PPC Trends in 2020
Pay-per-click (PPC) trends are changing in 2020 and there’s a lot to look out for. Just in the last quarter of 2019, Google released 18 updates to Google Ads. The Google Marketing Live 2019 conference proved to be a heavy hitter that brought a lot of change and innovation for marketers. Bing on the other hand, only released four updates to Microsoft Advertising in all of 2019.
Google has always been at the forefront of innovation and 2020 is looking like a big year. Staying on top of what the future holds and what is driving the market is essential.
What does the future hold for PPC in 2020?
Top 10 PPC Trends in 2020
To help you know what to expect, whether you’re an advertiser or agency, this guide to PPC trends in 2020 will keep you on top of the changes and ahead of the trends. From automation to artificial intelligence, to smart bidding and beyond, these are the top 10 PPC trends to expect and implement in 2020.
2020 PPC Trend #1: PPC Automation
Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are coming together in 2020 to develop PPC automation and address labor-intensive tasks within Google and Bing ads. Process automation is slated to grow exponentially in 2020, and while PPC automation isn’t new it is surely getting a facelift.
Google has heavily invested in automation, helping marketers and advertisers reach their target audience when they’re ready to buy. This step into ML and AI is a digital marketer’s dream, where vast amounts of data will work together to identify the best possible audience. AT this place in history, Google has allocated massive amounts of data over the years where it can now begin to stitch everything together with the help of advanced automation.
Depending on the campaign goals, a wide variety of automation options are available.
What is Automation?
This trend of PPC automation in 2020 will enhance the following areas:
- Calculate a bidding strategy based on goals
- Automated real-time bidding
- Dynamic generation of ads based on user behavior
- Implementation of Google Ads Scripts to create and optimize ad copy
- Ad Auction search based on set CPA (cost-per-action)
- Prioritize ads generating the best results and stop low-performing ads
- Identify performance issues within an ad account
Trusting and getting familiar with these new developments in automation may take some time to be fully adopted, but the promise of what they bring is massive.
2020 PPC Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence
In the same vein, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a global trend that impacts far more than PPC. Expected to reach an economic impact of $15.7 trillion by 2030, AI is changing the world, not only specific industries.
The time spent by marketers on tedious daily tasks in regards to PPC will be drastically decreased with the help of AI. This will free up time to focus on strategy, clients, testing, and creativity.
How does AI benefit PPC?
Create more effective ad campaigns
Identify bids that are going to drive the most traffic
Predict click-through-rate (CTR) of future ads and quality score impact
Use historic data to predict the conversion rate
Optimize keywords, ads, or campaigns based on pre-set events
The implementation of AI will help it learn audience behaviors, working more closely with algorithms than humans can. Google and Bing aren’t the only platforms that will benefit from AI. Amazon Ads are also coming to be impacted and in a big way.
AI changes the way we use massive amounts of data to predict an outcome, however current AI cannot mimic human reasoning and thinking. Cognitive AI is still a grand leap into the future of a new PPC landscape.
2020 PPC Trend #3: Video Advertising
Videos are a badge of trustworthiness for users and potential customers. With the prevalence of videos only increasing, and the importance of written content slowly decreasing, we are at the cusp of yet another evolution from the old ways to the new frontier.
Traditionally, content is king, and that’s written content. But video is here to take the throne and usher us into a new age of advertising. Video is dominating the market and proves that when a video is present on a website, the average user spends 88% more time on the website, building interest, and trust. With the demand for video content increasing, PPC will also be affected and amplified.
Here’s how a video will impact PPC in 2020:
- Video will take power of purchasing decisions
- Video is taking the premier lead generation spot
- Live video will link to purchase pages
- Vertical video ads on Google are replacing horizontal as mobile usage rises
- Instagram story ads will continue to dominate
- A shift from 90-second ads to 6-second bumper ads on YouTube
People feel more of a connection to a brand through video. With consumers being sold to a high rate across seemingly all platforms, making a personal connection and emotional impact will be what drives sales. Gone are the days of copy that sells. Get ready for your close up!
2020 PPC Trend #4: Ads Data Hub on YouTube
With more than 70% of viewers using mobile devices on YouTube, Google has been investing in a way to eliminate third-party pixel tracking (as pixel technology can’t be tracked on mobile) and bring tracking in-house in 2020.
Ads Data Hub allows “advertisers to understand how their advertising is performing across screens, including mobile apps, through aggregated insights from Google ad platforms, including YouTube, Google Ads and Display & Video 360.”
This update will still allow marketers to measure the performance of their ads on YouTube while adding another layer of protection and privacy for the user.
Here’s how Ads Data Hub will be used for PPC in 2020:
- User privacy-enhanced
- Third-party measurers will have more comprehensive data
- Removal of third-party pixels and migration to single-source data in Ads Data Hub
2020 PPC Trend #5: Smart Bidding
Smart Bidding is in the same family tree as automation. And while automation is very exciting, not all automation strategies will work for every campaign. Machine learning is used along with automated bidding strategies to optimize ads based on the preset goals for the highest conversions.
