The Future of PPC Advertising: Best Practices & Strategies

03 November 2021

The biggest trends in PPC marketing and paid social for 2021, from our very own Google Digital Performance Champion.

Pay Per Click (PPC) is a vital tool for any business with a digital presence – whether it be the retail industry with E-commerce continuing to evolve at a rapid speed, or start-ups aiming to enter new markets around the world. The internet and social media platforms are generating more opportunities for brands to attract and engage with users on a global scale. However, this creates extreme competition, and PPC is a great way to ensure your brand is noticed by the right people at the right time.

Alongside PPC, the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also allowing companies to leverage technology so they can better engage with customers and gain a competitive advantage. With technology advancing by the second, brands can respond and stay on top of new PPC trends – and those that don’t risking falling behind. It’s all about making informed decisions to drive a return on investment, which is where innovative thinking and technical expertise comes in.

So, why do brands and marketers need to adapt to the latest PPC trends to improve their media strategies? Building a customer base and driving results and revenue are a given, but what are other PPC advancements that are essential in today’s digital economy?

Evaluating how we use data

Complex and sometimes indecipherable data will remain a challenge for many brands. Marketers need to review the analytics they are using to make the best of the data they have. With so many online sources for brands to track, obstacles and limitations will occur, meaning that end-users need to be flexible. Platforms like Google Ads limit access to search query data and tracking cookies could well be eliminated, so digital marketers must adapt, if they haven’t already, in a big way as we head into 2022.

2020 changed how marketers look at data and online technology, meaning we now have newfound expectations for the tools and services we choose to use. Brands have seen new demands from their customers – including more behind the scenes access to how data is being used. This last year has seen some of the biggest challenges for advertisers using Google Ads, as their push towards Smart Campaigns has resulted in less transparency and limited the data that’s available to make decisions for accounts. With reliance on AI and machine learning growing in to 2022, expect Google to continue hiding data so that advertisers rely more on these technologies than their own expertise.

This trend is not one-size-fits-all, however. While it may help the larger advertiser with bigger budgets and more available data, smaller advertisers with less budget can struggle to gather enough data points for smart bidding strategies to work as effectively. 

To succeed in this environment, marketers need to overcome the imperfect data. Instead of focusing on the loss, see what’s working best with the information you do have. Reviewing patterns of search queries rather than individual search terms is a good way to approach this, whilst also learning to achieve more with less.

Mobile experience is important

If brands want to be successful, then one of the first places to start is by creating an accessible website. While this may seem obvious, there are still so many brands that don’t have a website that offers its customers a good mobile experience. And with 57% of internet users revealing that they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website, a mobile-friendly online presence is a must for any business.

Therefore, brands must test and review the mobile experience through the eyes of their customers. Especially with so many people now preferring to use their mobile devices over desktops. 56% of users choose their phones over computers when accessing websites in 2021 – up from just 6% in 2011. 

Test new platforms to understand the customer journey

One of the most recommended PPC practices to implement is not being afraid to think outside the box. Testing new paid platforms, advertising through social media, and using the likes of Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn will help achieve the best results. However, it is still important for marketers to take the time to test the features available to see what the benefits of each are for their campaigns.

When researching the tools available, it’s important to remember the audience that you’re looking to target. Advertisers that align their PPC marketing efforts with the journey of the end-user will be the ones who come out on top. This can be achieved by thinking about what the customer is searching for, where they interact, and how long the buying process takes.

PPC advertising will continue to be an integral element of any digital marketing strategy, and though the landscape is changing, its budget-friendly nature and highly targeted way of working means PPC advertising is here to stay.

The availability of data will, as discussed, continue to change and will therefore alter the way marketers and brands approach their advertising. However, the increasing influence of AI and machine learning is already being seen. As expected, the advances in technology will be what sets the tone for PPC advertising in 2022 and beyond; but by keeping on top of the latest trends and adapting to the changes, PPC marketing will continue to increase reach and drive traffic to websites.