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In this week’s PPCChat session, host Julie F Bacchini focused on the impacts PPCers seeing in their work because of the coronavirus outbreak, Effects on their work because of terrible economic fall and more.


Q1: Is your PPC work being impacted by the economic news and/or the coronavirus?


We are all working remotely now. @mindswanppc

Bit of a strange one for the channel in my sector. Similar levels of engagement, in some cases traffic *increases* but a reluctance to convert given the current uncertainty. @AzeemDigital

Depends on industry. We are seeing lower CPC for some clients! @MaverickAdverts

We’ve seen a spike in traffic for things that were considered more expensive item in (food, medical) vs. brick and mortar because people are worried about going out. @360vardi

Some clients haven’t been affected. One client did 4x on their previous best day ever. And one client had us shut everything down entirely. There’s been a range of affect. @jord_stark

Bigtime. We work mostly with dental & chiropractic clients. Some of them are closed, the ones who aren’t are seeing canceled appointments, no shows & far less search volume. We’ve had several pause their ads. @lindsaycasey

Yes, on a basic level we’ve seen some clients start to pause activity this week. On a more interesting note, where other brands have pulled back prematurely we’ve seen some clients have a good week and capture more traffic and sales as is usual. @scright

Definitely. Some clients have pulled budgets, others have changed the products they are focusing on. @SarahPixelHappy

Not getting enough impression / click on my display ads campaign! @sohammulani17

So far, not really. Music industry. Our service isn’t affected my quarantine – although the industry at large is – so traffic and interest has not yet seen a significant change. I have taken the advice to limit news site targeting, though. @danielparscale

Not yet. Having been in this business through the LAST recession, however, means I am fully expecting to lose about 20-25% of our clients because a lot of businesses get nervous and pull BACK on marketing (when they should be doubling down). @ynotweb

Also seeing fewer Search Impressions for many B2C clients. Volume is down as people shift their focus to more immediate concerns. @Realicity

DTC fashion client seeing big dip and pulling back. Other clients are antsy and I expect more reshuffling in the coming weeks. @NeptuneMoon

What I’m seeing on the other side is a total drop in marketing leads to us. Most anyone in the pipe paused, and I expect Zero inquires for a bit. @armondhammer

Cont and remember, people are losing income. it’s not just about whether they love your brand. if people suddenly don’t have cash to buy your product, that’s it. not a subtle issue. @JuliaVyse

Some clients much more so than others. In some industries, we’re seeing lower CPCs/CPAs — in others, it’s a bloodbath. @SamRuchlewicz

Starting to see health care spike in demand, and catering client plummet. @JonKagan


Q2: Have you changed any strategy or put anything into place as a result of the terrible economic news and/or the coronavirus?


Not yet. right now it’s a matter of pausing campaigns. We can’t invite people to a restaurant in good conscience, and we can’t ask people to conserve energy when they’re suddenly home and using heat more right when their hours are cut. pause pause pause. @JuliaVyse

Clients of certain industries have wanted to pause ads, not that’s an actual strategy…@MaverickAdverts

Removing all in-person/come visit messaging for sure, and encouraging online engagements. @JonKagan

It has caused me to pull back some testing ideas we had. It also has made me up my negative search term game. I have also been over-communicating if anything, so clients feel okay about where we are at. @lchasse

Stressing remote learning options more for higher education. @SEMFlem

We’ve moved aggressively off of automated bidding strategies for a number of clients – most automated tools don’t seem to do well with sudden, unexpected shifts in market conditions. Also, we’re monitoring placements vigilantly w/ tight controls. @SamRuchlewicz

Pulling back spend on some channels. Going it into others that are “working” still. Keeping an eye on all boards as they enter the harbor that is life.@duanebrown

Only minor tweaks but it seems as if the industry is moving towards the “strategic divestment in preparation for a seemingly inevitable Q3/Q4 digital advertising free for all” angle! @AzeemDigital

We have a few medical clients. Having to totally change strategy and messaging for them. @Mel66

I spent all day yesterday emailing every client to talk about the strategy changes I could see for them. Some were subtle some were huge but no one could just stand pat. I’m about to email my travel client for analytics that I m postponing their Billings. @armondhammer

