4 SEA best practices to implement right now

Chances are high you have had to rethink your paid search marketing strategy since Coronavirus. In this article, we highlight the most important tactics you will need to employ during this crisis.

Make the most of your marketing investment

As conversion rates and revenue streams are either decreasing or increasing across a multitude of industries and verticals in a very volatile manner, many brands are calculating the impact on their paid search marketing and how they should react. Brands on a growth curve are trying to keep up, whilst struggling brands are keeping the focus on cost-efficiency and the forecasted performance targets.

Depending on your vertical and the estimated impact this may be the only option. However, a sole focus on maintaining the same hard targets as before the pandemic may also prove to be suffocating for your business. 

Given the current market situation, your business may benefit more than ever from “being there” for customers, staying in contact with them and letting them know they can rely on your brand. Building brand awareness keeps you at the forefront of customers’ minds during the pandemic, and will help you get your business back on track when demand increases again.

We recommend analyzing what works best for you and making data-driven decisions regarding your strategy. Either focus on a hard ROI target or try to achieve the maximum number of conversions or transactions still available in your market, whilst building and maintaining brand awareness. For the latter group, this may mean:

      • Increasing your investment in the upper funnel phases of your marketing funnel (See (Awareness) & Think (Consideration))

      • Shift budgets between marketing funnels, channels and campaigns, moving finances from lower funnel stages to upper funnel ones

      • Adapt messaging in both upper & lower funnel marketing

      • Decrease performance targets for some of your lower funnel areas

      • Split up or set different campaign targets depending on your renewed or additional business objectives (e.g. separate targets for your awareness campaigns)

    Leverage automation, A.I. & M.L., but remain vigilant

    Keeping your campaigns efficient in times of rapidly changing demand can be very time-consuming when you are running your campaigns manually.

    Marketing automation and leveraging A.I., machine learning, and automated bid strategies during normal times can benefit the efficiency, agility, and success of your marketing efforts, so don’t be afraid to leverage this technology during the coronavirus crisis. 

    It may help to reduce pressure on your resources, decrease wasteful spending and maximize your revenue and profitability. Where applicable you can start up new automation and bidding strategies to align with the changing landscape and renewed or additional targets.

    However, automated marketing campaigns informed by A.I. may also respond to erroneous or obsolete data, as demand and results are very volatile, so be wary and keep a close eye on performance. If necessary, manually adjust your strategy to meet your performance targets.

    Also, the incremental value of these technologies is in direct correlation with the amount of data available, so monitor whether your campaign is still meeting the minimum requirements and if needed, change bidding strategy and/or temporarily shift to semi-automated or manual management where needed.

    Inventory management

    For Search and Shopping, make sure your product feeds and inventory management are fully up to date. Where products are low in stock or unavailable, stop running your ads or segment these products to new campaigns and pull back on ad spend. In situations like this, where availability for certain items is changing rapidly, consider increasing the frequency of your inventory updates to avoid wasting your ad spend or disappointing customers.

    Make use of quiet times to increase the quality of your marketing

    If your business is suffering a period of decreased activity, we recommend you use resources that are freed up to improve the quality of your marketing efforts. Use the time productively to tackle those long-awaited optimizations that were parked or somehow mysteriously disappeared from the roadmap or pipeline.



        • Search query mining & negative keyword lists

        • Keyword research & keyword expansion

        • Remove duplicate keywords


          • Adapt Messaging in ads & extensions

          • Increase relevancy and ad strength

          • Expand ad types


            • Run product feed & inventory management health checks

            • Check feed rules

            • Check & improve your shopping structure & the use of custom labels


              • Improve search optimization score

              • Execute relevant campaign recommendations

              • Run campaign hygiene checks

              • Test new scripts & features

              • Remove obsolete campaigns, ad groups and keywords

              • Run a full SEA audit


                • Optimize your tracking setup / Floodlight configuration

                • Run a post-Covid-19 competitor analysis


                  • Take relevant online courses & training sessions

                  • Take exams and get certified