PPC advertising has undergone some significant changes in 2018 and will continue to evolve quickly thanks to new campaign types, features, targeting options and tools now available on the various platforms.
To get the most out of your campaigns, you need to understand the major trends that will be impacting PPC advertising in 2019, so you can design the right strategies and leverage the most effective tools.
Here are 10 of the most impactful PPC trends to watch for in the coming year:
With the ability to collect and analyze a large amount of audience data, advertisers can create a detailed segmentation strategy based on various audience types and lists and then layer on different bidding strategies to shape their paid search tactics.
By drilling down to audience segments and matching audience types with individual products, you can create content to ensure that your ads are as relevant and personalized as possible.
Audience targeting can also help optimize your funnel strategy by delivering the appropriate ad messages to match each segment’s customer life-cycle stages.
Diversify Your Platforms
While Google and Facebook will remain the most prominent online advertising platforms, it’s important to diversify your PPC ad spend in 2019.
For example, Amazon’s Sponsored Product Ads will become a key PPC tactic for many retail brands. Meanwhile, various platforms are improving their targeting and personalization options to allow advertisers to reach high-quality prospects.
In particular, Bing and Google will roll out more tools to help local advertisers drive in-store traffic while Pinterest is making it easier for users to purchase directly from a product pin.
Increase Engagement with Videos
Video has become the most popular type of mobile content among consumers, helping advertisers drive traffic and giving them the social gains needed to improve placement on SERPs.
In 2019, ad platforms will be supporting video with more innovative tools. For example, Facebook is offering an instant storefront template that automatically generates a video with personalized product recommendations.
In addition, you can leverage YouTube’s targeting options to drive website traffic and use remarketing tactics to deliver targeted ads to the various audience segments.
Leverage Artificial Intelligence and Automation
PPC platforms are using automation to help advertisers optimize their ad dollars. For example, Google offers a number of “smart” features, such as automated bidding, to help advertisers reduce the time and resources they spend on campaign management while maximizing their ROI.
Many of these automation features are driven by artificial intelligence. Google’s automation tools – which have access to the platform’s immense amount of data – can help advertisers make accurate predictions.
As automation takes over a large portion of manual campaign management, you can reduce the resources spent on repetitive tasks and focus on understanding consumer preferences and behaviors, so you can create the right messaging that drives conversion and builds relationships with your customers.
Deliver Cross-Channel Advertising Experience
Consumers expect omnichannel experiences from brands, and it’s no exception when it comes to PPC ads. Advertisers need to consider the entire customer journey across multiple platforms and devices in order to increase the overall effectiveness of their campaigns.
As such, your PPC ads should be part of a larger marketing campaign designed to deliver a customer experience that keeps engaging your audience.
While it has become easier to build multi-channel PPC campaigns, many businesses are hindered by reporting silos that fail to provide accurate attribution and a holistic view of the customer journey.
Advertisers will need to invest in reporting and attribution technologies that can help them connect the dots among the various touch points and allocate their ad dollars effectively.
Double Down on Remarketing
Remarketing has been highly effective in increasing click-through rates and conversion rates and will continue to be popular among advertisers. Not to mention, retargeting ads can help reduce cart abandonment – 1 in 4 shoppers who saw these ads returned to complete the checkout process.
For most advertisers, Facebook and Google Display Network offer the greatest reach for remarketing campaigns. However, it’s worth experimenting with different channels, especially if you have a niche market that’s active on a particular platform.
Just like any advertising strategy, your objectives will influence the execution of your remarketing campaigns. Besides driving shoppers back to a product they have viewed, you can also use retargeting ads to increase brand exposure, stay top-of-mind and reinforce your messaging.
Add Brand Building as an Objective
Besides generating demand for a product or service, PPC ads can also help increase brand exposure, build brand awareness and improve brand affinity.
Implementing a brand awareness PPC campaign can be quite different from managing one that focuses on conversion. For example, you can keep some low-cost generic keywords running consistently as display and YouTube ads.
You also need to measure the effectiveness of your ad campaigns with different metrics and identify appropriate KPIs for each business objective. For instance, the success of a brand awareness campaign should not be focused on the profitability of each individual click.
Ensure Coherent Messaging
Did you know that a text ad is still one of the most effective formats in PPC advertising?
With the many enhanced features on PPC platforms and consumers’ demand in a cohesive shopping experience, more considerations need to go into how you craft your messaging and write your copy.
Better segmentation and targeting makes it possible to tailor your messaging to specific groups (e.g., existing customers) so you can deliver a relevant and personalized experience that can increase CTRs and conversions.
In addition, if you’re using new formats such as responsive search ads (RSAs), you’ll need to ensure that all the headlines and descriptions can work well with each other regardless of how they’re combined.
Optimize Ads for Voice Search
Did you know that up to 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020? Businesses that fail to optimize their PPC campaigns for voice searches will risk losing the opportunity of being featured in voice search results.
Start by analyzing your existing campaigns to see which ones are already receiving voice search traffic. This will provide insights into your audience’s search intent and how you can structure keyword strategies for conversational queries.
You should also revisit your negative keywords, and build a keyword list that focuses on long-tail search queries and conversational-type keywords. If possible, make these adjustments to existing ad groups so you can leverage previous quality score data to generate insights and adjust your bids to focus on queries that exhibit high purchase intent.
Place Local Services Ads
Google is expected to expand its Local Services Ads (LSA) to support more markets and service categories (e.g., plumber, HVAC contractor and electricians.)
Since up to 90 percent of consumers research local businesses online, appearing at the top of SERPs can help you generate more leads and get more customers.
Local Services Ads are displayed at the top of SERPs (“position zero”) for relevant categories or “job types” and show a service provider’s business name, star ratings, location, phone number and business hours.
In addition, Local Services Ads are featured in Google Assistant’s voice search results and allow you to get in front of more high-quality prospects who are actively looking for a local service provider in your category.
The PPC advertising landscape is evolving rapidly and ad platforms are constantly introducing new tools and formats to streamline campaign management while improving results.
Consumers expect the ads they see to deliver a cohesive and relevant experience that matches their relationships with a brand and customer life-cycle stages.
In addition, online ad platforms are allowing businesses to collect more user data than ever and apply it to their PPC campaigns–from segmentation and audience targeting to bidding strategies–so they can optimize their ROI.
With the many moving parts, running PPC campaigns in 2019 and beyond definitely isn’t a task you can just “set it and forget it.” You need to stay up-to-the-minute on the latest tools and strategies, so you can beat your competitors to the top of SERPs.
Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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