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Hosted by Julie F Bacchini, this week’s PPCChat session focused on the changes PPCers noticed over the past week, Impact on the PPC industry post coronavirus pandemic, What lessons clients should take away from this outbreak when it comes to PPC and digital marketing and more.

Q1: Let’s start by checking in on how things have changed for you and/or your clients over the past week – what are you seeing?


Slow recovery of performance – Far from prior levels, but def not on the bottom. (B2B) – A few bright spots, a few that just wont recover. @armondhammer

Really super different depending on the vertical. Our e-comm clients are doing well. Some of them extremely well. Most of our service businesses are professional & home services and they are still struggling mightily. @CJSlattery

A mixed bag. Some B2B enquiries. Some prospects ghosting me. @stevegibsonppc

One ecomm client is seeing 2x typical volume for this time of year, one B2B client has stayed pretty much the same, and I’ve got a new potential client. @jennifer_lash

Client status: They want to do Facebook Live. @FindingAmanda

This past week was fairly similar to the week before for my clients, but that is kind of cold comfort, in that it’s merely holding steady after falling of a pretty large cliff the weeks prior…@NeptuneMoon

Very mixed. Lots of disapprovals on my public sector ads, very low volumes for my travel clients. @JuliaVyse

We’re seeing a lot of clients unable to deal with the volume of people hitting their websites, so a lot of virtual queuing. The worst I saw was around 300,000 people trying to access a DIY website. @SarahPixelHappy

We’re actually seeing things smooth out, not going up, but demand has stopped going up/down depending on the vertical. Google support (yes an oxymoron), has been more responsive than ever before, but not providing actual answers somehow. @JonKagan

(cont) for my clients, some recovery/stabilisation. But also some are now seeing things start to slow. (Most of my clients have paused ads on my recommendation.) @stevegibsonppc

Starting to level off. As @NeptuneMoon said, that’s not great, but at least it’s not getting worse. @Mel66

We also have seen a lot of less of the outlying searches. I don’t know whether people have stopped panic buying as much, or whether we got ahead of the situation. I would suggest the former. @SarahPixelHappy

Sales continue to ramp up for clients as people realize stores are not opening and the site is their online gateway. Some clients are entering their high season…so even faster growth. Dirt bike client had to hire two FTE to keep up with demand. @duanebrown

Outside Ecom. B2B client ended contracts with us but no one is buying or signing yearly contracts right now. Talked with a few potential clients last week. Optimistic we will sign one or two of them. @duanebrown


Q2: What do you think will be impacted the most after this is all over in PPC? Why?


Honestly not sure. I think what is impacted most could change based on how long we need to stay indoors. @JuliaVyse

Ecom will be huge(er) – But since I care most about b2b – I also think we’ll see more online inquiry that pays off. I honestly don’t know when we’ll return to the tradeshow model and/or the wine and dine models that so many relied on. @armondhammer

I think just broadly, we’re going to realize what we were WAY overindexed on. Thinking in particular about restaurants and biz confs. But I think there’s going to massive market consolidation. Long run? Digital ads ain’t changing. @ferkungamaboobo

I wonder if certian sectors will ever recover (travel) or spend like they used to. Will google’s power move help or hurt this? Not sure, but I’d hate to be expedia etc right now. Which I’d heard was one of the largest PPC spenders. @armondhammer

I don’t really see our industry being fundamentally changed. Where the opportunities lie may shift – more e-comm? I hope it leads to clients being more open to diversification in their efforts, but I’m not overly optimistic on that one. @NeptuneMoon

How much will we all default back into our old habits of buying off Amazon vs that new brand we tried. Plus what governments and countries will just bail out old industries, like airlines, to maintain the status quo. Ecom couldn’t ask for a better perfect storm. @duanebrown

Entire verticals will be decimated or wiped out completely (ie travel, automotive dearships, etc) @JonKagan

More businesses turning to online ads/ecomm functionality that hadn’t before, I don’t know if the industry will be changed but maybe more businesses start utilizing. @jennifer_lash

