When it comes to paid search strategies, 2021 has undoubtedly thrown the marketing industry for a loop, showing no signs of slowing down as 2022 inches closer. From shifts toward machine learning and automation to Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) becoming the new default, PPC marketers have a lot on their plates heading into the new year. Stay ahead of the curve and pay attention to these seven PPC trends in 2022.
Automation continues to gain momentum, with most PPC experts agreeing it will play a key role in helping marketers make informed, data-driven decisions. Extrapolating, consolidating, and collating information from multiple sources takes time, and there’s an inherent challenge to doing all of this efficiently without using automation. At the same time, planning, executing and analyzing scalable, data-driven campaigns across multiple channels and platforms require adequate tools. This makes investing in smart technology advantageous and necessary if businesses want to remain competitive.
While plenty of marketers agree that humans are naturally better than machines regarding strategy, empathy, insights, and prior knowledge, they also recognize Google’s push for automation. As these camps continue to merge, the most successful B2B digital marketing agencies will be the ones who remain laser-focused on delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time. This is especially relevant if that content delivery includes some use of automation.
Marketing experts also agree that brands should continue acquiring first-party data. This is data your marketing team has already collected, including:
With Google, Apple, and Facebook limiting the data available to advertisers, the value of this first-party data will only continue to grow. Updates to cookie tracking in iOS14 and the deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome mean a third-party, cookie-less world will soon be a reality. As such, the need to strategize, invest, and test into first-party data sources will be far more significant, as will the need to apply these tactics holistically across marketing channels. In other words, savvy digital marketers must learn how to go “old-school” with their targeting using modern technology, as there will likely be a significant shift towards more contextual targeting options.
One of the “old-school” tactics marketers would be wise to master is the art of presenting a compelling offer. With data access shrinking and precise targeting becoming less specific, many advertisers realize they need to refine their offerings.
Take Google Ads, for instance. When you really think about it, you’re not advertising conversions; you’re promoting a benefit or something that will help your target audience. Therefore, as an advertiser, you have to ask yourself, “what am I offering?” You need to review that offer carefully and consistently, and you need to look at what offers are converting and which aren’t. For example, if you’re in the fashion digital marketing business, ask yourself if you’re accounting for seasonality, new competitors, or even audience fatigue regarding particular fashion trends or consumer preferences. Examine whether changing consumer behaviors might play a role or whether other variables might have a more considerable impact.
At the same time, recognize that people can and often change their preferences quickly, with the same going for any information and signals you might get from your customers and performance data. While top-of-funnel offers are perfectly viable, consider whether or not you should build offers that bring value across your entire marketing funnel.
It’s no secret that Google continues to push its A.I., which is why businesses and marketers must stay on top of Google’s updates. That’s why it came as little surprise when Google announced it was sunsetting Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) starting in June 2022. This change will gradually shift marketers towards testing and improving their Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) capabilities.
While not surprising, the change did worry some advertisers about performance implications, as many have claimed to see a greater performance with the flexibility provided by ETAs. Currently, advertisers can test different messaging across multiple ETAs, gaining quick insights into which copy works best. Given the nature of RSAs (which are automatically populated, pulling from several different headlines and description lines), receiving granular performance breakdowns is a bit trickier. This naturally makes it harder for advertisers to pinpoint what copy is working versus what isn’t.
That aside, Google’s push towards more RSAs means their A.I. will take additional control over headlines and descriptions based on what it feels works best. Advertisers should ensure their ETAs are not only optimized for keywords but are also comfortable with how these ads are written before the June 2022 deadline. With RSAs becoming the new default, there are also some general tips to keep in mind. For starters, advertisers must ensure their top-performing keywords are included in the headlines, with CTAs like the ones used on your website added as well. Likewise, ensure that descriptions feature crucial information, but keep each description different. With each line containing different information, Google can start putting various combinations together without the risk of those descriptions being seen as repetitive.
