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Hosted by Julie F Bacchini, this week’s PPCChat session has raised concern about coronavirus outbreak affecting experts’ work and daily life, Kind of impact it can have on their clients & agencies, How can they be more protective & be more prepared for a major disruption like this and more.


Q1: How concerned are you about the coronavirus causing major disruptions in the world in general and specifically to your work (or daily life)?


I think it’s probably going to have major impacts even though I feel like they’re overblown. @CJSlattery

Very concerned, both work-wise and personally. I have a chronic lung disease so if I get coronavirus, I’m in a lot of trouble. And it’s already affecting some of our PPC accounts. @Mel66

Fairly concerned. Supply chains and economies rely on the movement of goods. Healthy people are pretty important to everything from the farm and manufacturing to the delivery to the customer or consumer! @MaltzPPC

I also feel like it’s going to impact the economy generally which will impact PPC a lot. Probably the first thing to get cut. @CJSlattery

Can I answer this in two parts? I’m anticipating significant changes to conferences, travel & maybe even work arrangements, but I’m not worried about that having a materially negative impact on productivity or outcomes for our clients. @SamRuchlewicz

Well, given I was on a train that passed through (and stopped in) Milan today, probably less concerned than most. @stevegibsonppc

I think the impacts are going to be significant. The world economy is already in chaos with supply chain issues. Big events are already being canceled. I would not be surprised to see schools closed for a while. @NeptuneMoon

Less daily lift interrupted for me, but I have a travel client, and our org is not approving any travel. no speaking gigs for me coming up. @JuliaVyse

Hasn’t really impacted our clients. I know it’s on the news a lot and a serious matter, but statistically, we are not talking about a lot of people. BUT, what do I know? @360vardi

The coronavirus is more of a concern if you are producing in factories in China or anywhere that requires their workers to be quarantined for a period of time. I’m more worried about inventory shipping on time than I am getting the virus. @RyBen3

I’m 75% remote – it could come to disrupt my monthly office visits as I fly back and forth between London and Madrid. Daily life is unaffected, both my partner and I are remote and WFH so we’ve been practicing isolation for a while now. @scright

A little worried for clients with supply chains that involve China. Other than that, unless the mortality severely increases in developed countries I feel pretty ok. I am a little worried for my mom who’s a flight attendant. @jord_stark

Though it does have an impact on my personal plans as I planned to spend the 2nd half of this month in Venice. Not happening. @stevegibsonppc

You and me both. Those of us with underlying conditions (particularly of a respiratory nature) are higher than normal risk. But at least it’s warmer out. @netmeg

Medium concerned about Coronavirus impact on my biz/life in general. I loved John Oliver’s take on it. TL:DR : “Don’t be complacent but don’t be an idiot” @FindingAmanda

Becoming fairly concerned, I have a few clients that make their money from foot traffic and in store visits in locations where there are recorded cases…they’re already seeing declines in physical traffic. @jennifer_lash

For my Amazon FBA business very concerned cuz #outofstock on the advertising side also concerned for clients who rely on inventory and supplies overseas. @KyleShurtz

I *do* think this is going to make significant waves across the economy, which *will* likely have materially negative impacts for lots of people/businesses, especially those directly impacted (logistics/manufacturing/travel/tourism/entertainment). @SamRuchlewicz

So, I have feelings. First – I think it will be disruptive. Second – I’m not convinced it needs to be as disruptive as it is going to be. I think panic is going to be the worst part. @amaliaefowler


Q2: Is the coronavirus something that is already impacting you/your clients and/or is it being talked about for planning for disruptions it may cause?


This happened just a few minutes ago – got an email from one of my team: “(Client) is promoting an upcoming conference and just yesterday, keywords around “cancellation” and “corona” appeared suddenly and with gusto, eating up about 10% of our spend”. @Mel66

Yes. travel disruptions in terms of business meetings and my travel client is already seeing the impact in terms of search volume, additional negatives, and overall loss of interest/more caution by customers. @JuliaVyse

It is affecting clients. Issues with supply chain, which is logical, for one. Also, have a TEFL client that’s definitely affected – they recruit for English speakers to teach in Japan. Also seeing drop-offs in impressions and/or purchases for some ecom clients. @nikkijumpfly

Not so much, yet. I think everyone is waiting to see how it will impact their business first. @MaltzPPC

Yep, manufacturing in China is at a halt. Because of that, American manufactures are inflating prices, making profit margins slim-to-none. @MaverickAdverts

It’s definitely being talked about because if not prepared, it can affect your business. There should be contingency plans in place in case it really does go viral (and I don’t mean social media virality). Hope for the best, but definitely prepare for the worst. @RyBen3

Already seeing impacts, some clients are already seeing an impact from less physical store traffic and one client that sells N95 masks will be sold out of them for the foreseeable future. @jennifer_lash

Seeing all the conferences canceling is impactful as we are also hosting an event as a company in a few weeks. On the personal side, I am wanting to take my wife somewhere nice for our 5 year anniversary and don’t want to be quarantined. @KyleShurtz