Seeing the impact of Amazon’s actions right now is also fascinating – from pulling out of search ads to prioritizing certain types of products and that lasting impact will be interesting to see. @NeptuneMoon

I’ve got lots of thoughts. I really wonder how we’ll be able to affect discovery in the near term. Because I’d like to help people find new alternatives to some of the big brands, but I think right now that’s more challenging. Will youtube fill the gap? @stevegibsonppc

I think the greatest impact will be during the lockdown/quarantine period. once things get back to BAU – movement, travelling, etc, volumes will pick back up. @mindswanppc


Q3: What do you think will be not impacted or least impacted after this is all over for PPC? Why?


Whether sudden contraction or sudden growth, I don’t see any area not being affected. @JuliaVyse

I think we need to look at it is impacted negatively vs positively. Healthcare/CPG/Food will return down to normal levels, after seeing spikes. I also think CTV/Video/YouTube is going to be sitting mighty high for a hot second. @JonKagan

I think the one thing that won’t be impacted is Google’s march to extract ever higher rents from businesses. @CJSlattery

G’s customer service. It’s not getting better. (1/4 kidding) Honestly, I don’t see how in the near term many of the models and modes change. I think this will keep google from implmenting many of the automation things they’d like to. @armondhammer

The platforms don’t seem to be changing much in response to this and I think they will keep going “business as usual”. @NeptuneMoon

To a certain extent I think every vertical and industry has been affected by this. Once life returns to ‘normal’ I think it’ll take some time for the confidence to go back to the way things were before to come. @SarahPixelHappy

I also don’t see anyone changing how digital marketing supports each other. Yes there are outliers, but I’ve seen people share more now than usual, when they could hoard that data or insight for any advantage in a tough market. @armondhammer

I don’t think anything is going to escape some sort of impact. @jennifer_lash

Anything related to the 7 deadly sins. Or kids and pets. Those 9 areas usually always bounce back…even in a recession. Restaurants just might look a little different. @duanebrown


Q4: Do you think in the aftermath of COVID-19 the agency vs. in-house cycle will swing big in either direction? Why?


What a good question! I think the fundamental question of in-house v agency remains, but with a layer of needing to run lean, but also quickly build expertise across verticals…@JuliaVyse

I feel the forces will keep it at a standstill. In House vs. Agency is a question that doesn’t have a good across the board answer in the best of times, so I’m not sure what all the pressures will do but I doubt a lot in the macro. @ferkungamaboobo

Going in-house will continue as there is so much talent out of work and companies can be even more picky. That could mean salaries aren’t as good as they use to be. Smaller and Indies have a chance to win bigger business too. @duanebrown

The cycle tends to be: Downsize quick, wait for growth, get agency to help, go in house. I think we’ll see mid term growth with those opportunties, but eventually get back to inhouse. But that doesn’t start just yet. @armondhammer

Honestly, it will likely depend on which operation still has staff, and if the otherside hired them up faster or not. @JonKagan

I think this will push the cycle out of its pre-pandemic in-house swing back to consultants/agency pretty hard. No benefits to pay and contracts can be either shorter term or terminated more easily than employees. I expect extreme cost sensitivity though…@NeptuneMoon

After the flu pandemic, people returned to relatively ‘normal’ behaviour quickly enough that it looked like mass amnesia. After the 2008 crash, LOTS of consolidation. We don’t know what will happen, but we can guess what might happen based on prior emergencies. @JuliaVyse

I think we will definitely see a shift back to agencies. Though I think we’re also going to see a shift toward more industry consolidation. I know Brain Labs has been on a buying spree. @CJSlattery

Don’t forget we have our community salary survey. Don’t let brands try to low ball your salary offer:… @duanebrown

Marketing teams and individuals have from what I’ve seen been heavily impacted by the furlough schemes (though nowhere near as much as travel or hospitality) so I think agency will do really well in the short term as people rebuild. @SarahPixelHappy

Maybe more toward agencies in the shorter term for quicker results/larger resource pool + many businesses cut spending from internal marketing depts…but once things settle (months, years?) businesses will get back to in house for longer term. @jennifer_lash

I also know that a pretty prominent PPC agency we all know is also being purchased, though I don’t know by whom. I’m assuming Brain Labs. @CJSlattery

There are always people hiring in a recession….seek those brands out and get that job you want. @duanebrown


Q5: What do you hope will happen in PPC in the post pandemic time?


