iMarket Solutions Blog : Posts Tagged ‘coronavirus’

Key Updates to Google My Business and Google Ads with COVID-19

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

A lot has changed over the past several months. Many of us have updated our lifestyles so that we spend more time at home, include face masks as a part of our outfits when we do go out, and perhaps wash our hands more often than we used to. There has been a large effort involved in trying to adjust to all of the changes that have come with the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Of course, along with all the changes to our offline lives, there have been plenty of changes to how things are working online too. Google has brought their fair share of changes to their Google My Business and Google Ads products in an effort to adjust to changing business needs.

Our job here at iMarket Solutions is to make sure we keep you updated on what is going on with Google and how their changes and updates are going to impact your business.

3 Key Updates from Google You Should Know About

Here are some of the changes involving Google My Business and Google Ads in response to the current pandemic that we think you should know about:

Google Ad Credits for Small Businesses: Google announced in March 2020 that they would be allocating $340 million in ad credits for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to help them stay connected with their customers. Google first started to release these ad credits in New Zealand and after several weeks, began rolling these out to U.S. businesses last week. The maximum amount provided to small businesses will be $1000 per eligible company (so if you have multiple accounts, the grant will only appear in one of them.) If you receive funds from the Google Ads credits, the ad credit will be automatically applied to either a Google Search, Google Local Services or Google Display Account as determined by Google. The credit can not be moved to another Goggle account and must be used on the account applied to by December 31, 2020.

Google My Business Reviews Have Returned: Starting in March, Google halted the publication of new reviews and replies to reviews in Google My Business. This applied to any businesses that were not a part of the healthcare industry. Google has since resumed publication of reviews in Google My Business for companies in the home services industry. This is great news! The reviews submitted during this “pause” have now been published as well. Make sure you continue to request reviews from your customers—and don’t forget to reply to any new reviews that pop up, too. Remember that 82% of consumers read reviews for online businesses!

Updates to the Google Algorithm: Google didn’t skip a beat when it came to updating their search engine algorithm. This latest Core update started in early May and the rollout was completed around the middle of the month. The algorithm update will impact search engine results for content based on questions of quality, expertise, presentation, production, and comparison. Moving forward, it is advisable to check on-site content to ensure it conveys expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness as this will affect your organic leads and traffic, along with your keyword visibility.

If you already work with iMarket Solutions, then you know that we will continue to keep you updated on changes like these as they can affect your online presence. We work hard to be a reliable provider of COVID-19 resources for contractors. This includes keeping you abreast of anything that can impact your business.

Of course, if you have any questions, you can reach out to your marketing coordinator at any time. If you don’t already work with us, we would love to talk to you and become your go-to resource for your digital marketing strategy.

We are Dedicated to Contractor Success. Contact iMarket Solutions today to learn more.

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Google Ads Grants Rollout in U.S.

Friday, June 19th, 2020

Exciting news – Google announced that they are rolling out Google Ads grants to eligible customers in the U.S. this week!

In March, Google pledged $340 million in Google Ads credits to support small and medium sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants started rolling out in other countries in recent weeks, and began applying to U.S. customer accounts starting this week.

All eligible U.S. customers will receive a notification by the end of this week if they’ve been awarded a grant. Grant amounts will vary by customer and are awarded in an amount determined by Google. Grants will also apply to a single account. For example, if you had Local Service Ads by Google, pay per click, and display remarketing, the ad credit would only apply to one of those accounts.

iMarket’s search engine marketing team is closely monitoring all client accounts, and so far has seen more than $23,000 in ad credits provided for COVID relief to eligible clients. If you are a current iMarket client subscribing to PPC, Remarketing or Local Service Ads by Google, your Marketing Coordinator will be reaching out to discuss whether you’ve received a grant and which of the products the grant was applied to.

If you’re not currently in the iMarket family, contact us to learn more about how we can support your paid search success.

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Join the #HandWashChallenge for Home Service Contractors

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

On May 1, iMarket Solutions is kicking off a #HandWashChallenge campaign for home service contractors, geared toward helping contractors build video content and trust with customers. Home service contractors provide essential services, working to keep their customers’ homes safe and healthy, and good hand hygiene is one of the best ways to ensure technicians are protecting themselves and their customers while on the job. 

