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This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by Julie F Bacchini who sought experts views on the trends they are noticing in the PPC advertising, any theme they have found in the campaigns that are positive or effective, any changes made in the accounts, where are they finding inspiration these days for their campaigns and more.


Q1: Have you noticed any trends in the PPC advertising you’re seeing in the past few weeks? Types of ad, messaging, etc.


Varies by vertical, pricing is flat, regardless if the traffic is going up or down. @JonKagan

Aside from *REALLY* noticing when people aren’t social distancing in ads, the biggest thing I’m seeing (generally) is a bifurcation of brands — those that are conscious of what’s happening + adapting, and those that are just letting the old stuff ride. @DigitalSamIAm

I’ve seen more brand ads (not pushing their stuff or showing something they are doing to help, like make masks) or greater frequency for home decor (enjoy your indoors) and workout clothes. @NeptuneMoon

Non-high end brands are going well and high end can do well if it’s not clothing related. If you sell to parents, exercise/workout stuff or anything for pets. You’re making bank right now. @duanebrown

I’ve seen a lot more extended free period and still operational messaging, but that’s on industry searching and I would expect them to be all over it. Some of the eCommerce searching I’ve been doing is same old, same old with poor extensions. @SarahPixelHappy

Ironically I just shared a Tiger King ad I saw. Otherwise, truthfully I haven’t noticed as much about ads because we’ve been so busy just trying to stay on top of the additional work needed right now, plus reporting week! @PPCKirk

Interesting how some clients are adapting their messaging and even products they are pushing, and some aren’t, and are expecting the exact same results as they were getting before this. They still expect the same volume and same ROAS. @nikkijumpfly

I’ve seen a lot more free shipping promos/policy changes, more ads focusing on home goods and comfy clothes. @jennifer_lash

I’ve seen a lot of brands are doing their emails differently, rather than their PPC. McDonald’s, for example, gave everyone the McMuffin recipe. Supermarkets are updating on their welfare and stock limits. @SarahPixelHappy

Amazon dropping out of shopping results has been really, really interesting on the Google Shopping end. @ferkungamaboobo

Looking at data for ecom/retail industry, shows all channels are benefiting right now….if PPC ads are doing well. Great time to survey the market and bring clients industry data that goes beyond PPC. We never work in silos. @duanebrown

I have seen two groups recently. Brands that have pivoted towards isolation and those who are just doing business as usual. Overall trends being less polished. @zmste


Q2: Have you seen any ad campaigns that you thought were really great in the past couple of weeks? What made them great in your opinion?


I can’t really think of any, curious to see if others come up with something. I think “crisis” tends to spawn fewer “great” ad campaigns, but tends to reveal “really bad” campaigns. @PPCKirk

Seeing ads that are offering more than just the product – stress relief or ways to be charitable, here are 2 I saw on FB yesterday. @NeptuneMoon

Most of the good one’s have been brands saying what is really going on in the business and being honest. Especially for SMBs. @duanebrown

Call me cynical but I am just seeing a lot of tone deaf ones running. @JonKagan

Personalized, esoteric content that’s made for the a specific audience and then hitting that audience. None of the mass market national campaigns are working well. But the content that’s for individ. groups is doing well on FB right now (prod/serv plays a role too). @timmhalloran

Overused = ‘we’re all in this together’ ‘unprecedented’. Let’s find a way to get that message across with some different words, please. @FindingAmanda

The one’s I’ve been impressed with have just shown transparency/explained how they’re adapting as a business/how they’re trying to help communities + make things accessible with the changed environment. @jennifer_lash

I’ve seen some companies who have shut down their website for orders but left their PPC running, but can’t think of any great campaigns. @SarahPixelHappy

ABC mouse ad with the mom and two kids talking to the camera. Some UGC is awesome and help people connect. @zmste


Q3: Is there a theme you can find in the campaigns that you find positive or effective on you as a customer/consumer right now?


This isn’t really an ad thing, unless you feel everything’s an ad, but communication is key. My local co-op has been doing so well with this and it’s been a nice beacon of calm “this is what we’re doing.” vs the torrent of soulless groceries missing the mark on comms. @ferkungamaboobo

Less corporate speak and long emails that legal went over. Don’t use 10 words when 6 will do. @duanebrown

The biggest theme takeaway for me for ads I feel like are doing it well right now is “it’s not about us, it’s about you” – meaning offering something of value in a way that feels helpful and not like a vulture-like sales push. @NeptuneMoon

The key is to solve a problem, no need to mention the situation. I’m bored and nervous about my job prospects – better yourself with Masterclass! My dog needs grooming – here are some doggy nail clippers! @FindingAmanda

I think coming across as understanding and compassionate vs. straight up ads. Understanding folks are stuck at home or understanding what people need. @lchasse

Sounds elementary at this point to most of us but just brand building, helpful stuff. Don’t be afraid to refer to COVID but don’t capitalize on it. You can smell it from a mile away. Great time to stay top of mind with low CPMs but do it right. @timmhalloran

I’m preferring the adverts // websites // emails which aren’t doing the hard sell right now. I think the transparency is useful, and I think those companies who have treated their staff well will benefit further down the line. @SarahPixelHappy

A lot of bulk buying and hoarding (ie larger cart size and wholesale purchases). Seeing a lot more question based queries as well. I now feel shame for laughing at those starring on “doomsday preppers” @JonKagan


Q4: Have you seen any ad campaigns that you thought were really awful in the past couple of weeks? What made them awful in your opinion?


