Why you shouldn’t use Google Ads’ seasonality adjustments for COVID-19 fluctuations

The coronavirus outbreak has had dramatic impact on nearly every business, including on conversion rates. Whether your business is experiencing a surge or precipitous decline in conversion rate during this time, Google Ads’ seasonality adjustment isn’t the tool to turn to.

Short-term solution. Seasonality adjustments are available for Search, Shopping and Display campaigns. They are meant to be used to inform Google’s bidding systems about expected short-term conversion rate changes — during special promotions, product launches or more nuanced short interval bumps and lulls specific to your business.

The tool is ideal for periods between one and seven days. For example, if you’re planning a two-day sale and expect conversion rates to go up 40% during that set period of time, you can set the seasonality adjustment to cover those days.

Machine learning systems like smart bidding use historical data and signals to predict future outcomes. When performance data changes quickly, the modeling adjustments can lag. Seasonality adjustments give advertisers a way to manual tell the system to adjust the prediction modeling for a short period. After the seasonality adjustment period ends, smart bidding reverts back immediately without having to slowly readjust.

Coronavirus not a short-term event. Seasonality adjustments are not meant for longer periods of conversion rate fluctuation. You wouldn’t use it for back to school or holiday shopping seasons, for example.

In this context, the coronavirus outbreak, unfortunately, is not a short-term event. You should not use seasonality adjustments to try to account for fluctuating conversion rates during this time.

Alternative solutions. If your campaigns are experiencing volatility, you might consider adjusting your smart bidding targets, as Google suggests. You’ll want to keep profitability, sales cycle shifts and other business considerations in mind when adjusting ROAS or CPA targets. You might instead opt to lower or raise your budget, depending on what you’re experiencing.

More about marketing agency in the time of the coronavirus


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, marketing agency Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing agency experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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