Contractors are challenged to create videos demonstrating how they wash their hands, challenge colleagues, family and friends to participate, and share their videos on social media using the hashtags #HandWashChallenge and #ContractorsCare. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many contractors have taken steps to reassure their customers of the precautions their businesses are taking to ensure the health and wellbeing of their technicians and their customers during service calls. The #HandWashChallenge provides contractors an opportunity to build quality content for their business, particularly on their websites, social media and email marketing, while also building trust with customers through a demonstration of one of the company’s safety precautions. 

iMarket will also be making a cash donation to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund from the First Responder Children’s Foundation, and encouraging donations to the fund in conjunction with the #HandWashChallenge. Donate today!

Our hope is that the #HandWashChallenge will bring awareness and ongoing support to first responders as well as to the home services industry.

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Google & Facebook Grants Eligibility

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

In March, Google and Facebook pledged millions in grants for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Eligibility requirements and timelines were announced this week, so we’ve summarized the most important updates below.

Google Ads Grant

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must have Google Ads account spend in 10 out of 12 months of 2019… AND
  • January and/or February 2020

Eligible customers receiving the grant will be issued 1 credit for future Google Ads spend. The ad credit amount will vary based on each customer’s past Google Ads spend, and will be applied directly in their Google Ads account. Google anticipates credits will be issued beginning in late May and will continue to roll out in phases.

Visit our YouTube channel for short, weekly updates on how COVID-19 is impacting paid search and other digital strategies.

Facebook Small Business Grant

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

To find out if your area is eligible, visit the Small Business Grant website and navigate to the “See Eligible Areas and Apply” section. Or watch a quick video on how to check eligibility for Facebook grants.

If you’re an iMarket client, contact your Marketing Coordinator with any questions regarding the grant eligibility. If you’re not a client, contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate the changing digital strategies impacting contractors.

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WEBINAR: Navigating the Current Economic Climate for Contractors

Monday, March 30th, 2020

Free Webinar for Contractors

Navigating the Current Economic Climate for Contractors

Tuesday, March 31 at 12PM EDT

Join iMarket CEO, Gary Elekes, as he discusses the impact and opportunities of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (HR 748) for home service contractors. Gary will also be digging into the recent announcement from Google to offer $340 million in Google Ads credits to small businesses, and a similar grant announced by Facebook.

Register Now

 

Visit our COVID-19 resource page for updates and resources impacting contractors and their businesses. Contact us today to learn more about the current digital solutions that are most vital to educating your customers about the essential services that you offer.

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What You Need to Know about Google Ads and COVID-19

Friday, March 27th, 2020

Summary of Google Changes

In an effort to curb the spread of misinformation, Google is suppressing ads across multiple platforms such as Google Ads and YouTube, that contain any term relating to COVID-19 or coronavirus, regardless of whether they are “approved” in the interface. This applies to keywords, ad copy, and creative. Further details can be found below. 

What Does This Mean? 

It means that even if you put keywords or ads targeted for the COVID-19 pandemic, you would see zero search volume on those pieces because Google is actively blocking them.

Why Is Google Doing This? 

Google is working to protect users from being capitalized on by companies trying to cash in on the virus, and to also ensure that information provided related to the virus is accurate and timely to help searchers in the best way possible. You can read more here about Google’s efforts to protect users.

Are We Using Those Terms in Our Ads? 

iMarket’s paid search team has reviewed all client ad copy to ensure there are no references to coronavirus or COVID-19 related keywords that would impact the visibility of your ads. 

We have been adding sitelink extensions to some ads that direct your customers to your blog post(s) regarding your business operations and safety precautions to help educate and reassure your customers during uncertain times. 

What Does This Mean for Other Digital Mediums?

Local Service Ads by Google 

The Local Service Ads by Google (LSAG) platform does not allow contractors to add language related to COVID-19. The biggest impact COVID-19 is having on LSAG is actual strategy adjustments where a contractor may change their business strategy, for example, to focus less on maintenance and instead focus primarily on replacement/installation. 

YouTube

Google is actively working on removing any content that spreads false information about COVID-19 or makes claims about preventing the virus instead of seeking medical treatment. If you are creating content about Indoor Air Quality, use caution about what you claim these solutions can actually do to mitigate the transmission of the virus. 