In 2005, analysts estimated that 5% of American adults had adopted at least one form of social media. Today, that number has ballooned to an estimated 72% of the population, with 7 in 10 Americans browsing Facebook, Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok at least once a day. Suffice to say, social media has quickly become one of the best and most profitable mediums for advertisers to reach their intended audiences, with TikTok and its estimated 1 billion+ monthly users set to take center stage in 2022.
As the fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok provides a fantastic opportunity for digital marketers to engage their audience with emotive, full-screen video ads. Likewise, TikTok’s partnership with Shopify has had a tremendous impact on social commerce, with viral trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt helping businesses generate millions in revenue.
Bolstered by apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook stories, video marketing as a whole has also grown increasingly popular over the years, with recent video marketing stats highlighting that:
While increases in video consumption will prove valuable for advertisers, they come with a caveat: Users’ attention spans are getting shorter. This means the need for quick, focused content has never been more essential, with 25% of adults stating that they’ll likely close a video ad after only 10 seconds.
While this trend is especially evident on TikTok, other platforms based around short-form videos have also seen significant growth. YouTube Shorts, for instance, established a $100 million fund to be distributed to content creators throughout 2021 and 2022. At the same time, Instagram announced its intention to become a video-first platform, with plans to optimize for mobile viewing with full-screen reels and Instagram T.V. (IGTV) as focal points. Likewise, Google did what it does best, developing a tool powered by machine learning to create multiple short videos (around 6 seconds or less) known as bumper ads to place in front of YouTube videos.
With these factors in play, digital marketers must incorporate authentic advertising experiences that mimic the organic content found on the above platforms. As an alternative, high-performing, pre-existing organic videos can be reuploaded as standalone paid advertisements. Given that in-app engagement data collected from this strategy is unaffected by iOS tracking restrictions, this allows for accurate retargeting and the creation of lookalike audiences.
Just as there’s been growing demand for more video marketing, consumers have also gravitated towards voice-enabled services like Amazon’s Alexa, Samsung’s Bixby, and Apple’s Siri. Coupled with advancements in voice-based A.I. technologies, analysts have already predicted strong growth within the voice search sector, with market growth estimates placing the increase at $11.2 billion by 2026, up from the $2.8 billion seen during 2021.
As such, voice-driven shopping is expected to see a massive surge in popularity, going from a $2 billion-dollar conduit in 2017 to a $40 billion-dollar revenue driver by 2022. At the same time, on-the-go searches are set to make up a large portion of that search traffic, due in large part to the increased availability of mobile devices with built-in support for voice search technologies. With location-specific voice search queries being among the most popular (especially for discovering information about local businesses), advertisers should consider the following optimizations for location-specific voice search queries:
Recently, there has been a significant shift in public sentiment regarding privacy and data collection. While this concern was previously addressed through government legislation via the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and other initiatives like Apple’s iOS 14 update, Google has also joined in by promising to phase out browser cookies by the end of 2023.
While this might leave some marketers scratching their heads, wondering what comes next, there are still plenty of options to help businesses stay ahead of the curve in their paid search strategies and optimizations for 2022. For starters, diversifying current ad channels will go a long way towards maximizing exposure and reach. This might include experimenting with unused paid media channels like LinkedIn or Reddit, or even integrating alternative search platforms like Bing or Yandex into your paid search strategy. Best of all, this has the added benefit of mitigating against future changes that might be introduced into the privacy landscape.
While 2022 will undoubtedly present challenges in the realms of digital marketing and paid search, it’s just as likely to present some exciting new possibilities. If you want to optimize your PPC strategies going into the new year, turn to the PPC experts at VELOX Media.
As a Google Premier Partner ranking in the top 3% of digital marketing agencies worldwide, our search marketing specialists are experts at identifying new opportunities, with over 10 years of experience placing dynamic paid content across the full spectrum of search, display, and video result elements. Reach out to VELOX Media to learn how we can help your business capture new revenue, hit seasonal campaign targets, and enjoy sustained paid dominance in 2022.