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7 Industries with Increased Performance During COVID-19

Some businesses are experiencing increases across metrics during the time of this pandemic.


In times of crisis, we often see the best in people, and that’s even true on the Google SERP. As COVID-19 has spread, non-profits and charities have seen:

A 10% increase in search ad impressions. A 23% increase in search ad conversions.A 20% increase in search ad conversion rate.

Google Ads does support a number of Google grant programs to allow non-profits to advertise for free, but keeping them in compliance is often difficult. Luckily, it’s clear that they’re finding searchers more easily than ever in this crisis.

HEALTH AND MEDICAL Unsurprisingly, many of us are turning to search for information on how to protect ourselves and our communities. As users turn to the stores and the SERP to purchase everything from over-the-counter painkillers to vital medication, many advertisers are seeing increased ease in selling their products online, with ad clicks and conversion rates both significantly higher than usual. BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Google’s providing additional advice and resources to help small businesses manage through these uncertain times, particularly with setting up employees to work remotely and crafting continuity plans. It looks like many advertisers in the space are set up to help, too. Overall, business management searches grew by 23% since February 23. As people prepare for remote working, office supplies became a sudden breakout industry. Searches for office supplies increased 90%, paid search ad clicks increased 35%, and search conversion rates increased 41%As traditional retail has shifted focus to operating online, packing and shipping supplies more than doubled their search ad conversions (up 123%) and search ad conversion rate (up 107%).

FINANCE The markets may be performing poorly, but it looks like now more than ever searchers are looking for experienced help. In an industry that normally has some of the most expensive keywords and a high cost per click, we’re seeing CPCs fall and relieve some pressure from a normally competitive industry. Many are also noticing increased CTRs and CVRs, as well. BEAUTY AND PERSONAL CARE Many fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) have been in high demand in the past few weeks. People are searching for products like soap and hand sanitizer, as well as seeking more self-care in these hard times. We’re noticing a 41% increase in searches for beauty and personal care. Many of these verticals are seeing business boom on the SERP with lower CPCs Beauty & Personal Care -14% lower CPC Skin Care -3% lower CPC Spa Care -20% lower CPC

ON-DEMAND MEDIA As many of us practice social distancing, we’re consuming more entertainment at home. While most entertainment advertisers are picking up the increased demand and driving a few extra conversions, on-demand media has skyrocketed and doubled its conversions in the past few weeks. GREETINGS, GIFTS, AND FLOWERS Social distancing is a lonely experience, and it’s difficult to maintain our connections for what may be weeks or months apart. Small gestures can mean even more throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and advertisers who are wise enough to advertise on Google are seeing some great results. Over the past three weeks, since the coronavirus escalated in the US: Searches for cards and greetings have seen a 15% increase in conversion rate. Searches for gift baskets have seen a 30% increase in conversion rate. Searches for floral arrangements have seen a 43% increase in conversion rate.

We’re closely watching some industries with the potential to see big changes or shifts in the coming weeks.

REAL ESTATE Borrowing rates remain low, and the housing market is currently holding. On the SERP, search traffic remains relatively stable, as well—with little change to search volume, CPC, or conversion rates. But some important shifts could have some important industry consequences down the road.

Property development and construction industries both are seeing declining conversion rates (-53% and -7%, respectively) and lower search volume. A slow down in these fields could trigger reduced real estate supply in the future. Both real estate listings and real estate agent searches have seen some increased cost per click (+15% in the past month). However, real estate listings have seen a -25% decrease in conversion rates while real estate agents and brokers have observed a 30% increase. As consumers become more hesitant to attend an open house, more will rely on a professional agent to schedule an appointment instead.

Moving and relocation services have seen an 11% increase in search volume while maintaining a healthy CTR, CPC, and CVR.

HOME IMPROVEMENT March is often a seasonal lull for Home Improvement projects naturally, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see that Home Improvement searches have been slowly declining for the past few weeks. The next few weeks will be a litmus test for the industry. On one hand, Americans spending more time stuck in their homes could inspire new home projects and an excuse to get off the couch. On the other hand, economic uncertainty may discourage discretionary spending. To date, average conversion rates remain steady but vary wildly.

HOME FURNITURE Much like home improvement, things are unexpectedly consistent on these big-ticket items. Search volume, CPCs, and conversion rates have all stayed within +/-2% over the past weeks.

Smaller ticket items like home appliances and bedding and linens have seen search upticks and light conversion boosts (+7% and +12%, respectively), which may be a good sign for consumer confidence.

AUTOMOTIVE The automotive industry is showing some stress on the SERP—with a noticeable 30% drop in the industry average conversion rate over the past few weeks. A 30% drop is never good, but it’s hard to attribute all that to COVID-19. Mid-March isn’t exactly car-buying season, to begin with, but we’re seeing searchers shift their preferences within the automotive space.

