Shifts in search behavior

Which points apply will differ per company. One company is more severely affected by the Coronacrisis than another. Shifts in search behavior as a result of the crisis play a role in this. We see a number of developments here:

  • Loss of search query, or changing search behavior because services can no longer be offered.
  • A lower search demand because the sentiment in the market is simply less positive and people have other things on their mind.
  • A higher demand for specific categories, such as health products, solutions for working at home and products for entertainment at home.

The above changes will also further evaluate. What if people have finished prepping and have ordered the bread maker, airfryer and freezers? What if people can’t get out? What are they going to do with that extra time? Do some chores, gardening or gaming? Will people order more online over time, because physical stores are closing?


The checklist below can help you control your search campaigns.

  1. Follow the policy in the organization explicitly. Which measures are implemented, will delivery still be possible, will stores close, will special actions be initiated, will alternative services be offered? Connect to this with your campaigns.
  2. What is the tone of voice in your existing campaigns? Is it still appropriate for the current situation in the market? Consider not only the advertising texts for search, but also the expressions in display and retargeting campaigns. Also check whether your extensions are still suitable.
  3. What are the developments in search behavior in your industry. Check for new search terms. Are there search terms that should be included as “negative”? Which combinations have value and which do not. Also respond to new searches that are valuable.
  4. Are there products that are of extra interest? deepen campaigns further and capitalize on them with specific ad texts and expressions. Don’t forget the tone of voice here either. Stay empathetic.
  5. It may be wise to adjust landing pages. What if you cannot deliver your products or services at this time. What do you communicate then? What if people buy products for home use that they have never used at home? Do you provide extra information on your site? Instead of direct sales, you may be able to convert your campaigns into lead campaigns, in which you collect email addresses that might be useful in the future.
  6. Consider what to do with scarce products. Is it necessary to advertise for that or can you also sell your offer through other, cheaper channels?
  7. Is there a multi-channel campaign where you also refer people to physical stores? Decide whether you are going to refer to your stores or to your online options if people are looking for a specific store..
  8. Also consider your store extensions. Are they still relevant. Have the opening hours of your stores also been adjusted in Google My Business? You may also be able to use Google My Business measurement, to provide information about how your company is dealing with the current situation.
  9. Look at your bids. First, assess the shifts in conversion rates. What if you always included store conversions in your bids and those conversions disappear? Do you adjust bids yourself or is this done automatically? How does your bid algorithm deal with this “shock”?
  10. Are there changes in desktop, tablet and mobile search traffic that you have to take into account? If people searched their desktop from the office before, they may now search from their mobile at home.
  11. Remarketing? Does it still make sense to remark people on products that they no longer want to buy? Or do you want to catch people who show interest now and that you want to target again later.


We hope we provided you some support with this checklist in keeping your search campaigns healthy. We also wish you a lot of strength and health during these times!

Would you like to be further informed about how you can keep your search campaigns healthy during this period? Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Alex van de Pol
Alex van de Pol
Digital Marketing Evangelist