Facebook

Facebook has updated its advertising policy to protect users from individuals and companies trying to exploit the pandemic for financial gain. This means Facebook is prohibiting ads for products that refer to the coronavirus and COVID-19 in ways intended to create a panic or imply that their products guarantee a cure or prevent people from contracting it. For example, ads for face masks that imply they are the only ones still available, or claim that they are guaranteed to prevent the virus from spreading will not be allowed to run on Facebook, Instagram, or Facebook Display network.

Google Pledges Google Ads Credits

Google announced March 27 that they are pledging $340 million in Google Ads credits for small and medium-sized businesses in an effort to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Details have not yet been shared regarding how much a typical business will receive or how far the credits will stretch, but they will be notifying eligible advertisers about available credits in the coming months. You can read ongoing updates from Google here

We Will Keep You Informed

The team at iMarket is evaluating other platforms and digital marketing mediums, and will continue to provide updates and adapt strategies as other changes come to light. Please contact your Marketing Coordinator with any questions, or contact us at 800-727-3920 to learn how iMarket can support your business. 

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Limited Functionality for Google My Business

Friday, March 20th, 2020

Due to the impact that COVID-19 is having on local businesses, Google recently enforced several global limitations to their Google My Business platform. 

The official statement from Google can be found here, but we also wanted to highlight some of the key limitations that will be temporarily impacting businesses globally: 

  • Businesses will be unable to receive new customer reviews
  • Businesses will be unable to respond to any existing reviews
  • No new Q & A will be published to Google My Business
  • Google is prioritizing reviews for edits critical to health-related businesses 
  • Google’s support team will manually review new listings, claims, and verifications for critical health-related businesses. If you have a new profile, you may experience delays in the verification process. 
  • There will be delays in general Google My Business support as they prioritize critical services

iMarket is closely monitoring the situation with Google My Business and will keep our clients apprised of updates and any impact to their businesses.

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A Note to Our Contractor Partners about COVID-19

Friday, March 13th, 2020

At iMarket, the health and well-being of our team members and our clients is our top priority. Like all businesses, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, and wanted to share several steps we are taking to ensure the continued health and success of your business. 

iMarket has instituted an optional “work from home” policy for all team members. You may experience Marketing Coordinators and specialists working from different locations over the next few weeks, but rest assured all operations, client meetings and product strategies will continue as usual. 

There is an overwhelming amount of information online, and we wanted to share a resource we find useful and fact-based in understanding the impact of COVID-19. This article from Harvard Medical School provides valuable links and continuous updates from the CDC and WHO regarding transmission and prevention measures. 

Keeping Employees & Customers Healthy

We understand the impact this is having on many of your businesses, and that many contractors are experiencing service cancellations from customers. Here are several recommended precautions to help keep your employees and customers healthy: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and warm water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. Wash uniforms every day to ensure cleanliness and reduce the spread of germs.
  • Do not send technicians or installers to customers’ homes if they are feeling ill.
  • Avoid shaking customers’ hands – offer a smile and warm greeting instead.
  • Ask technicians to wipe down any surfaces or equipment touched in a customer’s home with disinfectant wipes.
  • Have each technician or installer carry hand sanitizer.
  • Ask each technician or crew to wipe down door handles, steering wheel, gear shift lever, tools, etc in their truck with disinfectant wipes every day.
  • Wipe down pens, clipboards, tablets, cell phones, or anything else that may be passed back and forth between techs and customers.

Understanding IAQ Solutions

Lastly, many of our HVAC clients have asked about promoting Indoor Air Quality products and systems as a way to help homeowners combat the spread of germs and viruses. It is imperative that your business share only the facts with customers and not make false claims about the extent to which these products can help with virus transmission. We highly recommend training your team on making accurate claims about what the products can and cannot do. Here is a recommended disclaimer to follow when communicating with customers:

  • There is much to consider regarding the COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) and its possible transmission in your home. While there are various and effective indoor air quality measures available to help protect your safety, including duct sanitization, ultraviolet (UV) germicidal light treatment, and HEPA air filters, they alone cannot protect from all forms of COVID-19 transmission. It is important to follow all official guidelines for preventing the spread of this virus.

iMarket clients are encouraged to connect with their Marketing Coordinators with any questions or concerns. We have developed a website alert system to communicate information and updates to your customers about the precautions and care your business is taking to ensure their health and comfort. We are also monitoring any changes or recommendations from Google that may impact your business or Google My Business page should COVID-19 be impacting your business operations. 

As always, you can count on iMarket as a partner to support your business and continued success as we weather this storm together. 

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