To focus on business, reading tons of industry reports and sleeping. I’m sure others have seen stuff. @duanebrown

Seen way to many ads with countdown units built into it. Everyone say it out loud: “When there is a pandemic, I shouldn’t do a countdown for anything!” @JonKagan

There’s been a few times I’ve said “mehh I don’t if that’s the best right now” but nothing super awful. No one knows the rules right now so I’m slow to pass harsh judgment. @FindingAmanda

I don’t have any screenshots of terrible ads. I agree about definitely being able to tell the difference between brands that reviewed what they are doing now and those who did not. @NeptuneMoon

I’ve seen some tone deaf handbag ones on Facebook. One was basically saying they were now selling bags with 80% off as they were overstocked due to the crisis. The other was pushing their April sale and it just says ‘let’s stay positive x’ at the end. @SarahPixelHappy


Q5: Is there a theme you can find in the campaigns that you find terrible or with poor messaging for you as a customer/consumer right now?


I think ads where I see companies just being tone deaf to what is going on. You can really see who is using some emotional intelligence in their thinking vs. those who are not. @lchasse

I hope all of this takes influence culture down a peg. Ads that are aspirational are hard to do well generally, but nearly impossible now. I hope we can all be more real whenever we come out the other side of this! @NeptuneMoon


Q6: Have you changed anything that you’re doing in your accounts in the past week? What motivated the change?


We pivoted on a couple accounts, due to changes in customer behavior. One client I work for sells jigsaw puzzles and those are really big right now. Other clients have totally different items in their top 10. Help solve the customer’s need. @lchasse

I work mainly with Google Shopping campaigns so with Amazon pulling out of the auction it’s been strange. I’ve been removing a lot of automated bidding strategies as search is all over the place and products that haven’t done well historically are booming. @SarahPixelHappy

We’ve been slowly reintroducing some automation with controls + lots of guardrails (especially around look-back periods for conversions). Now that “volatile” = “normal” I’m curious to see how that performs. @DigitalSamIAm

Super cheaper CPMs are letting me test more ideas faster and at once. Always looking for ways to make us more money. IG Story polls. @duanebrown

I’ve also been looking more at e-commerce trend articles, particularly from Europe to try and get ahead of what people have been searching for in Spain and Italy (as they’re a few weeks ahead of us) to try and work out what’s next for UK searching. @SarahPixelHappy

We’re also doing a lot of shifts around audiences — many of them are completely worthless now (i.e. job seekers = everyone; news junkies = everyone; business travelers = irrelevant), and regional-specific ones look + perform a LOT differently than they used to. @DigitalSamIAm

This week I’m taking a hard look at ad extensions and have made recommendations to clients about reviewing their email messaging, both post sale and for nurturing or retention. Many of those programs are automated and have not been checked on…@NeptuneMoon

ToD/DoW splits look….odd right now. So figuring out how to accurately describe to Google/FB/Twitter how to value them is tricky + imprecise. Don’t love that. On the search front, head term performance is hotter trash than usual, so adjustments needed. @DigitalSamIAm

Placements (esp. for video campaigns) are bonkers. Lots of parents have kids at home watching YouTube (or whatever) while logged into their accounts, so that’s been a treat. Lots of exclusions added & lots of new kids things being learned – I feel cool again. @DigitalSamIAm

Totally shifted what’s selling for some clients. I’ve got several school supply clients that we’ve seen a massive shift in what’s selling on the site as parents buy instead of teachers. Starting some campaigns we only run at back to school with home school messaging. @nikkijumpfly


Q7: Where are you finding inspiration these days for your PPC campaigns?


Search queries on your site are full on data. If you review the past 30 days, 14 days, you can find trends. These trends are important to finding those golden nuggets of opportunities for brands. Zero search results is another. Should you be carrying something? @lchasse

European e-commerce trend data has been really useful for us, as has the search query data from our European clients, but that’s really only benefitting UK clients. As Europe unlocks the queries will shift again. @SarahPixelHappy

We are lucky enough to have our customers emailing us almost daily about how much they appreciate our product. It has been eye opening as to where, when, and why they are buying form us. It lifts spirits and provides awesome information. @zmste


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