I have a client that does culinary tours in Italy… so, not good there. Other clients, not yet. @NeptuneMoon

Definitely impacting travel plans as well both business and personal. We were thinking about taking a cruise later this year but will wait until this blows over. @Mel66

I think Chinese/Korean manufacturing is already impacted/ Anything with travel or public places as well. I do find myself not wanting to go eat out as much, wash my vegetables way more than normal and just stare at every coughing person. @360vardi

No impacts yet for any of our clients directly but the slowdown I imagine will be impacting. @CJSlattery

The biggest trend I’ve noticed is the cancellation of conferences. Brainstormed some Livestream/video related ideas with a client today as Plan B. @FindingAmanda

Impacting – not yet but soon. Client just started purchasing in large quantities from hard-hit areas, and pretty sure we’ll start feeling it. @netmeg

Client brought it up yesterday and sales feel slow and it’s also a slow time of year for this brand. @duanebrown

It isn’t impacting us very much. My only worry is events I’m going to maybe cancelled. Other than that, a hand sanitizer station appeared and I’m washing my hands more frequently. @amaliaefowler


Q3: What kind of impact do you think coronavirus could have on you, your agency/company, clients, etc.?


We’re giant and fairly well positioned, so we’ll likely weather the storm. But our travel and ecom clients will need contingency plans. We already have instructions about working remotely – hope our VPN holds up! @JuliaVyse

Acquiring product. @netmeg

Definitely worried about gatherings going down and supply lines getting tighter. Different clients bring different concerns here. @MaltzPPC

Been a while! Just dipping in quickly. I’m a little concerned as I’m due to speak at a conference abroad soon – but the organizers have been great with their communications. Conferences are all responding differently I find – some cancelling altogether. @AzeemDigital

We have travel restrictions for all business travel – only critical travel is allowed and has to be approved at upper levels. No international travel. @Mel66

We have already been talking about this as a leadership team. Fortunately, remote work is an option. I can’t imagine companies who can’t work remotely and how impactful that will be. @KyleShurtz

Far-reaching negative effect on travel and touring clients for sure. I think people could initially knee jerk and pull some budgets in case they need the money for a “virus emergency” because the marketing money always goes first. @jord_stark

Product stock, anything travel-oriented, anything food/beverage-related. I feel bad for people working. @MaverickAdverts

I think it will probably be the straw that prompts a global recession. I think we might actually see digital ad spend decline and agencies are gonna be one of the first spending line items on the chopping block. @CJSlattery

I think this could reveal who is manufacturing for demand and those who are carrying larger inventories on the commerce side of things. This isn’t always a topic that gets discussed with me present. @NeptuneMoon

Worried, for me, about traveling to a trade show in Vegas in two weeks and what I’ll encounter (no handshaking, pls). Also worried about this affecting clients more and more if this continues for months. We are doing a test on Friday – all of us to work from home. @nikkijumpfly

I may have to go back to working from home, which I can do, but I’m actually more comfortable at the clients. Hate having to keep my door closed and my hand sanitizer always ready tho. @netmeg

I’ll be looking at trends for our hospitality clients, they’re going to feel the biggest impact. I also expect economic impacts where businesses reassess their investments in digital. March is always that time of year, this will make that impact bigger I feel. @amaliaefowler


Q4: Do you have any plans in place for how to deal with a major disruption like coronavirus or a natural disaster, etc.?


Client-side it’s mostly negative keywords & placements, and then following their direction. For our org, we have contingency plans in place. @JuliaVyse

Personally, stocked up on essentials (food, tp, medicines, etc). For work, we’re doing a test to all work at home on Friday (there are 40 of us), so we can see what bugs need to be worked out if we were to have to close. Works for current situation, or nat disaster. @nikkijumpfly

For work, I’m lucky (we’re lucky) because so much of our work can be done remotely. I keep telling my team to stay home if they are sick and just log in from there. With clients, a lot more Zoom meetings (perhaps the only stock doing better?) @amaliaefowler

Go to Dad’s house. He has food storage. haha jk,(but not really). I’m not sure our agency has emergency protocols but that’s a great question. @jord_stark

Money in the bank. Apart from that, if it gets really bad, head back to France or UK. @stevegibsonppc

I already work from home, so that part is covered. Proactively bringing up the subject in a regular call or meeting seems like a good idea right now too. @NeptuneMoon

Yes. I’m amazed at how some brands are seeing this as an opportunity to do something off-brand/make light of it (which I don’t agree with). Ads people are launching right now slightly hinting at the Coronavirus, including Corona. @RyBen3


Q5: How can we be proactive and help clients (and each other!) navigate major disruptions?


