowing dine-in options by following social distancing norms. This will eventually lead to a rise in the search ad impressions and conversions rates in the coming months.

  • Industrial and Manufacturing    

    Due to the lockdown, manufacturing operations were halted and PPC campaigns were also impacted. The CPC of the industry increased by 5% whereas the conversion rate dropped. As a result, the advertisers suffered a drop of 13% in the search traffic.

Considering these and several other industries, the impact of COVID-19 on Google paid ads varied for different industries. While some industries witnessed negative impacts of COVID-19 on their ad campaigns, other industries either witnessed positive or mixed impact. However, as many countries are in unlock mode, businesses have begun operating again. Moreover, COVID-19 has led to an inclination of customers towards online shopping for most of the things. This may be good news for many businesses as they can now make successful strategies for ad campaigns on Google and other platforms.

Author bio    

Vijaya Bharti is a Content Writer at Enuke Software Company specialized in RPA, iOT and Blockchain app development. She is passionate about writing tech blogs and believes learning is always an ongoing process and there is no end to gaining knowledge.


Truly said. Lockdown and covid crisis have halted many a functions including advertising.. Good insights on industries and their actual performances...

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