I have! Shift budget up the funnel to non-monetary conversions. Like email list signups. People will buy again but not now. BE CAREFUL OF AUTOMATION. Algorithms don’t function in high-volatility environments. They’re not designed for it. @CJSlattery

We’ve started to plan campaigns for Q3/Q4 with potentially increased budgets with a couple of clients who have accepted the next few months are going to be tough. @scright

Automated bidding is a greater risk right now – the machines have no context for this. Also being mindful of display placements. @NeptuneMoon


Q3: What are clients saying, feeling or doing in the midst of all this?


let’s have a call, please pause, we don’t know yet, we’ll discuss tomorrow. @JuliaVyse

Our clients have been pretty level-headed, as a whole. Hardest thing is those who are now WFH when they didn’t before. Very disruptive. Many are also caring for young children while trying to work. Everyone is stressed out. Have to keep a level head! @Mel66

Being cautious. Making Plans for what’s to come. But acknowledging that plans are likely to shift swiftly as things progress. @Realicity

I make sure to send data early and often, so not a ton have been nervous yet. We also talk and I ask about (1) operational considerations (2) supply/distribution, etc… We also talk about social strategy, because you do not want to be that company….@lchasse

A lot are working out whether to pause now or when realistically they will have to pause a territory. Staying on top of the daily data and being more reactive to the changes seems a trend. A lot more comms heavy with clients in the last week. @scright

Most have been very positive. Proactive helps a ton. I had 100 percent response rate to the emails I sent yesterday. @armondhammer

On a business level they are nervous and want to figure out how to best navigate what is happening now and what is likely to come. As people, they are feeling like most of us are – stressed, a bit scared and uncertain. And, many are WFH with kids too, which is hard. @NeptuneMoon

Most really don’t know what to do. They’re all panicked. We’re trying to help them approach things with a level head and not to make rash decisions. But they’re understandably freaked out.@CJSlattery

One word: Anxious. Same as everyone else Because it feels like we’re in uncharted water, there’s the natural fear of unknown. Really hard to project impact to the business when there is no data to go off from (maybe 9/11?). @360vardi

Broader conversations from my side, had a client almost pausing last week but after discussion we let the ads run over the weekend as the search demand was still strong. They had a great weekend for sales and are taking it day by day. @scright

They’re nervous (understandably) @MaverickAdverts

I have also been very proactive with the agencies I do work for, so they have the information for their clients when they call. We just need to be ahead in front of things like good marketers should be. @lchasse

Right now most of them have bigger problems to deal with than an immediate concern with their marketing, other than messaging to address customer concerns. Employee absences, government ordinances/shutdowns, major supply chain issues. Coming soon to a state near you. @ynotweb

One client is proactively creating helpful content for their audience. They’re in the housewares space, so “how to stay sane when you can’t leave the house” type stuff. @SEMFlem

Unsure, scared, worried… asking me what I think or know is going on. This is when you show how strong your client relationships are and how to be collaborative. Dig deep and go all-in with your clients.  Some days I felt like people thought I was that “crazy” person in the movie who said stuff you thought just wasn’t right. Then halfway in, you find out they were right. They sound less crazy and now you want their POV. I’ve been prepping for this all my life. Battle-tested. @duanebrown

They are all working from home as well – but nothing much different in campaigns. @mindswanppc


Q4: Has this changed your strategy for yourself (your business) for Q2 and beyond? If so, in what ways?


There’s basically no work getting done in the UK/Europe at the moment, so my earnings projections have been torn up. So for the foreseeable future, I’ll be building long-term marketing assets for my clients and my own business.@stevegibsonppc

I don’t expect that I’ll close any new business until there is more clarity. If I’m wrong about that, great. And I’m not going to stop trying. @armondhammer

For real: We are all WFH now. I always have been so no diff there. Starting tomorrow my husband will be WFH too so that’s different. And my grad school son is home from college for spring break. Lots of distractions. @Mel66

NOPE. It has made me double down on what is working. Someone is always hiring, needing help… needing a consultant, advisor, strategy work done. Time to find out who those are and win market share if you can. @duanebrown

See answer A2. Take it while you can get it and expect a downturn as businesses pull back or just can’t make it. Californians were already struggling with recent laws that went into effect Jan 1 which they are still coming to grips with. @ynotweb

