What do the experts think 2017 will hold for the constantly and ever rapidly evolving world of PPC marketing?
Will some unsuspecting PPC agency accidently run an ad that Donald Trump finds offensive resulting in the US president calling for a ban on all PPC ads across the country?
Will Google decide that this is the year to do away with those pesky organic search results altogether and replace the whole results page with paid ads?
Will Facebook decide that their ads are becoming too targeted so switch to allowing advertisers to only target by gender?
We’re almost certain none of the above are going to become a reality in 2017, but what developments are likely to occur? This is the question this article will seek to answer by looking to a range of experts on what they believe are likely to be the broad, transformative trends set to shape PPC marketing in 2017.
According Jeffrey Baum, Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing, 2017 is going to be the year of more efficient and sophisticated attribution of clicks. Greater numbers of companies will adopt a longer view of which paid clicks result in conversions. Thus “paid search marketers can (no longer) solely depend on a last click attribution strategy” and will have to move to a strategy that attributes clicks “days, weeks, and even months” before they actually “convert”.
This increased focus on attribution in 2017 is a prediction echoed by Aaron Levy, Manager of Client Strategy at Elite SEM. He predicts that all PPC platforms will “up their education” on how attribution works, both on and offline, and “increase offerings” to ensure advertisers are viewing “all parts of the funnel”.
Further, Lisa Raehsler, Founder of Big Click Co, predicts that 2017 is going to see a “more forward movement in measurement and attribution (of clicks)” to help companies “justify (their) media spends”. She feels there’s going to be a special effort to close the void “between clicks and in store sales” for the countless number of physical retailers that spend millions of dollars on PPC per year.
Facebook becoming Google, Google becoming Facebook
Arguably one of the more interesting and more radical predictions for 2017 is that Facebook is going to become more like Google and conversely Google is going to become more like Facebook. As crazy as that sounds, bear with us, there is some strong evidence to suggest that it’s not as farfetched as you might think.
First, Facebook becoming more like Google. As is pointed out by Patrick Hutchison, Search Product Marketing Manager at Marin Software, “2 billion searchES per day” are performed on Facebook, and crucially, “some of those have commercial appeal”.
On this topic, Mark Zuckerberg himself stated in his Q3, 2016 earnings call, that “once there’s a large volume of people interacting with businesses” then giving the businesses “the tools to reach more people” presents the “business opportunity.” Nothing quite like getting it straight from the horse’s mouth.
So, based on the above, it’s not so outlandish to think that 2017 is likely to be the year Facebook feels it’s time to let advertisers bid on a keyword level and let them display their ads alongside the search results pages of the billions of searches their users make per day. In short, in Hutchinson’s words, Facebook will “diversify its revenue stream with the launch of search ads” and thus be going straight after Google’s bread and butter.
On the other hand, it’s also predicted that Google will continue becoming a lot more like Facebook in 2017, primarily by, as Hutchinson predicts, “bolster(ing) its audience buying and visual shopping capabilities”.
This prediction is further reinforced by Wordstream founder, Larry Kim who predicts that “Facebook-like audience targeting options” will become ever more “integrated into Google Search ads”, citing the examples of “RLSA/Customer Match” as well as “Demographics for Search Ads”.
Google becoming more like Facebook by implementing more audience level targeting into their PPC platform is also something that is alluded to by Optmyzer CEO, Frederick Vallaeys. He feels “search ads will become as much about audience targeting as they are about keyword targeting”, but does acknowledge that keywords will continue to play a “critical role”.
Much like Larry Kim, he predicts more marketers will openly embrace Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) to not include audiences that aren’t relevant and bid higher for audiences that contain leads that are highly qualified.
And thus, the over-arching prediction here is that, in 2017, Facebook becomes more like Google and Google becomes more like Facebook.
More Advertisers Than Ever Will Run Hybrid Google-Facebook Campaigns.
The writing was on the wall in 2016, but going into the start of 2017 it’s more apparent than ever that PPC marketing is largely shaping up to be a two-horse race (Facebook PPC and Google PPC). As Hutchinson points out, “it’s estimated that the pair will capture $0.73 of each additional $1.00 of digital ad spend” going forward.
So with that in mind, it becomes clear that it’s the advertisers “who coordinate their demand-generation and demand-fulfilment campaigns” across both PPC networks, “Google and Facebook”, that will be the ones that really perform well in this changing environment.
Hutchinson posits that this prediction is born out of his current observations “that marketers running integrated Google and Facebook campaigns see up to seventy percent higher returns”. And as Google and Facebook continue to gobble up more of the total online marketing dollars in 2017, this trend is only set to increase.
This view is reinforced by Larry Kim. When referring to Google and Facebook, he predicts that in 2017 more marketers will be “us(ing) them together!”. He goes onto explain that Facebook will be used to “drive awareness”, and from there “RLSA in Google search as well as remarketing” will be used to transform the “newly created awareness into both sales and leads”.
Finally, Frederick Vallaeys crystallises the same prediction for 2017 by saying that more advertisers will be using the “synergy between paid social advertising and search ads”. Facebook will provide more affordable click costs with fantastic demographic and behavioural targeting options which “will be used to drive users from (the) social network to advertisers’ sites where they can be cookied and added to the appropriate audience list”. From there these same visitors will then be targeted on (Google) search results pages with more relevant messaging and more appropriate bids.
So, in short. The advertisers who leverage the unique strengths of the two reigning, dominant PPC platforms and form synergetic, cohesive campaigns where they both complement each other to meet the advertisers goal, are the ones that will win in 2017.
So, there you have it folks. The key trends that are set to shape 2017, supported by predictions from a range of key industry leaders is that; there will be a larger focus than ever on attribution, Google and Facebook will continue to become more like each other and advertisers will really start to embrace hybrid Google-Facebook campaigns to maximise ROI.
Of course, there are many other smaller predictions we omitted from this article as we wanted to focus on what we felt are going to be the most pivotal and transformative changes.
Further, it goes without saying, but although these are predictions based on strong current data, and corroborated by many industry professionals, they are still predictions at the end of the day.
As you know, both Google and Facebook like to play things close to the chest so there’s always a chance that one of them could throw a big unforeseen change out there that no industry professional saw coming. This is unlikely but should never be dismissed.
And that’s why we call the world of PPC marketing one that is constantly and ever rapidly evolving.