While everyone can admit that 2020 was a year of challenges for multiple reasons, it brought businesses online that never thought they’d be online – and now the competition is exploding. The significant trends in PPC marketing and paid social in 2021 have been shaped and molded. Part one of this article reveals 5 trends you need to know, according to 32 top experts. Next month, part two of this article will deliver another 5 trends to follow.
In a normal year, PPC marketing is relatively unpredictable. Last year, we could not have predicted having to manage the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020. Instead, many PPC experts were actively researching trends like automation, audience targeting and privacy.
So, where are the most important PPC trends leaning in 2021?
The following are half of the top 10 PPC trends to pay attention to for 2021, according to 32 experts.
1. Goodbye, Data
No, this does not refer to a bad episode of Star Trek. Smoke-screening of data, unfortunately, will be a continuing trend in 2021, according to Julie F. Bacchini, President & Founder, Neptune Moon.
“Between Google Ads limiting access to search query data to the coming obliteration of tracking cookies as we know it, digital marketers are going to have to adapt in a pretty major way again in 2021,” Bacchini said. “The bottom line for 2021: be ready to be flexible.”
There might be a trick for PPC marketers to succeed in this environment. Imperfect data will be a challenge but seasoned marketers will be able to transform incomplete data and work with the 80% of information available to learn how to guide their campaigns and target more audiences.
Businesses this year will rely on PPC to drive larger portions of their revenue while fighting channels that are taking away functionality and data transparency.
2. Appreciate Your Audience and the Buyer Journey
It’s a whole new world and the days of controlling ads and bids based on words alone are over. In a nutshell, marketers will be forced to evaluate the audience they’re aiming to convert.
This year, the most successful PPC marketers will be true strategists dedicated to their target audience. During these radical times, with less control due to automation and AI, the important tick is who views your ads to make certain you’re driving qualified clicks.
The winner of all the chicken dinners in the PPC world will be the advertisers who align PPC marketing efforts with the buyer journey.
3. Greater Automation
Fan or not, ad platforms are removing further control from PPC marketers. It will manipulate users to rely on feeding better data back into the platforms. This data will need to account for much more than just binary metrics, even where they were utilized. Leads will need to think about quality and feed values back based upon this, or the platform will automate for those easy low-quality leads.
Greater success with PPC efforts will entail experience with how automation works. Platforms want their algorithms to have more freedom but don’t fret – humans are still needed to manage it all. Results are the ultimate goal – regardless of whether they’re achieved by automated, manual, or a mix of both managed strategies.
4. Diversification Will Be Key
Microsoft Ads are on the upswing after one unintended consequence of the loss of control in Google. Many businesses will likely move PPC dollars to other search engines. This platform does provide marketers the robust data required to make smart decisions.
While Google persists in moving away from actionable data and more towards machine learning, it will be essential for advertisers to be well-versed with separate advertising platforms providing more control budgetarily, with reach and messaging. Heavy reliance on Google at this point is just not smart business.
5. Plug into the Power of First-Party Data
Because of changes in global privacy policies and restrictions to third-party cookies across browsers, how data is sourced is about to be disrupted. This year, data will need to be the focus for search marketers and working to build a strategy to maintain privacy compliance and usability of data in this new terrain will be paramount.
Cookie-driven targeting technology dependence will need to be handed over for better solutions not reliant on cookies. Companies will be able to obtain greater accuracy because they can segment first-party data with great customization. Using server-side analytics, they can greatly increase tracking accuracy and web browsers cannot interfere with this. Advancing first-party data, much like last year, should be a priority.
Next month, we will share part II of this article with another 5 PPC trends you need to know.