Dear Digital Entrepreneurs, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Google’s New COVID-19 Insights For Business

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business insights
14 min read

Here all the business insights you need to know to sustain your digital business in times of corona.

The current global crisis has disrupted the global economy. There is a general air of dysfunctionality that has drastically altered consumers’ expectations, habits, and purchasing behaviour.

Owing to these changed behaviours, Google recently published an in-depth report on all their insights and analytics into this emerging consumer pattern. This includes all the basic business insights that can help digital businesses sustain in times of corona.

Kool Kanya has created this mini-guide for all the digital entrepreneurs to help strategise their marketing better via these business insights. 

Buckle up, this is going to be a long ride! 

In this COVID-19 Digital Marketing Resource Guide for 2020, I will be covering the following larger themes. Click on the respective titles to jump to the corresponding sections. 

Business Insights Into Changing Patterns Of Consumer Behaviour

With over 4 billion people staying home across the globe, the consumers’ behaviour and media consumption patterns have undergone an immense transition. Mentioned below is a general pattern of search query and how one can alter their strategy in relation to each pattern of search behaviour for your business insights.

Overall, Google has identified three basic search patterns since the onset of COVID-19: Shock-Step Change-Speed Up.

Shock

This kind of search query corresponds to the erratic hike in search patterns scouring for things that are unlikely to sustain. For instance, things like Coronavirus related news, the status of education/offices/lockdown, etc. These patterns saw a quick rise at the onset of the pandemic and then quickly dipped to make way for the next pattern of search query as people began learning to acclimatise themselves to this new lockdown reality.

Pro tip: Since these searches are especially time sensitive, it would require an immediate content response as a part of your strategy to drive traffic.  

If you’re a digital content creator of any kind, curating content around those sporadic search queries would put you on the map and help increase your visibility. It would drive relevant audiences – looking for the answers you have revised your strategy and created, to your platform.  

Step-Change

This corresponds to the hike in the consumers’ needs to begin coping with staying at home and learning to live life, remotely. This too is a relatively sudden change in behaviour, but one that is more likely to sustain. So for instance the rise in at-home workouts, easy cooking recipes, and other exercise and home-improvement related searches would fall under this category. 

Pro tip: Since this change is here to stay for a tad longer than the previous pattern, it would make sense to re-organise your marketing strategy to incorporate these search queries. 

Similarly, devising your content or your product to suit these changing needs and demands would be a good way to begin adapting your business to the consumers. 

Speed-Up

As the name suggests, this is the acceleration in the existing patterns of behaviour, one that is bound to rise as consumers get attuned to this new reality. So for instance, search queries like home delivery-related services, groceries, medication and navigating the road to procure other essential services is something that consumers are beginning to look for. Evidently, this is just the start and this trend will increase rapidly.  

Pro tip: This is especially useful if you’re a digital retail entrepreneur. 

Reconfiguring your resources and altering your strategy to build products that are a need of the hour is a good way to adapt your business to this time. 

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What Do These Business Insights Mean For You?

This section focuses on assessing the impact that these insights may have on your business. 

Since each business has distinct goals, the manner in which these insights impact every business too, will be unique. Overall Google has identified 4 different business insights in which businesses can largely be impacted. 

business insights

1. Your business is facing new challenges

This impact is more applicable to businesses that base their operations and earn out of a definite supply-and-demand model. 

So if you’re a digital entrepreneur who operates on the aforementioned basis, like retail, selling online services, or engaging in online marketplaces; the changing patterns of consumer behaviour is likely to present a supply-and-demand disruption for you. 

Pro tip: If these are the challenges you currently face, invest in a revised digital marketing strategy.  Evaluate how that will work out for you via testing this new revision for a limited time period. 

In other words, to be there for your customers at this time, you need to adapt your approach and marketing objectives .

To jump to the strategies you can employ right now, click here.   

2. Your business is reassessing priorities

If you’re confused as to how to respond to COVID-19 and wondering about whether your products and services are even relevant to your audiences right now, this is the time to re-assess and re-evaluate.

