While the general principles behind pay-per-click (PPC) advertising have remained more or less static ever since the inception of Google Ads, some of the specific methods and technologies have changed. To ensure success with your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign, it’s helpful to have a sense of where the field is headed.
We’ve witnessed a number of disruptions and paradigm shifts in 2022 alone. Here are a few of the year’s most notable PPC trends to date.
The Year’s Biggest PPC Trends
1) Automation Through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Automation has been a dominant trend in almost every industry, and PPC is not exempt. If you want to run your campaign with both efficiency and precision, it’s critical to embrace automation technology, including both AI and ML.
There are several ways in which these technologies have shaped the PPC world, starting with smart bidding in Google Ads. Smart bidding is essentially a form of ML that automatically optimizes your ads based on the goals you set for your campaign.
Automation has become increasingly central to successful PPC campaigns in 2022. That’s a trend that’s highly unlikely to change or reverse course.
Be careful, however, not to just “set it and forget it,” especially with Smart Ads, or you could end up wasting a lot of money. We had a client come to us recently whose agency let Smart Ads get way out of control. After conducting a little research and getting them away from Smart Ads and on to a different AI platform, we were able to increase campaign effectiveness by over 100 percent.
2) Voice Search
With each passing year, voice queries represent a bigger and bigger market share within the online search world. Simply put, more people are using voice assistants, like Alexa and Siri, to help them find information on the Web.
What does this mean for SEM advertising? For starters, it means it’s important to ensure PPC ads that are optimized for mobile. (Remember, most voice search queries are going to be conducted on mobile devices.) This includes optimizing landing pages for mobile users. It’s also important to think about the way people phrase their voice search queries. Often, it’s in the form of a question, making long-tail keywords more precious than ever.
Again, this isn’t necessarily a brand new trend, but it’s something that’s only become more central to the PPC landscape in 2022.
3) Ad Extensions
In an effort to differentiate themselves, and to provide users with additional content and opportunities for engagement, more and more advertisers are experimenting with different ad extensions.
While Google has offered ad extensions for a long time now, the list of extensions that are available is constantly changing. As such, it’s wise to keep an eye out for new options to experiment with.
A couple of noteworthy ad extensions to consider include message extensions, which give users a chance to directly, privately message your team; and call extensions, which provide a one-click phone number in your ads. These are both helpful tools for engaging more mobile users.
4) The End of ETAs and the Rise of RSAs
With all of that said, the single biggest change to PPC this year has been the sunsetting of ETAs and the rise of RSAs. For PPC advertisers, it’s imperative to understand this major shift, and to address its strategic implications.
ETAs, or expanded text ads, were long considered the gold standard. These fully manual text ads allowed advertisers to supply three 30-character headlines, two 90-character descriptions, and two vanity URLs, plus the potential for ad extensions. RSAs, or responsive search ads, allow for up to 15 30-character headlines, four 90-character descriptions, and two URLs. The big distinction is that, for RSAs, Google uses machine learning capabilities to determine the combination of titles and descriptions that will perform best.
The shift to the RSA format is one of the clearest examples of Google’s shift toward automation, and it provides advertisers with a way to create dynamic ad creative that accomplishes its intended purpose.
While the shift toward this new ad format can be advantageous overall, it’s worth nothing that many advertisers will need to rethink their metrics and analytics, as RSAs tend to prioritize click through rates (CTRs) in a way that ESAs never did. As such, making the transition between ad formats may lend the appearance of lower conversion rates.
Staying Ahead of PPC Trends
The PPC landscape is always shifting. That’s one of the most exciting things about it, but also one of the most intimidating. If you’re seeking long-term success through your SEM campaigns, it’s important to develop a robust and adaptive strategy, and to be nimble in all that you do.
At enCOMPASS Agency, we take pride in being at the cutting edge of digital marketing, starting at the bottom of the funnel with PPC advertising. And, we are careful to keep our clients informed, ensuring they can make knowledgeable decisions about their own campaigns.
Questions about the present or future state of PPC? Ready to develop a campaign of your own? We’d love to talk. Contact us at enCOMPASS Agency today.
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