I hope that the engines, especially Google, let go of their greed and treat advertisers as the valuable partners they are. Instead of just trying to get us to spend more money. @Mel66

I think we will continue to see the trend of greater competition, greater automation, and higher prices. If anything, I think people are going to be even more wary of advertising without performance attribution. @CJSlattery

We will see a lot of increase in budgets for a short time, which means more benefits for agencies. I know it is not realistic, and we will see more push back on the rates and not increasing that much, but I just wished. @rezarostamirad

Since it’s hope, not actually think will happen, my answer will be very different. I hope that people start to realize that we’re all on the same team – agency, google, client, inhouse. And start listening to each other. I’m really tired of feeling adversarial. @armondhammer

The very first Optymzr Town Hall hoped that this would be the start of a marketing revolution as brands // retailers would go back to the drawing board and be less dependent on a single channel. That would be a great consequence of this for all channels. @SarahPixelHappy

High funnel efforts are going to be refined to efficiency play, to slowly recover losses, and eventually scaled back out to normal operating procedures in 3-4 quarters. @JonKagan

I hope that brands realize that branding advertising, yes that thing that has shitty ROI or ROAS or whatever acronym you want to measure, MATTERS A LOT. You need people to want to not just buy, but BUY FROM YOU SPECIFICALLY. That takes real, sustained effort. @NeptuneMoon

I hope the level of transparency and collaboration stays the same, it was great before but it’s gotten even better through all of this with more people willing to communicate/share tips. @jennifer_lash

I also really hope that a lot of the crap gets weeded out of the various systems too. Scammy ads, advertisers – they need to find a deep hole and bury themselves. @armondhammer


Q6: What do you hope clients take away from this time when it comes to PPC and digital marketing?


That advertising is a necessary element of doing business. You can’t just treat it as a luxury. @Mel66

Strike while the iron is hot! If you can make two months of revenue in April. Do it! If we have the team and product…let’s aim for that high revenue figure. Believe in your brand as much as I do. @duanebrown

An appreciation for the work we do and the Herculean effort that goes into keeping the ship steady in rough seas. That PPC is highly specialized and requires a great deal of expertise to be done well and we deserve strong compensation. @CJSlattery

That the best work that we can do isn’t often the new launches and growth. It’s the hard grindy work that finds waste and makes everything better. Because that work became critical for a lot of clients. @armondhammer

I hope that clients will better understand the benefits of longer haul advertising strategy. Chasing “quick wins” is something I hope I don’t have to do for a good long while… Also trusting us to give you advice about PPC but also about your biz when appropriate. @NeptuneMoon

I hope people will see the value of building an audience/community. @FindingAmanda

There should be a renewed focus on profitability over mass revenue (I hope). @JonKagan

Paid marketing budgets are essential. The strategy and our approach is based on expertise, and we’re not just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks even in a time of crisis and that we want what is best for them because ultimately that is what is best for us. @SarahPixelHappy

That advertising is essential: not just BOF/high ROAS/quick wins, but TOF long term branding too…and an appreciation for everything that goes into providing this to businesses. @jennifer_lash

I also hope “but this is how we’ve always done it” can take a nice long vacation and new ideas can get a chance to be tested and tried. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? @NeptuneMoon

That branding is important to do and if you reward your loyal customers (not just the new ones), they will keep being customers and come back when their finance get better. @mindswanppc

Also that a pandemic doesn’t mean all online volume will fall off a cliff. Test things out before you start pulling back on budget unless your competitors will steal your market share. @mindswanppc


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