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SEO Web Design / SEO  / Paid search ad copy strategies during coronavirus

Paid search ad copy strategies during coronavirus

“It seems very obvious to update ads, but the reality is very few advertisers are doing it,” Microsoft’s Rik van der Kooi said during a live-streamed event[1] for partner agencies Tuesday.

The top consideration for many marketers as the implications of coronavirus became clearer has been budget[2]. But there’s a real opportunity for those that focus on messaging during this time.

Data-informed messaging

“We have been using data to help show [clients] opportunities to continue to grow their business and to help others in need,” said Spencer Jahnke, senior manager of paid media at Minneapolis-based digital marketing agency Augurian.

“Utilizing Google Trends on a more consistent basis has been useful to show shifts or increases in search interests, and search term data has helped inform us of newly peaked interests that have surfaced along with COVID-19 and helped inform our messaging.”

Invest in the upper-funnel

For products that are seeing a drop in demand during this time, Jay Stampfl, CEO of Blackbird PPC, a San Francisco-based digital advertising agency, says, “I am treating it similar to B2B clients in deep Q4.”

“Move toward upper funnel conversion optimization while building remarketing lists of people researching during COVID-19,” advises Stamplf. You’ll then be able to stay top-of-mind when consumers are more inclined to buy.

“Its time to push industry-relevant/thought leadership content. People have a bit more time now working from home where they’re brushing up on their professional knowledge,” he said. “The idea is to focus on engagement and then retarget once we get to the other side.”

Likewise, Jahnke said his agency is advising clients to focus on thought leadership content (including live streaming if applicable) and to shift tactics and messaging to focus on brand and mission awareness.

“This means shifting our messaging to focus on our client’s mission. In some industries, consumers are a bit more hesitant to take action because of all of the financial uncertainty, but focusing advertising messaging around your brand and how your brand can help will pay off in the long run.”

As Microsoft’s van der Kooi said Tuesday, sales cycles are going to be longer[3] during this time. Being a bit more flexible with your CPA and ROI and thresholds, he said, will help ensure you can close sales over a longer than usual time period.

Assure and empathize with customers

If there’s one thing this crisis has shown it’s the ingenuity of businesses to rethink entire processes and business models[4]. Be sure your ad copy reflects how your company is responding to this new environment.

Clearly communicate empathy gor your customers’ current situation. Referencing the ability to use products or services at home with messaging like “Stuck at home?” or “Learn X at home,” has been working, said Stampfl. His team is also using language calling out ways customers can use their free time while cooped up at home.

Highlighting “Free shipping” or “hassle-free delivery” types of benefits are also a no-brainer, Stampfl added. That is if you can live up to the promise. “Review shipping settings and estimated delivery time to ensure you accurately reflect current capabilities,” Google Ads noted in a checklist[5] of campaign considerations during COVID-19. 

“With so much uncertainty in the world right now, people are looking for some source of consistency and certainty,” said Jahnke. “Whether it’s guaranteed ship dates or free downloads, we want to make sure there is no ambiguity, and that we are putting the user’s mind at ease.”

Additional resources

About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.


  1. ^ live-streamed event (
  2. ^ budget (
  3. ^ sales cycles are going to be longer (
  4. ^ rethink entire processes and business models (
  5. ^ checklist (

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