Pay-per-click (PPC) continues to rank as one of the most popular digital marketing channels among advertisers and business owners. It allows them to drive targeted traffic to their websites while paying only when someone clicks their ad. If you’re planning to promote your business using this PPC, though, you should familiarize yourself with the following trends.

#1) Voice Search

With nearly one in five consumers in the United States using voice-controlled digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant on a regular basis, many seasoned PPC advertisers are now incorporating voice search into their campaigns. While no major PPC network currently offers voice search as a targeting option, you can still reach these users by optimizing your campaigns. This means creating a separate PPC campaign specifically for voice search and filling it with long-tail keywords consisting primarily of questions.

#2) Extensions

Both Google AdWords and Bing Ads allow PPC advertisers to enhance their search ads with additional information using extensions. Search ads typically contain a title, text body and display URL. With extensions, however, you can add more information to your PPC ads. The call extension, for example, displays either your business’s phone number or a click-to-call button within your ads while the ratings extension displays customer ratings of your business. More and more PPC advertisers are taking advantage of extensions such as these. Using extensions, advertisers can make their ads stand out while reaping the benefits of increased click-through rates (CTRs) and conversions in the process.

#3) AdWords Local Pack Advertising

AdWords, Google’s PPC network, now allows advertisers to create ads that display in the local pack. If you operate a local business, you should consider using this tactic to attract customers. Normally, Search Network ads display at the top and bottom of Google’s search results. AdWords ads featuring the location extension, however, may appear as sponsored Google My Business (GMB) listings in the local pack for local searches. To create ads for Google’s local pack, use the location extension and link your AdWords campaign to your business’s GMB account.

#4) New Targeting Options

Keyword searches is just one of many ways to target users with PPC ads. Many PPC networks now allow advertisers to target users by audience behavior and demographics. In 2017, for instance, Google introduced similar audience targeting for Search Network ads. Previously available for Remarketing campaigns, it automatically creates a list of prospects based on the behavior of your business’s audience. In addition to keyword searches, Bing Ads allows advertisers to target users by geographic location, time, gender, age and device.

#5) New AdWords Interface

Google is rolling out a new interface for AdWords. First launched late 2017 in beta testing, it includes several new features and enhancements. According to Google’s support portal, the new AdWords interface allows advertisers to easily split test multiple ad variations. It also features an overview page with insights into the performance of your campaigns. These are just a few additional features included in the new AdWords interface.

To see if your AdWords account is eligible for the upgrade, log in to AdWords and click the gear icon in the upper-right corner. If it’s eligible, you’ll see the option “Try the new AdWords,” which you can click to change your account to the new interface. You can revert back to the old interface by clicking the gear icon and choosing “Return to previous AdWords.”

#6) Greater Competition

There’s stiff competition for PPC inventory. In 2016, Google removed paid ads from its right-hand sidebar. Earlier this year, Bing followed suit by removing paid ads from its sidebar as well. Both search engines began displaying additional ads at the bottom of the search results, but they still display fewer ads than before. As a result, there’s greater competition for available PPC inventory, making it difficult for inexperienced advertisers to create profitable campaigns.

There are ways to overcome the otherwise competitive landscape of PPC marketing, beginning with proper keyword research. Short-tail keywords with excessive competition usually yield a lower or negative return on investment (ROI) than long-tail keywords. By researching keyword search volume and competition, you can create profitable and effective PPC campaigns.

#7) Mobile

For more than four years, mobile internet usage has been higher than desktop usage. As this trend continues, PPC advertisers are adapting their campaigns to reach smartphone and tablet computer users. All major PPC networks — AdWords, Bing Ads and Facebook Ads — feature device targeting. Using this feature, you can target mobile users with ads. It’s important to note, however, that AdWords only supports device targeting for Display Network ads. For Search Network ads, you must use the bid adjustment to increase or lower bids for mobile users.

The face of PPC marketing is changing, and advertisers who fail to adapt will struggle to turn a profit. You can increase your chances of PPC success, however, by implementing the latest trends into your campaigns.

Senior Marketing Analyst
With over 4 years of digital marketing experience Summer has a wide aray of talents which she utilizes on a daily basis in order to help educate clients on all facets of digital marketing. In her free time Summer enjoys hiking, cooking, and surfing. At work she really enjoys annoying her boss, and her favorite season is Summer.