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PPC 2018 Review: These changes will cause biggest impact on advertisers in 2019

Updated: Jan 7, 2019



Significant shift towards automation and machine learning affected every aspect of the paid search in 2018. We at design loop, have identified 7 areas of change that will shape the path for paid marketers work in 2019.


1. GOOGLE ADS - NEW NAME, NEW UI

If you still calling it AdWords, well you’re not alone, but the new name Google Ads is catching on. The change in name from AdWords to Ads is a clear indication that keyword selection plays a lesser role in paid search, but most of all it shows the growth of the platform which was started with text ads to one that now has a wide array of ad formats across all their products like Search, You Tube, Gmail, Maps etc.

Why the new UI is important? The new UI is like a command centre than just a dashboard. There are thousands of new levers and ways to segment data, which to me is a clear Indication which says that we are moving away from keywords as the primary levers of search engine marketing.


2. RESPONSIVE SEARCH ADS

RSA’s or Responsive search Ads were first seen in May 2018, when they were in beta mode. RSA’s are an Indication that how much Google is moving towards automation and machine learning. Few things which Google released before RSA’s are dynamic search ads, automated ad suggestions. All these are Google’s efforts to get advertisers give up manual A/B testing. In 2019, we expect that Google will further shift towards automated creative and away from manual control.


3. AI POWERED BIDDING

Gone are the days of manual bidding. Google has a long list of automated bidding strategies including ECPC. Apart from this Google introduced pay for conversions in display campaigns, target impression share and also rolled out smart bidding for search partners. Marketers in today’s world have safety net for testing new targeting options without the risk of spending a huge amount of money and no leads in return.


4. AI POWERED INSIGHTS

This may not seem like a very big change, but both Google and Bing have dedicated significant amount of resources to develop much more AI driven engines in their interfaces. Bing has already introduced a competition tab, performance insights and location recommendations that highlight performance changes. Google also continues to work on data visualisation available in overview page.

All this, so as a marketer you spend less time analysing the spreadsheets and can focus more on strategy and creative tactics.


5. UNIVERSAL AUTOMATION VS HYBRID MANAGEMENT

By universal automation we are referring to campaigns that are entirely automated. It was a major theme in 2018. Google introduced Local campaigns to drive in store traffic, Smart campaigns for small businesses and goal optimised shopping campaigns. These campaigns types are primarily designed for small and medium businesses. For big advertisers, we can see the significant shift towards the automation and machine learning.


6. NEW INVENTORY LOCATIONS AND SURFACES

A number of surfaces for ad formats opened up last year. November 2018 Google made AMP story ads available to all and now there are more than 100 ad tech vendors with AMP. Google has been testing native ads in the discover feed in Google app. This is limited as of now but Google could open more native inventory. On the other hand connected TV advertising is also growing rapidly. You Tube says more people are streaming it on their televisions. Display and video campaigns are running on TV by default now and can be managed by bid modifiers.


7. AMAZON ADVERTISING AND GOOGLE'S COUNTER STRATEGY

The Google - Amazon advertising war started when people started product searches. Amazon was declared third largest digital ad seller in the US behind Google and Facebook. Amazon’s ad revenue is expected to grow by 50% by 2020, which means it will have a total market share of 7%, up from 4% its current market share.

Google’s strategy to counter this is to partner with retailers. It introduced shopping actions to address three core challenges on the e-com front.

how to make mobile shopping from its properties like Search, faster and how to maintain market share for product search in a splintering mobile landscape of apps and digital assistants and to compete against Amazon.

Shopping Actions runs across Search, any Google Assistant-enabled devices. On the omni channel front, at SMX Advanced, Google announced the launch of local catalog ads for Display, extended affiliate extensions to YouTube and more. At SMX East, Google shared more options for message extensions and store visits.


LOOKING FORWARD

While reviewing the last years paid search landscape, we have seen that the AI and machine learning has reached to nearly every aspect of paid search, and we think that SEM in 2019 is going to be much more AI driven and programmatic than it is currently.


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