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Why marketers should invest in SEO during the crisis

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Enrico Bernardo
19/04/20

Marketing budgets are cut, conversion rates are falling. Almost nothing in your marketing-mix is sustainable or worth a long term investment right now. We propose to invest in one asset class: Search Engine Optimization.


The Corona crisis has caused many companies to drastically cut their marketing budgets in recent weeks. Especially expenses for posters, exhibition stand construction or at events have been cut up to 100%. CEOs and CMOs are looking anxiously at their communication measures and for sustainable investments in brand building and visibility. Short-term marketing investments and their measures seem to have fallen out of time as never before.

Ø conversion-rate (Google Ads – WEVENTURE client portfolio) 01/2020 (line) vs. 03/2020 (dotted line)

Long-term targets vs. the Corona quarter

The second and third quarters of 2020 are already known today as the Corona quarters for many marketers. Marketing managers assume that by the end of the third and fourth quarter the usual marketing channels will bounce back to the normal marketing mix. This is what we observe speaking to our project partners. Current investments are already shifting to the end of the year or strongly to where the attention of consumers is: online. The use of social media has increased strongly while click prices and CPMs have fallen significantly as many companies drop out of bidding for customers’ attention (see graphic below). And algorithms are right: consumer attention is on other things. This is also shown by a conversion rate analysis of about 50 WEVENTURE Google Ads accounts (see graphic above). Consumers click on ads that can be bought at much lower CPCs and CPMs, but then lose interest at a much higher rate than before the Corona crisis. Is there even a lower purchasing power probability that can be generalized here? The argument of many CEOs: “The online turnover should remain stable with the same investments as you can consume from home.” As already described, however, this is too short-sighted. The problem with all this is that the investment opportunities in long-term marketing measures are missing, while the objectives for marketing departments remain the same.

Source: conductor.com

SEO is a long-term asset and increases profitability in the marketing mix

A survey of the platform Conductor has found that during the Corona crisis up to 63% (see grahic above) of the marketing experts strengthen a concentration of their SEO activities. Why does this make sense, we asked ourselves? As already discussed, many people are looking for sustainable measures which at the same time do not ignore long-term goals. This is where SEO comes in handy, because it’s known that it’s not fleeting: a purchased click remains a purchased click whether to lower CPCs or CPMs or not. Their impact on ROAS at low conversion rates remain a short-term unprofitable advertising expense. Investing in a clean technical SEO setup and taking content to a new level though pays off in the long run. Using unused staff resources now for content creation should be a very reasonable initiative to take. Those who invest in SEO today will reap the returns after the crisis and for many years to come. Only buying cheap clicks with low conversion rates wont contribute to a loss in ROAS. You can’t say that for sure about a purchased click or an impression in the crisis but it makes definitely sense strongly invest in long term assets now: SEO.

Source: Twitter.com

Good content sells and saves costs

The basis of any form of marketing is good content. Good content is not only written for the search engines, but especially for your customers or users. On the basis of good content, you can still use Google Ads for high-reach paid campaigns or plan social media campaigns even after the crisis. Good content will even contribute to Google Ads quality scores significantly. This is two at one stroke. Hence, time has never been better to fill your basement with good content. How to really save costs with SEO is demonstrated by our client the WBS Group. A FAQ section specifically designed for the Corona crisis is at the same time valuable for the SEO strategy but also reduces complaints and call center capacities with unnecessary queries during first weeks of the crisis. We mentioned this in our recent Case Study with WBS.

Source: Stackline.com

Why Warren Buffet would choose SEO to invest in

Look at search engine optimization like an asset class e.g. stocks. If an investment strategy has proven to be positive in the past economic crises, then it was countercyclical investments. The counterpart in the online marketing mix is SEO. Those who invest now will reap dividends from their visitors when search volume and conversion rates return to industries that are highly competitive and at the moment losers in the crisis (see graphic above). Especially affected in the current crisis is the travel industry for e.g travel websites and hotel businesses. Investments are difficult, employees are set to short-term-work and have lots of free capacities. Why don’t hotels, for example, employ their kitchen staff to create relevant text, video or image content in order to better market their culinary offer after the crisis even better on their very own websites or social media channels? Hotels have been complaining for decades about the dependency on booking.com and the lack of visibility compared to OTA`s (Online Travel Agencies). Shouldn’t now be the time to invest in unique content to finally rank them out? Our recommendation to other travel or event-related business areas such as cameras (lost -64%), suitcase & luggage (lost -77%), swimwear (lost -63%) or even bridal wear (lost -63%) invests in clever content concepts and search engine optimization now! You will reap your return on investment at the latest by the end of this Christmas season, which is as important as never before after slow Corona quarters.


Conclusion: It’s time to wake up from shock and review your marketing mix instead of only cost-cutting. Take advantage of saved trade fair budgets, traveling costs of salespeople and other unprofitable marketing channels. What you can do now is to turn your content strategy upside down and invest in SEO. We are happy to support you with an SEO strategy in the Corona crisis.

Enrico Bernardo<br />
Enrico Bernardo
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