When it comes to any pay-per-click, or PPC, strategy, trends should be on your mind when it comes to your process. It doesn’t matter if you’re running ads independently of marketing, or if your advertising and marketing strategy is aligned, it’s becoming more and more essential to pay attention to how things are changing over time.

Ultimately, digital advertising is meant for the end user, and you need to have your target persona in mind at all times. With how search engines work, PPC campaigns have to be optimized for the target audience. This might seem obvious, but rarely do digital marketers really take this into consideration.

They often do work that looks great and sounds good on the surface, but ultimately, only your success rate will tell you how well you’re paying attention. With that, let’s get into what’s important for paid search in 2020.

1. PPC automation is going to be even more prevalent.

In the past, keywords and keyphrases were the be-all, end-all for success. That has been changing in the past few years as machine learning has come to the forefront of platforms like Google Ads and Facebook.

These platforms developed automated bidding strategies a while ago, but they aren’t the complete picture, not by a long shot. There are many more components now, but keywords still aren’t going away. The important element for any ad campaign is to tend to the things you can impact.

For instance, in Google Ads, machine learning is at the forefront to the point where the initial keywords you input are not the only things your ad will show for. Google evaluates the search terms that you enter into your system, and then shows your ads to other, sometimes entirely different keywords.

This happens because the smart bidding strategy Google employs is trying to see something deeper than surface keywords. It’s trying to understand intent. This means that you could very possibly have ad results that work regardless of the keywords you enter, provided every other step like your landing pages are put together properly.

Furthermore, with their Dynamic Ad options, they are directly using the keywords and keyphrases entered in headlines, but you never enter keywords for those campaigns. Why?

Because they are pulling them straight from your landing pages or overall domain.

This is the writing on the wall for the future, but it’s going to take the various algorithms a few years to get to that point. So, for now, keep doing what you find that works. But be mindful that those strategies have an expiration date.

As you plan your PPC strategy moving forward, look out for this trend.

2. Social media platforms and landing pages need to have consistency.

When it comes to PPC trends in 2020, your ad copy is going to need to have some tweaks. Really, things have been moving this way since 2017, but now, it’s more important than ever that things look and sound similar across platforms.

No one single channel is truly by itself anymore. The more these platforms connect, the more you’re going to need to increase the level of sophistication in your methodology. This might mean something like running user-generated search campaigns that track someone’s Facebook pixel, then are remarketed to on Facebook and Instagram.

This means that your branding and messaging must be tight and consistent. One of the biggest hits to credibility is when your branding is inconsistent among multiple channels.

In addition, this is relevant to the machine learning component of how platforms are starting to operate.

3. Know the difference between strategy and tactics — and apply a more strategic approach.

Strategy is the guiding idea and philosophy in how you operate. Tactics are the tools and processes you utilize to implement your strategy.

Knowing this difference is essential. Why? Well, it falls into the basics of what SEO is moving towards.

Google’s overall objective is to push traffic to sources its users want. So, if you’re offering content that few people want to consume, yet you’re advertising it in a way that seems intriguing, this will eventually cost you.

This is why clickbait only goes so far. Sure, a fantastic headline might encourage someone to click, but if what they find is different, or less, than what they were promised, your bounce rate will not only tell you, it will tell Google. And Google will punish you for it.

PPC advertising is constantly evolving. So, as mentioned before, it used to be purely a keyword game, and now it’s shifting to user engagement. Thus, strategy would concern things like how all of the pieces of your advertising flow together and communicate your offer and values to your targets. The tactical approach is the type of ad campaigns to run, the copy in the ad and landing page, and how you structure user journeys.

Ultimately, a good strategy shouldn’t change very often. We all know Google’s objectives, and our strategies must play to that. Then, the tactics will inform how you proceed.

So make sure that your strategy is in line with the overall objectives of the platforms you use. You might find a lot of success using tactics these platforms are trying to get rid of. But in the long run, those tactics will set you up for failure.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should abandon tactics that are working. If they don’t necessarily fit into the strategic vision, yet they’re working, then just be mindful of that. And, above all, have an exit strategy to graduate to tactics that are more effective and in line with your strategy.

4. Consider alternative platforms if your target audience is clustered there.

Google and Facebook Ads are really the main interstate highways right now. But what about groups of people in small towns that are way off of the interstate?

For this, you would need to use another network. Now, of course, this analogy only works so well, but it does convey the point — go where your targets are.

Are your targets looking on Google? Then fine, go there. But, what if they’re incredibly active on something like Reddit, Twitter, or another platform?

The key is that you as an advertiser must know where your targets are. What are they doing online? What are they talking about? What are they asking? What do they really want?

When you can answer these questions, it not only helps you develop the copy and other assets you need to succeed, but it also helps you to save a lot of money by shifting your budget to the platforms where they congregate.

This doesn’t mean you should be on every platform, not by a long stretch. This means you should be on the correct platforms. So take some time this year to know what sorts of alternative platforms that your target audience might be on.

5. Expect higher costs.

This is the part that nobody likes to hear. But the truth is that more people are becoming wise to how to effectively market and advertise products and services. This means that the market is becoming oversaturated.

To understand this, just think about a piece of land. There is only so much that will fit on that particular tract. If Google is the land, then it can only show so many advertisements on it. As such, when there’s no more room for them, they will increase the cost to access this land.

Basically, this means that you have to be on your game. You have to know what you’re doing. This is an absolute must. The problem is that most people already think they have the knowledge.

The reality here is that the experts who succeed with PPC options like Google, Facebook, and Bing ads are successful because they are constant learners. And this point right here is why some struggle so hard.

Even though all of the major platforms have their own free courses on how to operate their systems, most people lack the time and patience to really immerse themselves in new information while still holding down a full time job, family, or both. So this is an important component to consider.

When your business needs to cut through the noise and get to your target audience, it’s important that you trust the right people to guide you on that path. If you would like to talk about how nobox creatives can help you do just that, we should talk.

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