There’s no doubt that digital marketing changes quickly. Sometimes it can feel like you finally get a handle on the latest tool, platform, metric, etc. and it’s already out of date. It always seems there’s some other cool thing everyone is talking about. To make your job a little easier for 2019, we’ve compiled the top three trends in paid search for this year.
#1 Audiences vs. Keywords
Keywords have been second only to high quality backlinks in paid search since paid search was a thing. They are the building blocks for all campaigns and strategies to ensure your message is shown in the right place at the right time. Recently, Google introduced a queen into the paid search kingdom – audiences! Audiences will only continue to gain traction in 2019, because they put the people and context first. Google’s standard in-market and affinity audiences are great for many consumer-oriented clients to intercept and reach prospective customers as they actively display behavior in certain areas of interest. However, some of the Google offerings do not get granular enough for many of our B2B clients. In these cases, custom affinity lists or audiences created from a data management platform (DMP) are a better option to reach a hyper-niche audience. In any case, audiences are the way of the future. Although keywords aren’t dead, the queen is taking her throne. If you haven’t tested audience targeting in your paid search strategy, 2019 is your year to start.
#2 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning = Automation
Google has already rolled out new features in paid search that allow for more automation in the operation of accounts, including bidding strategies, dynamic search ads and attribution capabilities. It will likely not stop there in 2019. These new features and tools within paid search platforms will cause a shift in focus for paid search marketers. Instead of spending countless hours on daily operational tasks, paid search marketers can use their time more wisely in making strategic shifts based on performance trends and suggestions from the automation tools. Don’t confuse machine learning for “turn it on, let it run.” The human element of data analysis and the constructing of context around performance is far more valuable in moving the needle of performance than the knobs and dials that can be automated. Ultimately, good paid search marketers will use automation tools to their benefit to provide more strategic impact and value for clients.
#3 Video, Voice and the ‘old school’ Text Ads
It’s not just about text ads anymore. While video has been part of search marketing for a few years now, it continues to grow. New to the mix is voice search. Although still in the very early stages, it makes sense to keep a pulse on the opportunities and optimizations for voice search capabilities for our clients in the coming years. Smart speakers and smartphones are ready to answer millions of questions, which are really just voice searches. Doesn’t it make sense to have your company present in those searches?
BONUS! #4 Amazon’s Influence
Amazon has invested a lot of resources into its advertising platform with paid search and display, and the effort seems to be paying off. In a report by eMarketer, Amazon is projected to take more digital advertising market share from Google and Facebook. Amazon’s growth is expected to increase to 8.8 percent of the 2019 total market share. For clients where eCommerce is a fit, Amazon should certainly be on the table for discussion in 2019 if you are not already running there.