From machine learning bid strategies to smart creative and performance video, it’s clear that 2020 will be an interesting year for the PPC space. Whether it’s making the best use of tools that have been in place for a while or testing the newest opportunities, staying abreast of what Google has to offer is essential for marketers. Here are five facts and forecasts we think all digital marketers should keep an eye on.

Machine learning bid strategies

There was a time when digital marketers would spend a large proportion of their time adjusting individual keyword bids based on a particular intent signal, such as whether to increase bids on all searches from mobile devices. Well, this is no longer the case thanks to Google’s machine learning capabilities, which will only grow in prominence in 2020. Each individual auction can now have an individual bid set by Google’s algorithms, optimised around more intent signals than could ever be accommodated manually. Whether that be to get as many goals as possible, deliver leads at a certain cost or achieve a specific return on ad spend, digital marketers are now using bid strategies to better achieve specific objectives from their paid search marketing campaigns.

Smart creative

The quality of creative is so important to a marketer’s overall strategy. Google has the answer to this with their use of smart creative across both search and display formats. Instead of rigid text ads or static image creatives, Google is now able to use its machine learning to create engaging adverts. Responsive Search Adverts utilise different combinations of headlines and description lines to find what best resonates with your audience on the Google search results page. Responsive Display Adverts on the Google Display Network also use headlines and description lines, but this time partners them with a variety of image copy options as well as video adverts uploaded to YouTube. This, harnessed alongside the aforementioned bid strategies, should lead to an uplift in performance across PPC campaigns.

Performance video

There’s no underestimating the importance of YouTube in an advertiser’s multi-channel marketing strategy. On 3rd February 2020 Google’s parent company Alphabet announced that YouTube’s ad sales in 2019 Q4 rose 31% year-on-year to over £3.6 billion (Source: BBC News). By 2021, nearly 5 million years of video will be watched online every month, so effective ad content is a must to stand out from the growing crowd. To best leverage the TrueView ad format, video adverts need to compel users to watch beyond the skippable mark of 5 seconds. By creating shorter, snappier video ads built for mobile, there is the potential for improved brand awareness for advertisers in 2020.

Discover campaigns

Customer journeys in 2020, more so than ever, are splintered across a multitude of various platforms, with nearly half of people discovering their favourite brand when searching for something else. Discovery campaigns are a new Google format that will feature prominently this year. It allows advertisers to reach new customers across Google properties with just a single image ad. These adverts can appear on the YouTube Home Feed, the Gmail promotions tab and Google’s feed experience, Discover. 800 million people use Discover every month to stay up to date on their interests and come across things they hadn’t even started looking for. Advertisers must be quick to take advantage of this fantastic new opportunity.

Smart shopping

Google’s machine learning capabilities have also stretched to Google Shopping. Using smart shopping campaigns in 2020 should be strongly considered by advertisers, with 59% of shoppers going to Google to research an in-store or online purchase. Smart shopping expands reach by automating both the bidding process and the ad placements. The campaign combines a product feed with image and text ad assets to create the most relevant adverts for a given consumer. This is then overlapped with a bidding strategy to maximise the return from every pound that is spent on Google Shopping advertising.

If you’re interested in understanding how we could help you with your digital marketing strategies across PPC get in touch with our team here.

Ewan Maynard, Senior PPC Specialist