What are the most important PPC trends to watch in 2020?

Tablet TouchPay-per-click advertising isn’t new, but remains popular – not surprising when it is still one of the most effective marketing tools.

PPC enables Marketers to target specific segments of the market. It delivers a cost-effective approach, with costs only being incurred when people respond to your ad.

A new blog by searchenginejournal.com explores the PPC trends you need to know about in 2020. We summarise the top 5 here.

What does the future hold for PPC?

To answer this question, Search Engine Journal asked 39 of the top PPC marketing experts what they thought the biggest trends would be in the next 12 months. This is what they said.

Trend 1: Automation, AI and machine learning mean less control for Marketers

Machine learning and AI have been recognised among 2019’s martech trends, and we have looked before at why the era of machine learning, quality content is more important than ever.

When it comes to PPC, the key to increased automation and AI will be working out how new tools can be harnessed, while ensuring humans continue to develop their skills in the areas the machines cannot cover.

There is a difference between the PP challenges that can be addressed via machines, and those that need real thought and human input. Jeff Ferguson, CEO of Fang Marketing is quoted in the article, saying that

“Keywords aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – the robots still need us to speak to the other humans properly; however, whatever can be made into a math problem is now the domain of the machines.”

Getting this mix right is key to PPC success. Google is increasingly pushing users towards automation – one expert quoted in the article even surmising that we may even see manual bidding (for search terms) removed entirely in favour of automation.

But some advertisers are becoming wary of Google’s automation, and are testing new features before adopting them.

Trend 2: Blurred lines between PPC and other marketing

PPC does not exist in isolation, and many of the experts interviewed talked about the importance of using multiple channels and platforms to reach your target audience. Marketing campaigns should be integrated across channels, as search, social and ecommerce increasingly blur.

A full understanding of PPC’s role in the overall marketing strategy – and what this actually means in practice – will be vital for Marketers.

Because search engines are adopting social targeting, and social channels are starting to add keywords, the distinction between PPC, social and organic search is becoming increasingly unclear.

Trend 3: More and improved audience targeting

Jeff Ferguson believes that ‘If 2019 was all about audience targeting, 2020 will be the year that we speak to those audiences the right way at the right time.’

According to Greg Finn, Digital Marketer & Partner at Cypress North, in 2020, ‘advertisers need to worry less about the direct sale, and more about how our offerings can help others’.

This means providing content that is genuinely valuable, at the time the reader needs it – as important in PPC as it is elsewhere. Producing the most effective marketing content at the right time will help you to maximise engagement with your content marketing.

Combining keyword best practice with focused audience targeting will give Marketers the best chance of reaching their market. Create marketing personas to help you understand and direct your advertising to your specific audience.

Trend 4: Privacy, tracking and data

GDPR and other data legislation has restricted tracking capabilities – as well as making privacy and first-class data management a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘nice to have’.

This means that Marketers need to find new ways to track campaigns – and need to realise that, until platforms adapt to the new rules, aiming for 100% attribution may be doomed to failure.

Leveraging the data at your disposal, without exploiting the people behind that data is key, according to Purna Virji, Senior Manager, Global Engagement at Microsoft Advertising.

Harnessing new ways to garner understanding and insight about your audience and the performance of your PP, while continuing to protect people’s privacy, will be essential.

Trend 5: PPC strategy becomes more valuable

It may be possible to automate some of the more routine or mundane PPC tasks, but in tandem – and as a result – having a thought-out and defined strategy will become more important.

A strategic approach to PPC grows increasingly important as a way to stand out from your competitors as automation creates a more even playing field at a tactical level.

Increasingly, this may lead Marketers to seek external expertise when planning and executing PPC. Already, SEO, social media and PPC are the top three areas handed over to external agencies. If this is a route you use, or plan to go down, make sure you comply with the FCA’s rules on outsourcing if you’re a regulated business.

Keep ahead of the latest digital marketing trends

PPC is just one tool in your digital marketing box – but an increasingly important one in a world where digital marketing is becoming the default. Hopefully this has given you some ideas as to how your strategy should be reviewed, revisited and refined in 2020.

One thing that’s clear is that the Marketing landscape never stays still. To keep pace with the changing nature of your role, you can download a copy of our whitepaper, The changing role of the Marketing Manager. The whitepaper is free to download from our resource library.

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