Automation will still take time to learn, and that also includes time where things look worse before they start to look better. Based on volume this will take a different amount of time for each account, and this learning curve is vital for success. Testing one automated strategy at a time (bids, recommended ad copy, responsive search ads) is key.
Within a set budget, Smart Bidding figures out how to reach the advertising goal with the help of AI and can be sued for multiple PPC goals, including:
- CPA Targeting
- ROAS (return on ad spend) Targeting
- Conversion Rate increase
In 2019, Google released some new smart bidding controls to help drive better performance. These new controls include:
- Campaign-level conversion setting
- Seasonality adjustments
- Maximize conversion value
- Value rules
Most interesting out of these new smart bidding controls is value rules. “Value rules will let advertisers differentiate conversion values based on characteristics like location, device and audience. This will allow you to customize conversion values so they align more closely with your business goals.”
2020 Trend #6: YouTube Masthead
When smart TVs hit the market, people were able to engage with YouTube videos like never before. The ability to watch videos and navigate on YouTube through a TV changed the game and the way the platform understood its user.
Now dominating the big screen market, YouTube has implemented Masthead—a digital billboard on YouTube’s homepage visible on compatible devices. This addition makes YouTube feel more like traditional TV while still providing the billions of videos accessible on any device.
This takes YouTube advertising to the next level as users are shown a video from the homepage that will autoplay after a few seconds.
Expected to roll out in early 2020, YouTube Masthead will affect PPC in the following ways:
- Masthead will be visible on YouTube’s homepage for 24 hours, exposed to roughly 60 million people
- Masthead ads will be reserved by one advertiser per country per day
- Multiple videos, CTAs, and social media buttons
- Best for companies who want to maximize brand exposure
- Measured in cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis
YouTube has more than 250 million hours of watch time per day and 1.8 billion users per month, and that is something Google is capitalizing on.
2020 PPC Trend #7: Smart Segmentation and Google AdMob
By 2023, apps are slated to generate $935 million through in-app purchases and advertising. Smart segmentation, launched in 2019, will help developers identify and segment free users who are not likely to make in-app purchases. Machine learning will identify these users and show them ads.
This will help to prevent purchasers from seeing ads, while ads are only shown to those users who are playing or using for free, or who have not made any in-app purchases.
Google AdMob is a mobile app for monetization helping companies and developers convert their free users into paying customers via ads. Insights and data are also collected via AdMob. In 2019, a few new features were launched in AdMob to further determine user metrics.
- User Engagement Card
- Rewarded Ads Report
- AdMob API
- Easy Comparison Reporting
- Revenue Report
With so many engaging with apps for fun and pleasure, Google is providing ways to help the developers support the app and gain valuable user data for PPC.
2020 PPC Trend #8: Voice Search for PPC
Voice search has been a hot topic over the past 3-5 years with the mass adoption of voice assistants including Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Siri. With the majority of people searching on their devices rather than laptops or desktops, there is also an increase in voice searches.
Optimizing SEO for voice search will help to land the coveted “position zero” that Google has rolled out. As voice search technology improves and results are more specific and direct, a huge opportunity for PPC has opened.
With the adoption of voice search by users, PPC is affected in the following ways:
- Voice search is used primarily on mobile devices
- Conversational, natural language style used in searches
- Questions keywords: who, what, where, when, why, how
Capitalizing on this trend will be what makes or breaks a PPC campaign in the coming years. Google is the default search engine for both Google and Apple products, while Bing is the default search engine for Alexa.
2020 PPC Trend #9: Virtual Reality Ads
No longer reserved for gaming, virtual reality (VR) ads are a reality in 2020. This new realm is uncharted territory and a thing of sci-fi flicks, but this year we will see VR ads enter the marketplace.
Focusing on a simulated experience that feels real, advertisers want the customer to feel the product before buying it.
Here’s how virtual reality will impact PPC in 2020:
- Eye-tracking technology will activate an ad
- Heatmap tracking for which part of the screen users look at the most
- 360-degree videos so customers can deeply engage in the experience or product
Millennials and Gen Zers are driving this technology and the rapid rate at which it’s being adopted. While some may find this more intrusive than any other PPC trend, the reality is that this is the direction we are moving in and there’s enough of a demand to support it.
2020 PPC Trend #10: Alternative PPC Platforms
It’s no secret that Google and Facebook have dominated the market when it comes to PPC, and just about anything really. But these markets have also become oversaturated and expensive to advertise on.
In 2020, marketers are focusing on alternative PPC platforms to diversify spending and reach potential target markets. Here’s where we’re seeing alternative PPC campaigns flourish:
While Google is the premier search engine with the majority of market share, these other platforms are used in high volume by loyal users. Testing different platforms in 2020 is a huge trend that has already seen great results in 2019.
The Bottom Line
As the world changes and technology evolves, so must platforms and practices. Never before in our history have we had more accessibility to the brands and companies we love, and they to us. Taking advantage of the advancements in software, systems, features, and platforms will allow marketers to engage their audience in a new way.
Consulting with a professional marketing firm is a great way to get a thorough view of your goals and the roads it will take to meet them. Get in touch with us at Pico Digital Marketing for all your digital marketing goals in 2020.