How COVID-19 Is Changing Google Search Trends

The coronavirus pandemic will be the standout event for 2020. As the disease continues to spread and the government and business sectors respond to COVID-19, changes continue to impact our lives in every imaginable way. Even the Google search results are showing major shifts in how people search during this crisis. Advertisers have seen PPC campaigns impacted significantly across many industries. Understanding how to adapt and adjust to the rapidly changing online dynamics can help online marketing strategies and businesses remain agile during these trying times.

The surge of COVID-19 related searches

As COVID-19 dominates our thoughts, news, politics and global economies it is also dominating serach activity on Google. COVID and related searches are one of the highest volume searches on Google and far exceeds other news stories.

In light of this, Google launched Trends Coronavirus Hub to report insights on these emerging searches as well as other breakout searches that users search after hearing developing stories. Ads consultants should monitor these search trends frequently and remain mindful to keep negative keywords current to prevent budget wastage.

COVID-19 searches hit highs early in the morning and late at night

This coronavirus pandemic is at the forefront of most peoples’ minds. For those of us who are not affected by the disease itself, or in essential services which combat the pandemic, we go about our daily life with some sort of normalcy. Google shows that the pandemic is on our minds mostly when we first wake up or when we are about to go to bed.

Changes to the search volumes denotes changes to ad impressions

As we isolate ourselves, we are staying online later than we usually would. This attribute coupled with the COVID-19 search trends has changed when we are searching online. Even in industries that have little to do with the coronavirus pandemic, the stats are showing huge spikes for night time searches and subsequently impressions.

Advertisers are certainly noticing less search interest for their products and services throughout March and April due to the pandemic and this is felt most during peak hours. During evening hours, though, this impact is far less detectable and search volume has even increased around 15% beyond midnight.

Weekend searches have been far less impacted by the negative trends seen during the week. During these periods, search volume remains within 10% of its before pandemic averages and it is also increasing in the later hours of the night.

How it affects your Google Ads campaigns

On the face of it, this increased volume later at night may seem a relief to advertisers but the stats are actually trending a 10-25% lower conversion rate during these time slots.

Regrettably, these nightly drops in conversion rates are only made worse by current search trends during the coronavirus pandemic. These searches who are up late at night, are tired, and quite likely negatively affected by the constant bad news before them. These searches have a far diminished conversion rate than they usually would. In later hours, that align with peak search volume for COVID-19, ad managers have identified a 30% lower conversion rate than they would usually expect at night.

Published on Wednesday, 1 April 2020 under Google Ads, Online Marketing.