I’m in major cash conservation right now for the business. And I was a bit of a spendthrift (as anyone who’s dined with me knows). @armondhammer

So as a consultant this situation, particularly with kiddo not in school, is going to be challenging. My main work time was school hours… I am rethinking my capacity until we are on the other side of all of this, whatever that will even look like. @NeptuneMoon

A few clients are INCREASING spend to make up leads from canceled events. Haven’t seen too many pull budgets yet. Remember we are all B2B. @Mel66

Tough one, but really just keeping constant contact with clients to shift gears as necessary. Knowing spends may decrease and thus hours, we will need to keep costs low here as this continues. @lchasse

YoY planning for previous phases goes out of the window. Focus (and budget) shifts to engagement and softer CTAs across the sector. Shouting “BUY NOW” in this climate is the absolute wrong thing to do – yet brands still are. @AzeemDigital

I think sales slow down. Hiring as well. Training, interviewing. No events, conferences, etc..@360vardi

I just expect lower revenue. We have solid clients who we’re not going to lose, but they will inevitably spend less in Q2. And new pitches are unlikely to go on time. it’s not so much about acquisition as maintaining right now. @JuliaVyse

Heavy reallocation of budget to Q3/Q4. @JonKagan

Not really. In fact, doubling down on growth. I expect that we will be able to upsize into larger clients who are downsizing from bigger less efficient agencies. Call me Captain Ahab because I’m hunting whales. @CJSlattery


Q5: Is there anything we, as a community, could do to help you right now?


Share what we are seeing, learning and knowing when we can. Hang in there and be a listening board if someone needs someone to talk to. My DMs are always open. @duanebrown

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Businesses won’t be spending on new initiatives per se (or IDK maybe they will? A business banking client is doing oddly well) but they have unique marketing challenges that we can help with, even if pro bono  @ferkungamaboobo

I’m also having the kids build a directory of take out restaurants. So if you know any pass them my way. Starting Colorado first but will expand quickly. @armondhammer

Sharing knowledge and insight when possible will help the community a lot. As it’s an unprecedented event we can learn from each other. Example, something that @duanebrown shared earlier around cycling meant I increased the North American budgets for my client. @scright

If anyone needs tips on WFH, I’m here to help. Been 100% remote since 2007. @Mel66


Q6: When you just need a break from it all, what are you doing?


Getting outside. Fortunately, it’s been a mild winter and temps that are comfortable. @SEMFlem

Usually go for a walk outside to get some fresh air and stretch the legs. @lchasse

Bike rides. Walks outside. Now the snow melted I’ll start working on the yard & garden (even if it’s early) @robert_brady

+1 on the getting outside. We have a roof deck, so we have been going up there when the weather is not so bad. If we can get some warmer days here in NYC I’ll work up there which will be nice. I’m also learning to make cocktails. Fully stocked home bar! @CJSlattery

Music, reading, playing games with the fam, cooking and petting the dog. This song is stress-relieving for me:… @NeptuneMoon

Took my son to the park to play basketball. Just the 2 of us. It was amazing. Took the dog for a long walk with the wife as well. Another relaxing bit. @Realicity

At this point, it’s eat, listen to podcasts, watch tv, workout at home and read books. I al work on random top 5-10 lists of things. Today I will be doing Top isolation movies. Movies that mostly had one actor in the entire thing. @360vardi

I’m a huge advocate of fitness and getting exercise in – regularly. It’s a great way to check out from the stresses of the world, and good for the mind/body. Happy to share workout tips for those who may be interested! (Disclaimer: definitely not a pro!) @AzeemDigital

Reading. tons and tons of reading. And NetFlix and chill with the hubby. And playing with my puppies. @ynotweb

In more detail: Control seems to be a really good game, and very cool stuff is coming out of Minecraft right now. and of course, GTA5 is a very stress-relieving activity after a hard day. @JuliaVyse

Playing music (alone, sadly, not with the band like I usually do), reading, enjoying my family, exercising. @Mel66

Work on my water intake. needing to use the loo consistently (upstairs) becomes a nice regular mini-workout. Also, go hunting where my cat has gone hiding. Having pets always make #wfh a lot better. @mindswanppc

Took the family to a remote resort in the woods of Vermont. @JonKagan


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