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Key Considerations Of COVID-19 For Shopify Merchants & Google Ads

By: David Green

March 2020 was a month unlike any we’ve seen before.  While COVID-19 was a topic of conversation in February, it has officially arrived and shaken most of the world’s day-to-day personal and professional interactions.  Google trends says it all…

We’ve had a number of questions from our Shopify merchants and Google Ads advertisers curious as to what we’ve been seeing for the past few weeks across various accounts.  Below are a few takeaways, thoughts and suggestions to consider if you are a Shopify merchant or Google Ads advertiser.  

Shopify’s COVID-19 Response 

They’re offering gift card options on all of their plans, $200 million in small business funding and are extending their free trial to 90 days for new businesses.  

Feeling Isolated? Need Some Business Inspiration?

The Shopify community has loads of virtual meetups that will give you some insights about Shopify, e-commerce and some business tips to help scale your e-commerce presence in these unusual times.  

Google Ad’s COVID-19 Response

They are giving $340 million in ad credits to small & medium-sized businesses.  Expect to see credits applied to accounts in the coming months. You must have been an advertiser with Google since the beginning of 2019 to receive this. 

COVID-19 Government Responses Across The Globe

See the list of services being offered from governments across the globe to help those directly hit by the effects of the virus.

Things We’re Watching Out For -

Google’s Automated Bidding

Understanding that Google’s automation can work wonders for an account, as always, there is some human steering needed to ensure maximum optimization.  Right now is no different and we’ve had to monitor Google’s bid automations extra closely as search and buying habits have changed in a matter of weeks, which could take Google’s algorithms time to adjust to, and lead to poor clicks in the meantime.  Watch your campaigns and search term reports closely.  

Temporary Google Keyword Restrictions

If your account has any keywords connected to “masks” and/or protective gear of some sort, expect to not receive any impressions from those keywords in the near future.  Google has restricted a number of keywords that they deem pose a potential for someone to take advantage of the current circumstances.  


Things Every Non-Essential Business Should Consider - 

Talk to your audience

With self-quarantines and social distancing leaving most with few options outside of their home, this will inevitably leave more people doing web searches and likely being more attentive to emails.  Food and other essential businesses will not have to do much to be busy, but things will be quite different for many non-essential businesses. If you’ve spent time building your audience and a robust email marketing list, then now is a great time to communicate with them.  If you don’t have a large list, now could be a good opportunity to start. Every business is different, so there will not be a perfect one-size-fits-all message, but obviously be thoughtful and think - what unique offering could you offer right now? That offering does not need to be a product.  It could be a good laugh, words of encouragement, or highlighting how your business is trying to help with this pandemic as a form of inspiration. Just take this as an opportunity to connect.  


If your business is likely to be very slow for the next little while, is there any planning you can start doing now?  What action items have you been delaying for months? Instead of working “in the business”, how can you work “on the business” so when business does return, you’re in the best position possible.  

Level Up

Now is a great opportunity to level up your skills.

We will see what April brings, but in the meantime let’s do our best to practice social distancing, self-quarantining and be kind to one another during these tough times.  If there was ever a time that we as a planet are one team - this is it.  

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