Pay-per-click ads can be a great way to increase your reach and drive traffic to your website. With the ability to launch highly targeted PPC ad campaigns, you can also rely on pay-per-click ads to optimise your conversion rate and boost sales.
To maximise your success, however, you’ll want to ensure you’re using the latest tools and techniques to enhance the performance of your digital marketing strategies. With this in mind, take a look at the eight PPC trends you’ll want to be ready for in 2021:
1. PPC as part of the buyer journey
Traditionally, marketers viewed PPC ads as triggering the buyer’s journey, but the evolution of tech has changed consumer behaviour. Now, we recognise that the buyer’s journey begins well before they click-through to your website via a PPC ad. This makes each ad a central component of the buyer’s experience and emphasizes the importance of understanding your target audience.
Instead of brainstorming how your PPC ad campaigns can kick-start a buyer’s journey, focus on how they can continue to propel the user through your sales funnel. Identifying what your target audience is searching for and, therefore, what compels them to act will enable you to create compelling ad content that generates clicks and revenue.
2. Increased use of RSAs
Responsive search ads (RSA) have been increasingly important since their introduction in 2019. Experienced PPC marketers won’t be surprised that they’re set to become a mainstay of digital marketing in 2021. While some view RSAs as a time-efficient way of creating Google Ads, they aren’t popular with everyone.
The move towards artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning means that marketers can take a more hands-off approach, to a certain extent. On the flip side, it arguably limits the control that marketers have over their campaigns, particularly as Google is keeping more and more data under wraps. However, AI will only become more prevalent as time goes on, so expect to be using more RSAs as the year progresses.
3. New and improved Smart Bidding
Google has been giving marketers the option to use automated bidding in PPC campaigns for years, but the introduction of Smart Bidding heralded a new era of PPC automation. Since then, Smart Bidding has become even more powerful. You can now implement bid strategies based on machine learning, which will help you to manage your budget and maximise returns. You’ll still have the option to bid manually for PPC ads but the potential to identify behaviour patterns and trends with Smart Bidding could be too tempting to resist.
4. Limited Access to Search Data
Access to comprehensive search data is one of the reasons why digital marketers are able to execute highly targeted ad campaigns. However, the increased legislation regarding data security and processing has curtailed the amount of data major companies are willing to share. Since the introduction of the GDPR, Google has scaled back the volume of data that’s available. Of course, keeping their data hidden ensures they have the upper hand when it comes to releasing performance metrics too. In 2021, marketers will be more reliant on broad sweeps of information that Google chooses to release, rather than having granular access to the data itself.
5. Free Shopping Ads
Until recently, venders were forced to pay if they wanted to put their listing on Google via Shopping Ads. However, the search engine has confirmed that free Shopping Ads are available to all businesses, worldwide. For ecommerce sites and retail businesses, this is a major change and one which will have a long-term impact on their PPC activity. By complementing paid campaigns with free Shopping Ads, you can essentially increase conversions and sales without modifying your budget.
6. More Video Ads
Considering YouTube is owned by Google, it’s not surprising that the search engine has been keen to push video ads in the past. Their strategy seems to have paid off, as video is now the best-performing digital content. Videos on YouTube alone receive more than a billion views every day, so it’s not surprising brands want to capitalise on this with PPC advertising. In 2021, PPC marketers can expect to see more demand for this type of content from businesses and exceptional results, providing the placement is right.
7. Audience segmentation
Successful marketing rarely adopts a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it’s important to understand the needs, wants and behaviours of various demographics and customer personas. Segmenting your audience into smaller, niche groups gives you the opportunity to target your PPC campaigns with an even higher degree of accuracy. As the segmentation trend continues to gain traction, marketers will be differentiating between in-market audience and remarketing audiences in a bid to create more effective campaigns.
8. Greater diversity in PPC ad campaigns
Many people view PPC and Google Ads as interchangeable but, as digital marketers know, Google Ads are simply one way to use PPC ads. Although many businesses have been content to focus on Google Ads in relation to PPC campaigns, the tide might be about to turn.
As other platforms continue to release comprehensive, actionable data, both marketers and business owners are likely to look for additional advertising options in 2021. While Google Ads will undoubtedly remain a critical element of PPC campaigns, greater diversity means you’ll be spending more time running campaigns in other places, including Microsoft platforms, Amazon and social media.
What Does the Future Hold for PPC Advertising?
PPC advertising will continue to be an integral element of any digital marketing strategy. Although the landscape is certainly changing, the budget-friendly costs and highly targeted nature of PPC advertising means it will be around for a long time to come.
While the availability of data will undoubtedly change the way marketers and brands approach their advertising, the increasing influence of AI and machine learning stands ready to take its place. As expected, the evolution of tech as a whole will be what sets the tone for PPC advertising in 2021 and beyond.