The world has gone virtual and is going to stay this way for a while now, so it is time to look at providing digital products and services. Adapt to the changing times, it’s a good time to go digital. 

Pro Tip: But before that, focus on mitigating risk in your existing business model. 

Think about options like building your business resilience via cash management or scaling back to give yourself more time to reassess your business priorities. 

To jump to the section on tips on how you can alter your business plan, click here

3. Your business is adapting to newer products and services

An extension of the aforementioned reassessment of priorities, the next level in this response pattern is to shift your focus to newer and more relevant products and services. 

The changing search patterns call for a pivot. Adapt your existing products and services, create new digital offerings, and find newer, more innovative and digital ways to reach your customers. 

Pro tip: Focus on understanding how to shift your strategy and investments to be able to make your products and services available online. 

In order to seek your customers digitally, move your products and services online by taking advantage of technology tools to increase the digital visibility of your business. 

To jump to the section on recommendations to help take your revised digital marketing strategies forward, click here.   

4. Your business is increasing investments to meet new demands

This shift in consumer behaviour has resulted in some businesses experiencing higher demand for their services and products than before. 

This is especially true for businesses which operate in products and services in the aforementioned step-change and speed-up behaviour patterns. So if you’re into services like online delivery, groceries, home-improvements, home-exercises, etc., this is the time to invest to meet increasing demand.  

If your company is investing , you may be in a position to expand to new audiences, markets, and customers. 

Pro tip: Assessing your immediate and long-term marketing plans. Find ways to invest in your business to address this higher demand – and serve your customers in the best way possible. 

To the jump to the section on recommendations to evolve your digital marketing strategies, click here

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business insights

Finding A Way Forward

So how does one go about incorporating these business insights in your digital marketing plan to help sustain your business in times of corona? This final section will address a way forward with the corresponding recommendations for all the above situations.

1. If your business is facing new challenges

As you adapt your approach and marketing objectives to sustain yourself and stay relevant, here are some immediate pro tip recommendations that can help your business. 

  1. Invest in digital marketing only if it has a positive impact on your business for the next month or so. 
  2. Pause your existing advertising campaigns, especially if you’re experiencing severe demand and supply volatility. 

Here are three strategies to help shift your digital marketing focus more effectively. 

  • Find ways to get better results from your digital ads: Switch to target bidding strategies to make conversions more cost effective. Set more conservative targets and put on hold groups and campaigns that are not currently cash flow positive.
  • Focus on your most valuable customers: Adjust your ad audiences to prioritise customers who are most likely to take action. Exclude geographical locations where you have paused or significantly reduced operations already. Adjust ad scheduling to reflect any recent changes to your operations right now. 
  • Communicate your updated offerings to your customers: Ensure that your updated products and services show up in your marketing communications. Let your customers know how you’re changing and responding to their behaviours. Updating your ad extensions to reflect the changes in your business. Update ad creatives to reflect changes in available products or services, limited hours, special terms or conditions etc. 

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2. If your business is reassessing priorities

As you focus on mitigating risk, here are some immediate recommendations that can be put into action while you decide on any future course of action. 

  1. Build resilience for your business via cash management. 
  2. Scale back to spend some time evaluating decisions
  3. Change marketing strategies to focus on optimisation

And if you’re wondering how to strategically shift this focus in your digital strategy, here are a few strategies you can begin employing. 

  • Use automation to help digital ads: Let your digital ads and campaigns run digitally so you can allocate more time and effort in evaluating your way forward. Do this by using shared budgets to automatically allocate budget across campaigns. This will also help ensure that top-performing campaigns have adequate space and lower-performing ones are deprioritised. Similarly, use planning tools to optimise bids and budgets.
  • Communicate new priorities to your customers: Review your creatives and ad extensions to make sure they reflect your current business operations. Use responsive display ads to gain access to the most inventory and quickly find the message that resonates. If your business is in an industry like education, travel, or local services that have changing availability, use feed campaigns to automatically keep up with any product/inventory changes. Retailers should focus on Smart Shopping campaigns. Adjust video creative messages based on the situation and add sitelinks to communicate new messages to clients. 
  • Engage with your high-priority customers: Use Dynamic Search Ads to automatically capture new, relevant Search queries outside of your existing keyword list. Review keywords (look at new keywords and negative keywords, and pause underperforming keywords) and focus on optimisation score recommendations. Adjust audiences to prioritise high-intent/high-converting groups and identify the geographies that work best for you. Adjust your investment accordingly. 