Category Average Change in Search Conversion Rate since COVID-19 Vehicle Dealers -42% Vehicle Auctions +5% Vehicle Parts & Accessories -28% Vehicle Repair & Maintenance +44% Vehicle Window Tinting +79%

RETAIL Some would predict eCommerce to soar with traditional retail having reducing hours and operations. But while some families are turning to eCommerce to replace brick-and-mortar purchases, others are unsure of their future income. This instability is impacting user’s conversion rates on from search ads—with retail conversion rates have fallen 14%. The good news? Large retailers, including Amazon, are pulling back their budgets on Google Ads and consequently, a 9% decrease in CPC on Google has evened out most retailer’s ROAS. Data via Andy Taylor of Tinuiti Ironically, wholesalers and liquidators seem to be noticing an opposite trend, with a 14% increase in CPCs but a 9% increase in conversion rates.

JOBS AND EDUCATION Schools and colleges around the country are closed for several weeks, prompting a forced rise in e-learning and training. Although the classroom has changed, there’s yet to be short-term changes to the performance of higher education advertisers. With the college application rush over and the June SAT yet to be canceled, prospective students haven’t changed their behavior on the SERP.

There’s a modest increase in paid search traffic for new careers and vocational training (+10% and +8%, respectively) in the past weeks, but that’s largely aspirational for the moment, as conversion numbers haven’t shifted noticeably.

LEGAL SERVICES The legal industry is seeing some minor shifts on the SERP, with modest (under 5%) to search volumes and conversion rates. Luckily, this is offset by a similar decline in the cost per click—keeping search conversions and CPAs mostly steady.

However, we’re seeing more of these conversions arrive in the form of phone calls instead of website submissions. And, unfortunately, over 30% of these calls are unanswered. If COVID-19 is impacting your firm’s operations or hours, be sure to:

Update your campaigns dayparting to reflect your current hours.If you’re working remotely, make sure your website, your call-only ads, and your ad’s call extensions reflect the best number to reach your team.

Track your phone calls from PPC using keyword-level tracking. Ensure that your Google My Business account is up to date to reflect your firm’s current operations. Create a post to ensure prospective searchers that your firm is still active during this crisis.

7 INDUSTRIES HIT THE HARDEST SO FAR The biggest concern during COVID-19 is undoubtedly public health. Unfortunately, this has put some industries at risk, and those working in these industries are particularly impacted—on and off the SERP.

TRAVEL AND TOURISM With businesses, governments, and consumers avoiding unnecessary travel at all costs, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that fewer people are looking to book travel today. As a result, many travel advertisers are struggling to convert new searchers on their site. To compound the issue for these advertisers, searches for flight cancellations, delays, and restrictions are at an all-time high, making their ads more exposed to curious searchers. To mitigate some of this disruption, be sure to: Add new negatives keywords for COVID-19, advisory, and cancellation related searches. Promote cheaper fares and easy cancellations and adjustments for future travel.Suggest travel insurance to your customers to ease concerns while increasing your average sale price.

BARS AND RESTAURANTS With many communities closing dine-in restaurants and bars, these small businesses will be hit hard during our time in social isolation. While many are learning to shift to delivery and take-out services, they’re already hard-pressed finding success on the SERP this past week. Change in search ad impressions Restaurants -18% Bars & Nightclubs -26% LIVE ENTERTAINMENT Public safety and strict limits on group size have performers and venues canceling shows across the globe. As a result, search volume for live entertainment has reduced by 24% and conversion rates have fallen 30%.

CONFERENCES I know too well that many large conferences have either canceled, postponed their events until the fall, or are attempting to host a virtual event in place. Unfortunately, many businesses rely on event marketing to fill their marketing funnel so these event cancellations will have ripple effects om other businesses, as well. Since the COVID-19 outbreak at the end of February, event marketers have noticed a 33% reduction in conversions as more events continue to cancel.

SPORTS AND FITNESS Major sports leagues and rec leagues alike are canceled for the foreseeable future. As many communities increase their social distancing efforts, many more gyms are due to close and those that are open will see fewer new members walk through the door. All said many verticals tied to sports and fitness are seeing strong declines to their conversion rate.

A notable exception is that sports programs (online and offline) and sports camps have gained significant uplift in the past few weeks as many begin to plan to get out of the house.

BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION A sudden economic downturn and worksites being closed puts an unexpected damper in the building and construction industry. As future projects begin to stall or get delayed, prospective clients are becoming less likely to convert, as well. Recent timing is poor, as seasonal advertising costs in the industry are already beginning to rise. INDUSTRIAL AND MANUFACTURING As manufacturing operations are slowed, we’re seeing PPC campaigns for manufacturing and industrial goods are also impacted. Cost per click has increased 5% and conversion rates in the industry have decreased modestly, but advertisers are hurting from a 13% decrease in search traffic. We’re all in for change over the next few months—both online and offline. Stay safe, healthy, and practice social distancing. While you’re stuck inside, keep an eye on your PPC accounts and the WordStream blog. As we see new trends emerge and strategies to keep your account’s performance healthy, we’ll be posting regularly.

DATA SOURCES This report is based on a sample of 15,759 US-based WordStream client accounts in all verticals who were advertising on Google’s Search throughout 2020 thus far. Each industry includes a minimum of 30 unique active clients. For indexing purposes, we’ve evaluated weekly account performance since February 24th against the prior six-week average. Thanks, WordStream!


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