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Travel PPC advertising paradox since onset of COVID-19: need to remain visible while conserving budget for post-pandemic



By
09 April 2020 (Edited 09 April 2020)

High clickthrough rates now may be coming from consumers wanting to cancel bookings


New WordStream industry benchmarks for 16-31 March 2020 following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic show that in general, compared with February 2020:

  • Average clickthrough rates on PPC ads increased
  • Average costs-per-click decreased
  • Average conversion rates decreased, especially for small and local businesses

Below are data for the Travel and Tourism and Nightlife and Entertainment sectors, along with all-industry benchmarks:

Average clickthrough rates:

  • Travel and Tourism
    • Google Search Ads 10.13%
    • Google Display 0.45%
  • Dining and Nightlife
    • Google Search Ads 11.76%
    • Google Display 0.76%
  • All industries
    • Google Search Ads 5.90%
    • Google Display 0.46%

Average clickthrough rates on PPC ads have increased since February, particularly those for Google Search Ads. High clickthrough rates for Travel and Tourism may be coming from consumers wanting to cancel travel booked pre-COVID-19.

Average Costs per Click:

  • Travel and Tourism
    • Google Search Ads $1.43
    • Google Display $0.39
  • Dining and Nightlife
    • Google Search Ads $1.00
    • Google Display $0.09
  • All industries
    • Google Search Ads $2.76
    • Google Display $0.41

Although average CPC for travel-related ads has traditionally been below that for most other industries, reduced competition for ad position in March has likely depressed the industry's average CPC further.

Average conversion rates:

  • Travel and Tourism
    • Google Search Ads 5.33%
    • Google Display 0.56%
  • Dining and Nightlife
    • Google Search Ads 15.64%
    • Google Display 0.32%
  • All industries
    • Google Search Ads 5.63%
    • Google Display 0.93%

The relatively high conversion rates on Google Search Ads run by restaurants probably reflects an increase in takeout and curb-service orders since the onset of COVID-19.

Average daily ad spend:

  • Travel and Tourism
    • Google Search Ads $5.83
    • Google Display $5.09
  • Dining and Nightlife
    • Google Search Ads $16.55
    • Google Display $12.03
  • All industries
    • Google Search Ads $24.02
    • Google Display $5.26

Most businesses cross industries have reduced ad spend since the onset of COVID-19. Travel and Tourism businesses have reduced their ad spend most significantly so as to be able to come back to the market strongly when travel restrictions are lifted.

Data behind these numbers come from a sample of 15,759 WordStream client accounts that advertised on Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising 16-31 March 2020, with a minimum of 150 accounts per industry.

Comments:

Takeaways for marketers:

  • Travel/Tourism: Don't waste click budget now - while travel restrictions are in place universally, with no immediate prospect for their removal - by helping customers who want to cancel find your website. But stay visible with relevant, low-priced keywords, and be ready to unleash that saved-up budget when consumers are ready and able to satisfy their pent-up demand post-COVID-19.
  • Restaurants: Keep running ads for takeout and curb service

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David Boggs    - David
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External Article: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2020/04/06/google-ads-benchmarks-during-covid-19


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