If you look back over the last 18 months to 2 years, you’ll see that, bit by bit, PPC (Pay Per Click otherwise called Paid Search) has changed dramatically. The sum of the smaller changes have aggregated to result in a night and day difference in so many areas. Here are just a few:
- Google AdWords rebranded to Google Ads (accompanying a rebrand of virtually all of Google’s Marketing brands).
- Exact match has been made ever looser as a match type. Firstly, to allow “close variants”, then to match when terms are in a different order in a keyword vs the search phrase and where “function words” are ignored (like “in” or “to”), and finally to match with similar intent using AI.
- Several more audience types were introduced (custom intent, for example)
- Google Ads pushed machine-learning based auto-bidding strategies and made them query level, as opposed to keyword level. They can push ROI/ROAS, CPA or click traffic and brand awareness goals.
- Google Ads introduced conversion attribution (including cross-device).
- There are a range of new ad types available on Google Ads, some of which Bing Ads also features.
- Side ads disappeared, so the number of Page 1 slots shrank from up to 10 to just 4 at most (plus shopping ads).
This only scratches the surface in the changes that make the task of managing PPC accounts so different versus 2 or 3 years ago.
Will all of this make life easier? To some extent but it will still be possible to make very consequential mistakes without proper account management. The overall way one should manage PPC accounts, however, does need to change to compensate for how these platforms have evolved. This is true whether you’re involved in e-commerce, lead generation, brand awareness or have any other Search Engine Marketing goal.
We will be publishing a series of posts over the coming months to review what the most impactful changes to managing PPC accounts might be for advertisers, how to decide what new tactics to apply and in what context.
Stay tuned and we’ll start off soon with a post about the basic questions to ask yourself and, over the series, we’ll go deeper into each ad type, campaign type and bidding strategy options available.
For more information about Digital Advertising and ESV Digital’s SEM strategy, follow us on Twitter @ESV_Digital or on LinkedIn.