It is that time of the year again when we look back at the events that took place this year and fasten our seat belts for the future. The year 2017 is nearing its end and we have seen many new PPC trends emerge this year. From ad updates to targeting changes, 2017 was an eventful year for PPC. Let’s recap and look at where the PPC industry is heading in the future.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

We are already seeing artificial intelligence slowly but surely taking over the world. PPC has gone under the radar of AI but not anymore. 2017 has been the year where AI and machine learning made their presence felt in PPC. Google announcement of its smart display campaigns showed how heavily Google relies on machine learning to automate every aspect of your campaign.

Google followed it up by announcing that it will start ignoring word order and function words in exact match keywords by expanding the meaning of close variants in exact match. With search engine using artificial intelligence and sophisticated machine learning algorithms already, search engines can easily decipher the contextual meaning of queries to better gauge the intent of the user. Updates to ad rank threshold clearly show that.

Audience Targeting Took Center Stage

If I say, audience tracking is the main theme around which PPC has evolved in 2017, it won’t be a wrong statement. The introduction of new features in Google AdWords such as the ability to target in-market audiences and similar audiences for both search and shopping is a testament to that. Bing is also following in the footsteps of Google and is currently testing similar features for its platform. It is a matter of time that Bing also launches similar feature for audience targeting.

Conversion Tracking Made Easy

One of the most common PPC mistakes that search advertisers make is not optimizing their ads regularly. This happens because they don’t really know what’s working and what’s not. This is where conversion tracking comes into play. The addition of maximizing conversion to automated bidding strategies along with the introduction of Google Attribution are the steps towards making conversion tracking simpler for PPC advertisers.

Now, you can also track offline conversion by importing it into Google AdWords. Previously, PPC marketers have no idea about in-store sales but this is about to change after the introduction of Google’s in-store sales tracking program. Tracking how many people visited your store and purchased your products after watching your YouTube campaign is also possible now.

New Era For Search Ads Has Begun

Do you want to launch a successful PPC campaign? Before you do, it is important that you clear your mind by answering important questions before implementing PPC campaign. More importantly, you should be aware of latest trends in search ads to stay on top of the PPC. If you have closely analyzed Google search results lately, you might have seen a green outline across the ad label in first few results of every page.

The unveiling of dynamic search ads have led to extended support for text advertisements. PPC experts can play around extra characters for descriptions. How can we forget about mobile, which accounts for more than three quarters of web traffic today? Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) have taken the mobile web industry by storm and AMP for ads have done the same for PPC industry.

PPC advertisers can direct mobile search ads to their AMP landing pages. This is great news for E-commerce stores because they can now deliver a perfect AMP experience to their mobile search audience. Google will start to display ads with phone numbers including the location extension by pulling it from advertiser’s website automatically.

Changes in Ul

The long awaited feature of tracking historical quality score data in AdWords is finally here. The new bidding interface will show bid suggestions for different page positions. With more than a million advertisers already using AdWords Next, the next big thing in the world of PPC, everyone will get access to it by the end 2017. Bing Ads has also started offering expanded device targeting capabilities. This makes setting up a mobile centric campaign a breeze for PPC advertisers.

Conclusion

PPC industry is evolving for sure and we will more new products and announcements coming our way that will change the course of PPC in future. Do not be surprised to see artificial intelligence and machine learning take over PPC. Tracking conversions will no longer be a problem, as search ads will enter a new era where SEO companies have more freedom than ever before. Which PPC trend deserves to be the PPC trend of the year 2017? Which trends will continue to dominate in 2018? What do you think will the future of PPC look like? Have your say in comments section below.

Irfan Ak is a brand strategist, digital marketing expert, and a blogger. He is a passionate digital strategist. Currently, associated with web design company. He has worked with various other brands and create value for them. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn

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