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3. If your business is adapting to newer products and services

To pivot and adapt your products and services in accordance with the changing consumer patterns, here are some immediate recommendations to sustain your business. 

  1. Create new offerings
  2. Reach new customers
  3. Move your products and services online 

To achieve this and more, here are three digital marketing strategies which you can look to incorporate in your future course of action. 

  • Communicate your current business strategy: Do this by updating your creatives to reflect business priorities. Highlight critical products and services and align ad formats with your priorities. This can be done by implementing relevant new formats, and pausing irrelevant ad formats. Review and update extensions to reflect any changes in your marketing strategy or opening hours. Do this by implementing automated ad formats to test and iterate on the best possible combinations. Base this on changing consumer trends.
  • Match your approach to changing customer behaviours via automation: Do this  by implementing the Smart Bidding strategy most aligned with your marketing objective to stay on top of changing auction dynamics and device trends. Create a Dynamic Search Ads campaign or ad group to automate capturing new, relevant Search queries outside of your existing keyword list. Apply keyword recommendations from optimisation score to stay on top of search trends. 
  • Align your ad campaigns to your current goals and priorities: To reflect business priorities, update which conversions are included in the conversion column. Ensure that credit is given across customer touch points with data-driven attribution or non-last-click attribution. Use a Performance Planner to understand and adjust your targets and budgets based on changing auction trends. Do this by implementing the budget reallocation recommendation in optimisation score for more control. Or use shared budgets to meet changing consumer trends. 

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4. If your business is increasing investments to meet new demands

And finally, if your business is venturing into planning for meeting the increasing demands via increasing investments, here’s some immediate recommendations to help you sustain. 

  1. This is the time to expand your business to newer audiences, markets and customers
  2. Assess your immediate and long-term marketing plans
  3. Find ways to invest in your business to address your higher demands

The way to action all of this, is by incorporating your goals into the following digital marketing strategies.

  • Scale your ad campaigns to meet demands: In order to scale your bids and budgets to meet your increased demands, utilise and expand Smart Bidding for all your campaigns. Increase or reallocate budgets, and set more relaxed targets to drive more conversions and expand capturability. This can also be done by using planning tools to optimise bids and budgets.
  • Changing your targeting approaches: This is the time to serve and target more people. This can be done by using a variety of formatting and targeting approaches. Do this by expanding creative formats and campaigns to maximise reach. Expand coverage by adding Dynamic Search Ads and reviewing keyword lists to make sure match types are not too restrictive. This can be done by broadening your reach to expand targeted audiences across your products
  • Use best practices to help your ads perform better: One way to do this is by implementing Dynamic Search Ads. Along with keyword optimisation score opportunities. Do this by moving to a broad match for campaigns that are using fully automated Smart Bidding. Also ensure that you’re following budget recommendation guidance.

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business insights

So there you go, all of Google’s business insights summed up for you!

We’re all waddling through difficult waters with practically no clear way to swim our way out of this. And we don’t really know when this crisis will truly resolve. What we do know is this. Remaining flexible and adapting to this new reality can help sustain our businesses and build stronger connections along the way.  

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.

Having an honours' degree in Liberal Arts, and currently pursuing her Masters' from Sarah Lawrence College, NY; Kritiksha Sharma is a part-time Theatre Actor and a full time procrastinator. She likes to believe that she has some crazy organisational skills but the hundreds of unopened messages and mails on her phone have another story to tell. A big time pop culture enthusiast, she finds nothing more comforting than going to bed while watching a rom-com and snuggling with her laptop as she dreams of things to write about.

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