The new year is always a time of both reflection and looking ahead, especially when it comes to search engine optimization and search engine marketing trends. This year, we expect to see the pay-per-click advertising trends established last year continue to grow.
It's no secret that 2016 was for PPC, with Google making a number of changes to AdWords. Notably, PPC ads were permanently moved from the sidebar to the main section of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), and the newly launched Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) dramatically increases potential ad real estate.
In the manufacturing and industrial space, where common and important keyword phrases can be competitive, this was a big adjustment for those who weren't prepared.
We don't want you do fall prey to a similar fate this year, too, so let's talk about some PPC shifts can we expect in 2017. We've got our eyes on a few key trends:
1. Continued SERP Tweaks
We can expect Google to continue its practice of more or less continual tweaks to their SERPs.
For example, for the past two or three years, they have been slowly increasing the size of Knowledge Graphs and Answer Boxes on SERPs — they will continue to do in the next few months.
In regard to PPC, this means less available space for ads and ads that appear lower on the page, which is not ideal.
It isn’t an insurmountable problem either — using the ETA ad category that Google released this year can help counter the less ideal positioning.
As non-ad features grow, we expect focus and spending on ETAs to grow along with them.
2. Increased Social Media Ad Spending
Facebook has rapidly caught up to Google in terms of digital advertising revenue — together, these two companies earn nearly three quarters of every dollar spent on digital ads. For industrial companies, this means two things:
First, we’ll start to see small shifts in the effectiveness of Google AdWords ads as Facebook continues to chip away at Google’s market share. This has certainly been the case for many B2C companies, and the trends may carry over into the B2B-focused industrial markets.
Second, this opens up a whole world of potential for PPC. We're not saying abandon AdWords campaigns in favor of Facebook ones, but Facebook ad campaigns should definitely be on the table. When conducted in a carefully and thoughtfully integrated manner, combined Google and Facebook campaigns could yield impressive results.
3. New Ad Categories and Add-Ons
Google’s Shopping ads are somewhat related to SERP tweaks — these are features that we think will continue to increase in size on SERPs, just like Answer Boxes are.
Shopping ads aren’t a new ad category; they have been around for a while. Add-ons and extensions for standard text ads and ETAs aren’t new either, but in terms of the industrial sector, they are relatively unexplored.
There are a lot of extensions for standard text ads and ETAs in development and beta, some of which are truly excellent, but they skew heavily toward business to consumer (B2C) methodologies. Similarly, Shopping ads are geared very much toward B2C markets. Neither text ad extensions nor Shopping ads have been particularly useful in industrial markets, which are primarily B2B.
Luckily, now that Google is getting a pretty solid handle on B2C-focused ads and add-ons, we expect them to start putting heavier focus on B2B-related improvements this year. This shift in focus will open a world of PPC opportunities for industrial manufacturers.
As anything in the SEM world is, PPC trends are difficult to predict. The trends above are just a small handful of different ideas of what could happen in 2017. They are even more difficult to capitalize on if you don’t have a deep, thorough understanding of the field.
If you’re looking to enter the world of PPC — and you should be — you should enlist the help of a dedicated team of professionals. As the marketing agency for the industrial space, and we'd love to talk about how we can kick start your PPC marketing.
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