COP26: why it’s not too late to engage online

With fewer passes and high demand, it may be too late to book your ticket to Glasgow, but not being at COP26 doesn’t mean you can’t engage. Here’s how to do it…

The data speaks for itself: every minute now, COP26 is increasingly on everyone’s mind.

Our study, analyzing Google Search data, shows that in August 2021, 2,900 users searched for ‘COP26’, and by September the number of searches already increased by 128% to reach 6,600 searches. ‘COP26’ is booming.

Indeed, due to the current post-pandemic context, fewer people will be able to attend the international event, which makes now the internet an alternative place to engage your audiences and be heard. But competition for attention has already started.

COP26: What’s happening online?

In reality, what is happening online is very simple: the more ‘COP26’ gets searched, the more advertisers – looking to attract clicks on search engine results pages – make the choice to buy and bid on ‘COP26’, the more it becomes expensive to buy the keyword ‘COP26’.

According to our study, the forecasted average Cost Per Click (CPC) of the term ‘COP26’ will be €0.76 in October, and, during COP26 it will increase by 13% to reach €0.86. If that doesn’t sound significant, know this: a 13% rise in CPC can dramatically impact the overall ROI of your campaign.

To compound the issue further, the Click-Through-Rate* (CTR) of the term ‘COP26’, is also notoriously dropping from 6.5% in October to 5.0% during the COP.

This means that if you advertise and bid on the term ‘COP26’, the price will keep increasing, and, at the exact same time, fewer users will be clicking on your ad and engage with you.

So, there’s a problem. Thankfully, there are other smart ways to engage online that can circumvent this issue.

How to engage online: be smart

Let’s look at some alternative keywords to COP26 that have every chance of attracting the same audience.

Climate Change, Sustainability, Global Warming, Carbon Emissions, Net Zero etc. are all issues that will be debated in Glasgow and surface in the media. And while search data tells us these are already popular topics, competition among advertisers appears to be lower.

According to our study, if ‘COP26’ has a 5.0% CTR during the COP, ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Global warming’ respectively have a 7.6% and 9.6% respectively. Plus, while ‘COP26’ average CPC is €0.86, ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Global warming’ have average CPCs of €0.68 and €0.44 respectively. Therefore, advertising on ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Global warming’ is firstly going to engage more users and, with a lower CPC, you’ll actually take your message to more people.

Over 90% of online journeys start via a search engine. And search engine advertising means you can still get the attention of stakeholders anywhere who are looking for answers around COP26.

But if you’re smart, you can do so without costing the earth.

*CTR = A ratio showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking it.