Search Engine Advertising - Best & Worst of Paid Search 2016

What were the best & worst of search engine advertising in 2016? Register for the webinar featuring Forrester Research and receive a free copy of the full report.

Search engine advertising remains a challenging field that is constantly changing. For example, if your search engine marketing strategies don’t account for expanded text ads (ETAs), product listing ads (PLAs) and cross-device, it’s clear you’re missing out.

2016 has been a tumultuous year for search engine advertising campaigns - there have been huge changes unveiled by publishers, such as the removal of right rail ads in February, which have decreased overall search engine results page (SERP) inventory and made PLAs more important than ever. We’ve also seen Google finally decouple tablet bidding from mobile and desktop bidding - coincidentally enough, at a time when PPC analysis reveals that tablet clickshare is losing ground to mobile. Still, cross-device is more important than ever - search engine advertising statistics show that 37% of online retail transactions have been observed to be cross-device, which means not having a comprehensive mobile strategy means potentially leaving money on the table.

And, of course, the world of search engine advertising tools has gotten longer thanks to ETAs, which don’t necessarily show strong performance lift against traditional standard text ads (STAs) in all cases, and warrant significant testing going forward as part of your paid search strategy.

With all this change taking place, we figure that some search engine advertising tips are in order:

  • ETAs: Test ad copy aggressively, particularly with ETAs - Consider keeping older D1/D2 lines that worked well in STAs as new headlines
  • PLAs: Get a feed live now - With the massive importance of PLAs in 2016, it’s mission-critical to get a feed going and to begin tracking your performance
  • PLAs: Get as granular as you can - Optimizing campaigns to the individual SKU level will maximize revenue. Merchants managing a huge product portfolio, particularly in enterprise SEM, should consider a predictive advertising management platform to intelligently automate the management of so many products
  • Device modifiers: Make the decision to keep or cut tablet from campaigns ASAP - should you decide to keep tablet, make it a focus with tablet-specific campaigns and landing pages
  • Call tracking: With cross-device becoming more prominent, this represents a huge opportunity as ads with phone numbers drive 300% more conversions

Get more search engine advertising tips and tactics and a full review of the year in paid search in the Best & Worst in Paid Search 2016 webinar featuring Forrester Research, and receive a free copy of the full report from Forrester Research for free.

About the Author

Andrew Park

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.

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