2020 certainly has been a pivotal year for digital marketers using Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. More than any other year, technology has driven the vast majority of PPC trends and advertisers have reacted in one of two ways; ignore or get on board.
And it’s those who have leveraged the emerging tech and shown sparks of innovation in their campaigns who have reaped the rewards. It’s not too late for those who haven’t yet embraced these innovations though.
Here are 5 PPC trends that you can adapt to dominate the PPC game for the rest of this year and beyond.
PPC Trend #1: Artificial Intelligence
The rise of Artificial Intelligence is something that will inevitably become an integral part of our lives in one way or another as technologies progress. In fact, by 2030, it is expected to be a $15 trillion industry. So, it perhaps comes as no surprise that its infiltration into PPC marketing has already begun.
AI will essentially change the game for PPC marketers, taking the guesswork out of their marketing efforts.
Until now, marketers have had to rely on their experience, educated guesses and a little bit of luck to predict things like the CTR of a future campaign or the likelihood of a certain customer to convert, but now, things are changing. Through machine learning, marketers are becoming increasingly able to best optimize their campaigns, boosting performance and conversions based on a complex combination of data comprehensible only by a computer.
Simply put, although many marketers have spent years honing their skills in these areas, the fact is, machines can or will be able to do it better! It will be marketers who accept this and pivot to choose to focus on understanding how to use these tools who will give themselves a competitive edge.
PPC Trend #2: Automation
While PPC automation is not a new concept. From social media schedulers to eCommerce email automations, as marketers we are used to having machines do things for us. But the uptake in usage and overall reliance on it is increasing, especially when it comes to optimizing paid campaigns.
By using machine learning and dedicated systems to automate labor-intensive tasks, marketers jumping on this trend will essentially be giving themselves more time to focus on the human element of marketing; by freeing themselves of monotony, a greater degree of creative control, innovative ideas, and proactive mindset will prevail.
Ad testing is a predominant area in which automation is becoming increasingly popular. Automation allows marketers to optimize bidding strategies, enhance CPCs, and prioritize high performing ads over lower ones.
Another area that is increasingly automatable is analytics. PPC marketers previously used to have to manage multiple analytics dashboards across multiple platforms, which took up a lot of time and energy. By using custom branded links, it is now possible to keep all the stats on a single dashboard.
While it’s still important to keep a finger on the pulse, automation removes the daily check-ins, monitoring, and analysis which often hinder marketers from working on more creative pursuits that move the needle in other ways.
PPC Trend #3: Ads Data Hub
Towards the end of 2019, Google announced that it would no longer allow users to use third-party pixels for PPC campaign analytics for YouTube marketing. As any video marketer would tell you, this potentially spelled bad news since, until this point, there has been no other way to track the effectiveness of advertising campaigns on YouTube via mobile.
However, Google didn’t leave advertisers high and dry. It reverted them to Ads Data Hub, its answer to the age-old pixel problem which has plagued YouTube marketers for years.
As explained by Google:
“Ads Data Hub allows advertisers to understand how their advertising is performing across screens, including mobile apps, through aggregated insights from Google ad platforms, including YouTube, Google Ads and Display & Video 360.”
Getting on board with Ads Data Hub now will mean advertisers benefit from more specific insights into customer behavior and the effectiveness of the ads being served to them.
PPC Trend #4: Video
There’s no denying it, video is king when it comes to content consumption. So, it probably comes as no shock to learn that by 2022, the video will account for 82% of all business and consumer traffic.
In 2020 and beyond, advertisers will need to focus their marketing efforts on a more video-first approach. And with mobile content consumption, the rise of video apps, and the new video-focused side of popular mobile platforms, advertisers need to consider where their videos will be consumed. Simply put, advertisers need to focus on ensuring their marketing videos always consider vertical format as mobile use continues to grow and Instagram stories continue to dominate.
With the rise of video consumption, marketing platforms are moving to assist advertisers to make the most of their video campaigns. Google’s Bumper Machine is an especially interesting addition to their marketing tools. It automatically cuts down long videos into 3-4 short 6-second bumpers to help marketers create a more dynamic Ad Set quickly and easily.
PPC Trend #5: Smart Bidding
During 2019, Google released a number of new Smart Bidding controls which advertisers should, by now, have had time to explore. Now is the time to move from the exploratory stage to put these tools to good use.
Google’s Smart Bidding tools essentially take the guesswork out of bidding for Google Ads. This automated bidding strategy uses machine learning to figure out how to reach your campaign goals within your budget. Working with a number of goals, including Target ROAS, Target CPA, and Maximize Conversions, advertisers need to use Smart Bidding this year to help save time and improve performance across the board.
This year’s PPC trends will see advertisers and marketers move away from a ‘trial and error’ approach to a more systematic, predictable, and efficient way of doing things. Until now, the guesswork has come with the territory of marketing but new innovations with PPC tools are allowing marketers to optimize campaigns with greater confidence.
The greater dependence on machines and automation for marketing campaigns will give rise to a new, more efficient type of marketer. Machines will take away a huge amount of time-consuming optimization work, allowing marketers to focus on the more creative side of things that machines cannot do… yet!
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