2022 is going to a new normal for digital paid search advertising. There are significant trends that could fundamentally reset the dynamics and drivers of success and conversions. We will touch on some of those key topics here:
a) Third Party Cookies – Pixels, tags were the staple of online advertising in important areas such as remarketing and attribution. Third party cookies will get obsolete. Apple has banned the use of third party cookies in the new version of iOS. Google is also fast going down that path of banning the third party cookies on Chrome. With the abandonment of the third party cookies, direct attribution will become increasingly tricky. And retargeting might become less effective.
Direct attribution models are becoming more common as we see a shift in the business model of digital advertising. The old models of attribution were based on the assumption that there would always be a third party cookie. We will see a shift away from third party cookies and towards direct attribution models. We’re seeing an increased emphasis on the Facebook Conversions API, as well as Google’s Offline Conversion Tracking from the platforms, as they look for ways to maintain tracking quality in a pixel-less environment. It is a good way to measure the effectiveness of your ads. It is also a good way to measure the ROI. If you can directly link an ad impression to a conversion, then you know exactly where your money went.
Remarketing – Retargeting was very effective and widely used method by marketers to driver conversion. As per Spiralytics, retargeting ads see 1046% efficiency rate compared to all other digital marketing methods, followed by Audience targeting at 514%. However, we are already seeing the decline of the remarketing campaigns. The reason for this is that direct attribution works better with direct ads.
Providers such as Bing agree that Privacy is critical and marketers should prepare themsleves for the vagaries and nuances in tracking, perfromance monitoring in a cookieless(3P) world.
b) ETAs being replaced by Responsive Ads: Google is retiring the Extended Text Ads. These are replaced by Responsive Search Ads. Google defines the Responsive search ads as ads that let you create an ad that adapts to show more text—and more relevant messages—to your customers. You can enter different headlines and descriptions when creating a responsive search ad, and gradually Google will test different combinations. From these iterations, Google’s algorithm will learn which combinations performs the best.
c) Increasing Automations: It’s time for you to identify audiences, create a variety content, develop differentiated ads and embrace automation for both paid social and paid search. Activities like extrapolating, consolidating, and collating information from multiple sources is not an easy task. Automation is a necessity for such task completion. The planning, execution and analysis of data-driven campaigns that scale across multiple platforms and channels will also require the right tools and processes. The shift to ad creativity automation is another important trend in paid search. This affects not only the technical and tactical aspects of campaign management, but also paid search and digital marketing strategies of all omnichannel marketers. Marketing professionals will gain an edge over their competitors by investing in smarter technology. This will allow them to become more agile and nimble with their marketing. You can argue that humans still excel at strategy, empathy and insights, and will need to complement the algorithm driven automation for these aspects.
d) Use of Artificial Intelligence: AI is being used increasingly in advertising optimizations. Some of the use cases include:
Amazon PPC allows use of AI for autopilot PPC. It works best for short tail key words with higher search volume, however can be tweaked for other long tail scenarios. It works best for the customers who are looking for set it forget it set up. For consumers who want more fine combed control, they will require a hybrid strategy.
e) Transformed Testing: Testing will evolve from a few key words to ad concepts, intent defining phrases and segments. Specifically on Amazon, Advertisers should also test out the newer ad types and placements. This includes different types of ad products under Amazon, namely Sponsored Brand Videos, Sponsored Displays and DSP.
All said and done, Data and insights from analytics will continue to be critical. The approach to source data collection will be profoundly impacted by the changing approach around 3rd party cookies. Yet, Marketers will require to be agile in analyzing the data, be able to test different variations and assimilate the insights for adaption of their PPC strategy.
Many of these changes will make the playing field for small advertisers more uphill. Continuously staying close to the changes and trends and what is means for their markets is advised. Most critical is to understand your buyers journey and audience and the ability to understand some of the tools who will increasingly come into play.
Even if you have a strong PPC strategy, if your landing pages do not convert, the PPC strategy will not result in sales. So along with strong PPC strategy it is critical to have a strong landing page with the conversion goals optimized. You can read our guide on strong landing pages here.
Conclusion: Paid search and PPC advertising is undergoing a major shift. While one of the quickest way to generate traffic, it is also among the most expensive. If not properly planned, PPC campaigns could be a significant drain on campaign ROI without much results. With the current shift in startegy and technology from leading providers such as Amazon, Google, Bing etc, PPC strategy will require continued education and awareness creation among SMBs.
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