If someone stuck a dryer on full speed in the middle of the JumpFly office in Elgin, Illinois, everyone would have an opinion on it. Nobody would like it. And yet, I’ve grown accustomed to mine running while working from my home computer this past year. It’s my new “normal.” Meanwhile, my cats have accepted and acclimated to my continuous presence in what is truly their home.
And now that we’ve all settled into our home offices — it’s time to go back. In fact, the JumpFly staff is going back to the office two days a week starting in early July. So everyone, my cats included, will need to adjust all over again.
Digital marketing is no different. COVID-19 has forced massive shifts in paid search, and one of the most arduous shifts to grasp is what the digital advertising sphere looks like now that a return to “normalcy” is upon us.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many campaigns saw a drop in traffic and performance while others saw a significant increase that has been going on ever since and is only now falling back down to Earth. Many accounts have seen 2020 as their best performing year on record with pay-per-click (PPC), and replicating that success in 2021 and beyond will be a challenge — if not impossible.
Now that life is returning to some semblance of normal, we’re seeing shifts again in the paid search space. In March 2021, 63% of the accounts that I manage saw an increase in click traffic. Conversions also skyrocketed, both because everyone was still buying online and added to that, was also purchasing what they’d need to return to life outside of quarantine. All of this was facilitated by the government stimulus checks that had recently hit bank accounts across the country.
Since then, Q2 has left a lot on the table. Conversion volume is down 16% across my managed accounts, and traffic has been anemic at best. And unlike when COVID-19 first hit, the downward trend is near-universal. The campaigns that took off during COVID-19 are coming off the high, while the campaigns that struggled through the pandemic are still fighting to stay above water. June conversions are up 10% over April and May, but anticipating what Q3 will look like is a guessing game.
So, let’s play!
Within the current state of the paid digital advertising market, so much of our ability to advertise is under pressure from global supply chain delays on one side, and COVID-19-related consumer market shifts on the other. As consumer market trends are shifting quickly toward a post-pandemic culture, global supply has indicated that it needs time to rebuild. As a result, many accounts, both national and local, have had hiccups just getting products in stock to be available to consumers.
While Q2 has been a drought of activity on the consumer side, supply has begun to recover. So, if I had to guess, Q3 will be the first real indication that PPC and the world are ready to return to normal.