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Google release Ads playbook amidst Covid-19 pandemic 

Marketing is ever changing and we often look at the digital landscape based on the calendar and in terms of recurring events.


Every so often though something comes out of the blue, dominates the conversation and means that companies have to be reactive and look at changing their strategy.

The global Covid-19 pandemic is one such instance and its effects have made the digital marketing industry sit up and take action like never before. Some businesses will have thrived in the face of this challenge, I’m thinking specifically of Amazon, supermarkets and even those that offer specialist products like language courses or online education for children. Others, most notably the travel sector have been decimated. So what can we do and where do we turn when trying to navigate this strange new landscape.

A recently published document by Google looks at the world of online advertising and offers itself as a playbook to make sure your brand is performing well under these new pressures. This blog will look at the key points of the document and highlight some of the steps you should and could be taking. Let’s begin…

According to Google: “COVID-19 has changed life as we know it – and as we do everything we can to keep each other safe, our routines have fundamentally shifted. The necessary measures taken to manage the pandemic have disrupted the global economy and altered consumers’ expectations, habits, and purchasing behavior. This has resulted in new challenges to supply chains, fulfillment, physical stores, and for employees and customers.

“We’ve seen businesses around the globe – including our own – adapt to these new realities. While these are unprecedented times, we’ve seen businesses start to think about the path to economic recovery in three stages – respond, rebuild, and reframe – each with distinct priorities. Businesses, industry verticals, and markets are affected differently by each stage – with some moving faster than others – but we’ve observed that the vast majority remain focused on responding.

“The nature of this crisis requires us to go beyond business as usual. For marketers, it can be a chance to try new strategies, think outside of the box, and reinvent the way we connect with audiences. And when we get through this, the innovative and compassionate approaches we put in place have the potential to bring us closer with our customers and communities.”

The three key points that the playbook makes is that you should: 

Base your approach on consumer insights

With over four billion people staying home worldwide, consumers’ behavior and media consumption habits are changing rapidly. As a result google has identified three search patterns since the onset of COVID-19: shock, step-change, and speed up.



As you evolve your short and long-term digital marketing strategies, it’s important to understand nuances in consumer patterns so you’re in the best position to respond to this dynamic environment. Handy consumer insights to consider when setting up an ads campaign include:

  • consumers across the globe are spending 20% more time in apps than they did a year ago
  • staying home has led to a 60% increase in the amount of content watched
  • search interest in “online grocery shopping” and “grocery delivery” grew 23% year over year in the US
  • consumers are watching videos related to recipes and cooking at a rate 31% higher than they did in March 2019
  • 50% of US consumers said they used video to communicate with family and friends
  • more people are turning to online video for help in coping with anxiety and stress

For those wanting further support and ideas in terms of trends Google recommends looking at Shopping Insights, Google Alerts and Find My Audience.

So how do stay on top of all of these trends? Well Google listed the following five points to help users:

Filter across properties

You can now explore trends across Google Search, Image Search, News Search, Google Shopping, and YouTube Search.

Compare your search terms and topics

You can add topics for simultaneous comparison across languages, locations, and time periods.

Explore by category

Words often have multiple meanings, so make sure to find what you’re looking for on Trends. For instance, if you search for “mask,” you can add a category to indicate whether you mean protective health equipment or a type of beauty product.

Use Trends search tips

Refine trends with punctuation, group search terms, and filters.

Understand the data

Understand exactly what data is in your results and how Trends data is pulled, including how it should be interpreted.

Understand the impact to your business

Each company has unique goals, so the Respond stage will be different for everyone. But overall, we’ve seen businesses’ marketing impacted in four distinct ways by COVID-19 — and they don’t always progress directly from one to another. 

Identify which of these four situations relates most to your business, then consider the corresponding digital marketing strategies. These recommendations should help you sustain your business in the short term while laying a foundation for recovery.



Develop a strategy and take action quickly

Google make suggestions in the playbook and says the following:

“The response to COVID-19 has changed the way people interact with businesses, presenting supply-and-demand disruptions, as well as logistical disruptions that have made operations unpredictable.

“If your company is facing these challenges, you might be looking to invest in digital marketing only if it has a positive impact on your business in the next 30 days. You might also be contemplating pausing your advertising campaigns if you’re experiencing severe supply-and-demand volatility.

“Amid these challenges, you can still be there for your customers by adapting your approach and marketing objectives. Below are some recommendations to help you rethink your advertising strategies as you navigate this time of uncertainty.”



Following these steps offers the best chance of positive digital performance in light of the pandemic. The full link to the PDF from Google can be found here…


Speak to an expert at Click Consult to find out more about our PPC services (including in-house support). Call us on 0845 205 0292, email hello@click.co.uk or use our contact form.



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