But what do we expect in 2018? Here I take you through what I believe to be the top PPC Trends to watch out for in 2018:
1. Data-Driven Audience Targeting
As Google and the world wide web develops, the more granular our audience targeting is becoming with an array of targeting options and data collection methods. You suddenly find yourself with remarketing lists obtained from your customer database, similar audiences who have relatable buying behaviour to your customers and users who have visited a certain landing page on your website. All this information plus a lot more all at your disposal!
You wouldn’t have access to this sort of data at your fingertips so easily 5 years ago. PPC advertisers including myself are reveling at the chance to narrow down our PPC activity to our target audience. This year, more companies will be utilising these audience metrics more than ever before. And why not?! The CTR (Click Through Rate) and conversion rates will be higher because you’re hitting your target market.
I’m even expecting some companies to possibly only use audience targeting in all their PPC accounts to get the most out of their advertising and to help avoid wasted clicks.
2. Personalisation For Audiences
Linked heavily to audiences, I think you’ll start seeing more personalisation in PPC adverts this year than we’ve had previously. With the granularity of targeting, you can set up campaigns by target audience and write a bespoke advert for that audience. For example, if you have an online shop, you could create adverts specifically for mobile users and write ad copy tailored to that audience such as ‘Extra 5% off if you order through your mobile’ or a generic ‘Order straight from your mobile phone’.
You can now even target users based on their Life Events for a Display or Gmail campaign. That’s right, you can target a user by life events such as an upcoming graduation or wedding from months leading up to or after the life event. So if you’re a Wedding Photographer and want to hit your market then this is definitely for you! Personalise your messaging on your ad creative to a relatable message such as ‘Need A Photographer For An Upcoming Wedding?’. You should then start to see increased CTR’s and conversion rates compared to broadly targeting users.
Don’t be surprised if you’re searching on Google or browsing a website and an advertisement appears with a personalised message based on the audience match you fall into. I think you will be surprised how accurate it is!
3. Google’s New AdWords Interface
I know what you’re thinking…New AdWords interface? ‘That is so 2017’. Wrong! It’s actually ‘so’ 2016 from when it was first introduced as a BETA version.
The new AdWords experience is rumoured to go live in 2018 and it would be ignorant to leave this out of my list! Even if it doesn’t get released in 2018, Google will most definitely release new features which you won’t be able to access in the original AdWords as we found out with Promotions Ad Extensions last year.
The new AdWords interface is supposed to be faster, more intuitive, increase your workflow and has more exciting features than the original AdWords. For advertisers who have worked in Google AdWords for the majority of their working career like myself, it is hard to currently grasp the new AdWords interface. We’re loyal to our original and non-mobile friendly Google AdWords, which is highly ironic as we forever tell our clients that a mobile-friendly website is a must!
Please do give the new AdWords interface a chance though because this may be rolled out fully in 2018 and has some great features with some incredible visuals. Don’t miss out on the new and upcoming features that Google will release this year! I will succumb. Eventually.
4. Mobile To Continue Its Growth
With Google moving to a mobile-first index in 2018 for SEO alongside penalisation of your PPC Quality Score if you don’t meet Google’s mobile website policy, it shows you how serious Google’s intentions are on the importance of having a fast and user-friendly mobile website.
Even my own father is now part of the smartphone crew! He can even make voice searches by utilising Google’s AI and purchase his vinyl’s online – which is big news for someone who has lived off his Nokia 3310 for the past 15 years or so. However, he will easily get angered if there are delays in page loading times.
Nearly 50% of users expect a load time of 2 seconds or less and if the websites loading time exceeds more than 3 seconds, you can expect roughly 40% of your web traffic to bounce straight off and leave.
Google is at the heart of mobile searches with Apple now using Google as their primary search engine after a spell using Bing and Android using Google wherever they can. Google wants to offer a good user experience to everyone and has made clear that a fast and user-friendly mobile website is essential (if you hadn’t gathered that already). Companies with slower mobile speed and websites not optimised for mobile will start to rank lower in the organic and paid rankings regardless of current position.
Expect to see Google clamping down further in 2018 on websites which have not made the desktop to mobile transition and expect to pay the consequences!
5. More Reliance On Automated Bidding Solutions
A lot of us advertisers like to be in control of our PPC bidding and like others, I admit that I like to have full control over my PPC accounts including managing my bidding. However, the reality is, the further we build and expand our accounts and campaigns, the more likely we’re going to be overwhelmed with our workload.
The time we spend changing bids can be efficiently used elsewhere in our Google accounts. Especially with Google continuously coming up with new and creative ways to optimise our campaigns which will in-turn take up more of our time. Let’s face it, a machine learning algorithmic bidding platform can bid on keywords across your PPC accounts in minutes or even seconds. It can do a much superior job than the part-guesswork we use when using manual bidding.
There are plenty of third-party bidding software to choose from which continuously strive to optimise and improve the performance of your campaigns such as market-leading companies like Marin and Kenshoo. Or if you’d prefer to save some money, you can use Google’s own automated system and choose your preferential bidding method.
A large number of you PPC advertisers out there will still be using manual bidding, but I’m going to give you some final advice on this subject from an inspirational lady called Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen – it’s time to ‘Let It Go’.
There are bound to be some key trends which I have missed off from my list such as AI, the growing importance of Social and advertising on Amazon to name a few. However, these are the main 5 trends which I can see continuing its strong growth into 2018 and which I feel are key to a successful PPC campaign. Though, you never know what Google or other publishers are going to introduce in 2018 and what their priorities will be for the year.
Whatever Google or other publishers introduce to us this year, I’m sure it will be there to help benefit our PPC campaigns in the long-run. I look forward to it!