The Value of Testing Opportunities with Reduced Google Ad Spend

3 minutes read

As we move through 2020, finding the right place to put your Google Ad budget is more important than ever.  

As consumer habits change more frequently than ever going into the busy end-of-year period, being agile and willing to adjust strategy in a pinch could dramatically improve your conversion opportunities. 

How has COVID-19 and Lockdown changed ad spending? 

The uncertainty surrounding 2020 had made forecasting nearly impossible in unprecedented times. According to the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) it is estimated that there will be a global contraction of 8.1% in terms of advertising investment as a result of COVID-19. 

This immediate contraction was felt across the digital marketing landscape and, in some cases, the reduction in available resource and spend may have reduced well beyond 8% – especially during the UK’s national lockdown period. 

A trend towards reduced and less speculative ad spending has meant that clients have more often stuck to the typical pathways and customer funnels to generate leads and conversions. 


Why is Testing Still Important When Clients Want to Spend Less on Google Ads? 

Q3 has been challenging for many sectors, and Q4 will see many industries brands struggle to adapt to drastically shifting consumer habits.  

Black Friday and the lead up to Christmas will be more important than ever for many businesses, and due to the ongoing social distancing restrictions, the digital medium will be the preferred method of purchasing and browsing products.  

Online will be the primary avenue for consumer spend, and even with reduced budgets there may be opportunities to improve conversions and generate sales without pushing for significant additional spend. 

Brands with freedom to optimize their channels and ads could find opportunity to exploit changing user behaviour ahead of the competition. 


Example Result from Recent Discovery ATesting 

In March we ran display campaigns for one client, however, the performance dipped in line with the industry-wide retraction of consumer spend. So, in a change of approach we switched our attention from Google Ads to discovery campaigns as an alternative. 

Display performanceMarch 17th – 30th  2020


Assisted Conversions 





Our Paid Search (PPC) team determined that the greater reach potential and improved visibility across YouTube, Gmail and the Google discovery feed could provide an improved return for the same ad spend.

* example discovery advert

The improvement in performance was superb, the application of discovery ads resulted in 10-fold improvement for enquires and conversions in terms of volume over the following months, driving new customers and revenue streams.   

Discovery Performance April – September 2020 


Assisted Conversions




Overall, the adaptability of our team and the willingness for our client to explore alternative ad spend, meant that we could handle the sudden change in user behaviour. Testing in a profoundly unpredictable period has helped to inform and adapt ad strategy for the road ahead and helping to achieve their KPI targets. 


If you want to learn more or are looking for digital marketing in Manchester and could benefit from working with an experienced Paid Search teammake an enquiry here. 

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