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5 PPC Campaign Trends You Can't Ignore in 2021

At the end of 2019, Google enjoyed nearly 93% of the global search engine market share. It’s no wonder why Google Ads is the most popular PPC advertising system in the world. 

More recently, in 2020, consumers made more than 160 billion searches per month on Google alone. However, with the global upheaval of 2020 and 2021, it is more dangerous than ever to leave your PPC campaigns stagnant. 

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to revisit and refresh your PPC campaigns on Google and other platforms, keeping in mind dependable best practices as well as new trends and updates for the new year. 

Re-evaluate your audience in the new year

The global Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown, and other restrictions have put more people in front of screens and devices than ever before. Due to the pandemic, different people have surfaced online for very different reasons.

Certain sectors have struggled (hospitality, tourism, events, and live entertainment), while others have blossomed (business management, non-profits, medicine, beauty, entertainment, etc.) These dynamics have translated directly to PPC campaigns. 

All businesses need to re-evaluate their audience to identify additional traffic opportunities. It’s not enough to just look at metrics, you need to have a renewed focus on who your customers are. It is essential to do a fresh study of your audience and their buying process, asking the following questions: 

  • What is my audience searching for?
  • What new keywords and phrases are they using? 
  • Where does my audience interact (platforms, ad formats)?
  • What new customer segments have emerged? 
  • Has their buying process changed in the past year? 

By figuring out the answers to these questions, you will be able to identify key trends. Maybe last year’s audience has changed drastically and you’re attracting a new type of customer. Perhaps there is a new combination of keywords that is performing especially well. In combination with the demographic information that you collect and your ideal customer profile, you can develop a re-oriented PPC strategy that better targets this year’s valuable customers. 

And don’t forget about best practices for reaching and engaging your audience: extensively curated keywords lists; high-quality ads and landing pages with clear, targeted messaging; and adding a personalized touch to the experience to make users feel unique. 

Let automation do the optimization for you

Automation means allowing search engine algorithms to achieve the best results for your PPC campaigns. Of course, this must first be configured by your team around historical data, campaign goals, etc.) You may already be using automation in some form for your Google campaigns, but do you know all the possibilities? 

  • Build optimum account structures using the Hagakure method
  • Calculate the best bidding strategy for different goals.  
  • Stop low-performing ads and prioritize the ones generating the best results.
  • Create performance reports automatically and detect performance issues. 
  • Use rules or scripts to save you time on your ad optimization and reporting.
  • Predict the click-through-rate (CTR) of future ads, the possibility of a customer conversion, and impact on Quality Score. 
  • Create dynamic ads based on website content and user’s attitude and actions.
  • Optimize ad testing and ad rotation. 

Smart Bidding, Responsive Search Ads and the use of Hagakure are set to be some of the biggest PPC trends for 2021

Responsive search ads provide Google with variants of headlines and descriptions and their algorithm will rotate to achieve best performance. Smart bidding sets your campaigns to automatically optimize for your overall campaign goal in the ad action, from Target CPA, to Target ROAS, maximized conversions, and enhanced CPC. Recent updates to smart bidding include: setting conversion goals at the campaign and account level, seasonality adjustments for ad-hoc events, and new value rules. As a matter of fact, the Hagakure method actually uses smart bidding and another automated tool, Dynamic Search Ads (DSA), to simplify the structure of your account. It allows Google Ads algorithms to reach their full potential to optimize even the most complex accounts. 

Don’t forget, this year and the years to come, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will have a big hand in automation capabilities. 

Use video advertising even more than before 

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine? Given this fact, it’s not surprising that by 2022, 82% of all Internet traffic will come from videos. 

Although many businesses already use PPC video ads, now more than ever it’s time to adapt your ads to Google video ads, YouTube ads, Facebook and Instagram Stories, and TikTok video ads (as you know, video is highly prominent on social media). Trends to watch out for this year include linking to products in video ads and incorporating virtual reality into the video viewing experience. 

For Google video campaigns, you’ll reach a targeted and captive audience as they consume videos on YouTube and other video partners sites. Ads can be shown before, during, and after videos and include these 6 different formats

  • Skippable in-stream ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads
  • Video discovery ads
  • 6-second bumper ads
  • Outstream ads
  • Masthead ads

Display ads are generally more appealing than text ads, and thus attract more impressions, clicks, and engagement. What’s more, people remember up to 95% of a message from a video (as opposed to text). If that can’t convince you to invest more in video ads, what will? 

Hop on the Voice Search bandwagon  

Voice search is the latest trend that forward-thinking businesses are experimenting with. It was estimated that by 2020, voice search would account for half of searches, and by 2022, 50% of consumers will use voice shopping. 

Siri, Google, Cortana, and Alexa are just a few of the voice tools on the market today. Google is the default search engine for Google and Apple products, Bing being the default search engine for Alexa.

Voice search is more informal and conversational that written search terms. Best practices for developing new keywords and phrases for voice include:

  • Revise the terms that people are already using to find your ads in the Search Terms Report. See which might work for voice search. 
  • Stick with long-tail keywords and not single words
  • Question-based phrases are the most common: who, what, when, where, why, and how
  • Add or remove negative keywords

Mobile is closely linked to voice search, so mobile optimization of everything from ads to landing pages is important. A new tactic to try out is using call extensions so searchers can call your business directly via voice search. 

Explore other PPC platforms

It’s great to rely on your trusty Google Ads campaigns, but there are a lot of other platforms where you can do paid advertising. In times of uncertainty, it’s a good idea to diversify your ad spend and media distribution, cutting out poor-performing campaigns on traditional platforms to free up resources for new ventures. 

First of all, you should explore other search engines like Microsoft and Bing (as mentioned above, Bing is used with Alexa voice search). 

Test and analyze PPC on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. These might be more costly than Google PPC campaigns, but depending on your audience makeup, you may need to prioritize advertising on these networks to reach your target audience.   

Additionally, online users are spending more time than ever on niche platforms

  • TikTok: The fastest-rising social network launched a beta version of its Paid Social Ads in 2019. Short video ads are the most popular format, where you can target younger audiences with unique, creative campaigns. 
  • Quora: Quora is a question-and-answer website with a strong global community. People ask questions, and other Internet users respond, with answers being up- or down-voted. PPC advertisers can target content or users based on their behavior and activity. 
  • LinkedIn: 630+ million professionals and B2B companies are present on LinkedIn. You can target by job title, company, industry, seniority.  
  • Amazon: Browsing and shopping on Amazon has become synonymous with the pandemic. For e-commerce retailers, advertising on Amazon (to its 197 million monthly users) is a must. 

Maybe you’re already following  some of these 2021 PPC trends, but  the remaining ones are bound to be new ideas you can explore. What’s clear is that the Covid-19 pandemic has flipped the world on its head and advertisers can’t do business as usual if they want to effectively reach potential customers this year and beyond. 

If you feel like trying new ways to take your ad campaigns to next level in 2021, don't hesitate to reach out to us

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