Oh totally – I have no control over those people at all though – I like to keep my train of thought in the realm of what I have control over, which is telling my employees to go home and work from there if they’re sick. @amaliaefowler

Well I’m going to be reaching out to a brand new e-commerce client that manufactures their own stuff to ask about their supply chain! @CJSlattery

Brainstorm potential ideas for various scenarios. You always need a plan b.@MaverickAdverts

Well, these particular groups is great at sharing info and resources. more shared negatives, shared placement negatives, sharing news and so forth. Keeping up to date with comms is one of the best things we can do. @JuliaVyse

I think doing what we are doing right now. Talking about it, discussing potential issues, and coming up with solutions. @jord_stark

For clients, this will ultimately come down to their own business decisions. Proactively, the best we can do to help is possibly find areas to make cuts, if necessary. For each other – anyone has a lead on clients in the disinfectant world? @MaltzPPC

Well, @CJSlattery has already been voluntold that he’s my venting partner for this adventure. I think being mindful of your actions affecting others is the big one. Be an advocate for reasonability, take care of your own health, help the vulnerable. @amaliaefowler

For client, this will ultimately come down to business decisions. The best we can do to help them is to look for areas that they can scale back if needed. @MaltzPPC

With regards to clients – help them out where you can. Recognize impacts – offer a hand if possible with fees (keeping in mind your own limitations of course). And visit retailers/locations where you’re comfortable that are being affected by stereotypes. @amaliaefowler

I agree with paying attention and sharing here if you find something helpful. As for clients, you could be the catalyst for them actually thinking about this, so don’t be afraid to bring it up. @NeptuneMoon

From a marketing perspective, we should have “disruptions” on our radar. But I feel most clients aren’t affected by the “big ones” that reach mainstream press. It’s more stuff that clients won’t see on their daily news hour that we should flag for them. @ferkungamaboobo

I love reading through #ppcchat #fbadschat discussions during the week to see what others might be doing. I also think joining groups with creative ads only use the power of a network & learn form others. Stay connected and it helps us all be proactive. @RyBen3

One disruption very quietly happening is the tightening of mixed-content rules w/r/t HTTPS — what your devs could “get away with” even 3-6 mo ago is creating site-breaking errors in browsers now. @ferkungamaboobo

Also – please please PLEASE dissuade that client who thinks it’s funny to build ads around this It may be funny (internally, people use humor to deal with crisis) but it will hurt the brand. @amaliaefowler


Q6: Is there anything that we, as an industry, can or should do to be more prepared for a major disruption?


In this case, there isn’t much we can do in terms of agency life. it’s about having a diverse client portfolio, but honestly, Google or FB can change anything they want at any time, a recession can hit, any number of things can happen. we just have to roll with it. @JuliaVyse

This is simple but I like having client cell phone numbers stored in my phone in case I have to text them about something urgent and one or both of us isn’t near a computer. @FindingAmanda

The best way is something I learned at a single-industry agency: know your clients’ industries inside and out. Do your SWOT analyses on both your client & the industry so you can keep an eye out for what’s going to affect things and how you can best navigate it. @ferkungamaboobo

Do your research, look into multiple sources and know what’s going the best you can. Then you can put together a strategy and know what you’re dealing with. The more you know, the more control and influence you will have. @jord_stark

I think in some ways we are used to certain disruptions (random acts of Google/Facebook) and can deal w/ them and figure it out. Paying attention to the macroeconomy is a great practice. You can ask clients questions about how things might impact them. @NeptuneMoon

Use online tools, plan for extended absences among your team + build in redundancies. The things I think will end up hurting agencies are having one person who’s the “expert” on a client + no one else knows what’s going on. @SamRuchlewicz

I happened to write a blog about this (business risk management):… @stevegibsonppc

Can’t say it better. @KyleShurtz

For those who don’t remember 2008… Things can get real very fast when the bottom falls out of the economy. Have a plan for yourself and your business in case budgets get cut and people start taking FOREVER to sign new contracts. @NeptuneMoon

I do think single-industry agencies have to be more aware and more prepared – it is a reality that if something shifts in that industry you have to be able to adapt quick I feel for hospitality agencies right now. @amaliaefowler

You mean like catastrophe? if so, backup! so many clients I come across that don’t have their data backed up. With how cheap data is on S3 / Glacier there is no reason for every website to not be backed up at least monthly. @pmkoom


Q7: Are you concerned about the economy right now? Long term, short term?


Yes. keepin it simple. @JuliaVyse

Yes, I’m concerned about the economy. Both short and long term. There’s ramifications here that we can’t foresee globally. @nikkijumpfly

Even before the coronavirus started dominating the conversation, I was carefully watching the economic indicators. Prepare for a bumpy road in the next 6 to 18 months – whatever that means for you. @NeptuneMoon

Yes. I’m concerned more long term. I think we are fine in the short term. I’ll stay neutral this. @RyBen3

Concerned for the next few months, at least. Some things like shipping have a built-in delay, and that means that it will take longer to get back to normal. In addition, the potential disruption to everyday life for a sizable number of people is concerning. @MaltzPPC

I’m always paranoid and conservative (not politically, just my personality :)) but I think as I say “as long as there is search, there will be SEO (and PPC.” But I do think it will bounceback, I’m confident that the world leaders will come up with a solution. @pmkoom

Longer-term, no. Sometimes it’s good for bubbles to burst before they get way too big (see: 2008) – and I think we’re in-line for something similar to the ’01 recession (brief + relatively shallow) as opposed to 1929/2008. @SamRuchlewicz


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