How will PPC evolve in 2016?
As you prepare your PPC (pay-per-click) marketing strategy, here are some key areas of focus for brands and businesses to succeed with paid search, display, and retargeting in 2016.
1. Mobile conversion will be key.
Many people are using their phones for Internet browsing and research. If they click on your ad and it is not mobile optimised, you will lose that impatient and kinetic visitor (probably forever).Make sure that you do not simply create a “responsive lite” version of your desktop landing page – rearranging the content into a single column and resizing the text to be more readable. Mobile landing pages require a clean-sheet approach, and often very different calls to action.
2. In 2016, audience targeting will become more important than ever for PPC marketers.
In the last couple of years we’ve already seen a noticeable shift in focus from keywords to audiences, but the recent release of Customer Match by Google will revolutionise the way we’re able to communicate with users.We can finally tap into a wealth of customer information that’s been locked away in CRM databases for years to create truly bespoke, targeted campaigns.
3. 2016 is going to the year where we begin to see brands use machine learning or artificial intelligence to enhance their ads, landing pages, and funnel communications.
They will be able to produce at scale, fresh (changed frequently), relevant and personalised product copy that no team of humans could ever do.
4. There is no doubt that digital advertising received some negative this year. This rise in ad blocking should make us, as marketers, shift our focus from promoting a brand to providing our audiences with a solution or answer.
As more data becomes available from a myriad of sources, we’ll continue to mould our campaigns and responses to the individual. From wearables and social demographic data to your search history, the amount of information advertisers have about a specific individual is astounding and will be utilised to create a truly customised experience.
5.Expect more searches outside the box in 2016. Think about Siri, Google Now, or Cortana for a moment.
As personal assistants grow in popularity, it creates a new way for people searching outside the browser.These personals assistants are baked right into the latest operating systems. Cortana is already on 110 million Windows 10 devices (with more than a billion queries) while Google Now is on a huge number of Android devices – the search trend will continue!
6. People-based marketing will explode. Especially in paid search, where Google have introduced the ability to upload email addresses to create audience targets.
This is probably the biggest single change since the dawn of AdWords – and we’ve already seen game-changing results by building strategies off the back of this new capability.
7. In 2016, marketers will seek to better align mobile app marketing strategies with key corporate business goals by leveraging audience data and automation to maximise customer lifetime value and exceed revenue goals.
The introduction of CRM-based audiences on Google (customer match) together with the progress Google made in RLSA open more opportunities for marketers to strategise around audiences more than before. The ability to connect these audiences between the publishers will bring new efficiencies and optimisation capabilities that haven’t been explored previously.
8. In 2016, we’ll see a final push to convert all landing pages and websites to mobile-friendly versions.
We’ve been talking about mobile for years, but transitioning to mobile-friendly isn’t easy (or cheap) when you have large, complex websites that support multiple languages.
9. So far there has been a dichotomy of search options available to businesses: targeting by intent (keyword) with little to no idea of who the user is; or targeting by audience (social, re-marketing) with no idea of the intent of the user.
Re-marketing lists for search ads changed all that, and in 2016 we’ll see RLSA become an integral part of the advertiser arsenal. With the launch of Bing Ads retargeting, advertisers will be taking advantage of RLSA in the majority of their PPC campaigns.Social PPC will also continue to grow with the advent of custom audiences on Facebook and Twitter, enabling advertisers to communicate with their customers and prospects across multiple online touch-points. Cross-device tracking and attribution will also become more important. To truly utilise RLSA to the fullest, it’s critical to track users across devices. Tracking technology will become easier to implement, and more businesses will realise the benefits of cross-device tracking.
10.Imagine a world where we can understand when a customer is in need of a new household cleaning product or has an issue with an electronics product based on signals we can ascertain from the products themselves. Advertisers will be able to fulfill this demand immediately without the customer lifting a finger.
This is the way the industry is moving, and the way that consumer purchase behaviour is trending – going beyond cross-device marketing and thinking more along the lines of “cross-everywhere” in terms of how we understand and engage audiences.However, along with the benefits of the growth and advancements of connected devices come challenges as well. How will advertisers aggregate, analyse and utilise the universe of customer intent signals that are amassed through the IoT? The advertisers that invest in technology focused on solving these problems today will ultimately be the ones getting a leg up on the competition down the road as this type of marketing becomes more commonplace.
11. In 2016, PPC will continue to evolve into a behavioral customer journey where strategies and campaigns will be developed around the sales funnel and multiple touch points. Integration across devices will be critical to growth: mobile, smart homes, smart TVs, wearables, app search, and virtual assistants like Amazon Echo.
Wherever there is a question, problem to solve, or product need will be an opportunity to sponsor those results and be present to the consumer at the right moment.
On a final note…our thanks go to our peers. Although much of this feature is our own thinking we must also thank those in the industry who have been willing to share their thoughts publicly and who have provided us with the insight behind some of these predictions.