Now that we've learned from the Best and Worst of Paid Search in 2016, let's look ahead to the year's biggest SEM trends. Please join QuanticMind at SMX West 2017 at booth #204 to discuss the most important developments in PPC marketing and enter to win an Apple Watch. Also, save 10% on an All-Access Pass when you use our promo code: QUANTICSMXW17
(Coming to SMX West 2017 in San Jose, CA on March 21-23? The event will include three full days of discussions and panel presentations. To share more insights on search engine marketing and tackle any questions you may have, visit our booth at #204. You can also enter our raffle to win an Apple Watch - winners will be chosen at the QuanticMind theater presentation on Day 2 at 2:45-3:00PM.)
2016 is well behind us, and it’s probably safe to say that it was an eventful and challenging year for many of us - in many ways.
In the world of paid search, we witnessed important publisher changes in 2016 like Google de-coupling of tablet from Enhanced Campaign modifiers, enabling a mobile base bid to empower advertisers to have a mobile-first strategy. We also said goodbye to right rail text ads on Google search engine result pages, which were replaced with product listing ads (PLAs) for Google Shopping. And earlier this year, we’ve also said farewell to Standard Text Ads (STAs) in favor of Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) as of January 31.
So what does that mean for the rest of the year?
Given what we saw in 2016, it’s likely that these themes will be (and in many cases, continue to be) important in 2017:
Attribution: We know that cross-device is more important than ever as the changing face of the customer journey becomes more complex...with even more stages, and more devices, particularly mobile. In changing Enhanced Campaign device-based bidding, Google has empowered more businesses to take a mobile-first strategy, but the challenge of neatly and cleanly tracking cross-device conversions remains.
E-commerce, Particularly via Offline: We know that clicks-to-bricks is big business. Advisory firm Forrester estimated total US retail sales for 2016 to hit $3.4 trillion, 38% of which would come from web-influenced sales. In 2017, we expect to see more businesses seeking to capitalize on offline conversions while using methods such as beacons and retargeting/remarketing to track and re-engage potential customers.
Multichannel: Another aspect of the changing customer journey is how it now spans multiple channels. While search remains a crucial and powerful field driven by intent, other channels, particularly social, are becoming more prominent in the customer research and decision-making porcesses.
Wildcard: Google UI update for AdWords: In the wake of Google’s 2016 announcement that it is revamping the AdWords user interface, no major changes in functionality had been confirmed. This seems like a non-issue, but it may be a good idea to keep an eye on the new interface and any changes that eventually get made to reporting or other functionality that might start affecting your SEM campaign budgets.
For more discussion on the top issues in the world of search engine marketing, please join us at SMX West in San Jose this March.
About the Author
Andrew Park is a content marketing manager at QuanticMind. A UC Berkeley graduate and lifelong Bay Area resident, Andrew has done tours of duty in editorial, PR and marketing, and now works with the QuanticMind team to communicate the importance of data science and machine learning in digital advertising.More Content by Andrew Park