We try to predict what changes will have a direct effect on your PPC marketing strategy regardless of if you sell products or services. Even though mobile was a major driving factor for PPC advertisers this year, in 2016 it is going to be an even bigger factor for businesses that have yet to gear their advertising towards mobile users. 2016 for all intents and purposes is going to be about being able to laser target prospective clients and customers. There is going to be a definite shift from targeting a list of keywords to real people.
The added benefit as we move forward is that technology is also improving. AI and machine learning will give your landing pages and ad copy an edge but only if you're able to leverage their true power. The other key to success for PPC advertisers will be their ability to comb through huge amounts of data and make sense of everything in regards to their marketing goals. Obviously understanding the consumer's journey will help to drive more revenue for businesses.
Mobile conversions will be very important
In 2016, there will be more than twice the number of people doing searches and buying items online via their smartphones and tablet PCs than they were in 2013. That's all the more reason why businesses will need to improve their focus on mobile search metrics because if your ad is clicked and it's not optimized for mobile devices, you're going to lose money to a rather kinetic visitor.
Having a responsive site is not the only thing that matters when targeting mobile users. Your landing page, images, and videos all need to be optimized for mobile devices. Mobile landing pages need to be clean and have a different call to action strategy. Plus, it could be that you don't have a landing page but rather a call center for mobile click and call customers. But regardless of what you opt for it will need to be focused on mobile users or you'll just be wasting advertising dollars.
2016 will be the year of audience targeting
Audience targeting will become more important for PPC advertisers than ever before. We have already noticed the shift from the keyword list approach to actual audiences. However, the recent introduction of the Customer Match feature by Google will completely change the way we communicate with our potential and existing customers.
The new feature for all intents and purposes will allow us to tap into what was a previously locked database of customer information to fashion bespoke campaigns.
Search campaigns will no longer by shackled by the 180-day membership stipulation which is usually for the RSLA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads ) audiences. This means that businesses with seasonal products or subscription based services will be able to accurately tailor their campaigns to every day or month of the year. Audience segmentation can be taken to unprecedented levels.
The use of artificial intelligence
In 2016, a growing number of brands will use AI and machine learning to further enhance their advertising campaigns, funnel communication and fashion landing pages. Businesses are already using services like PhaseTech which rely upon on AI to rewrite a business's product copy and Persado which uses machine learning to write ad copy, SMS, and display ads. So, brands will be able to leverage factors which were previously not possible if done manually.
Fresh, clickable and easy to read copy will be easier and cheaper to produce with AI and machine learning. Artificial Intelligence can measure factors like click rates, and conversions to quickly edit and serve ads as well as the type of ads that do well. So, that has a direct effect on a brand's ROI (return on investment).
Structured data ads will grow
We will see a growing number of businesses opting to create ads based on structured data in 2016. Already shopping ads, ones that are generated using data from a structured data feed account for 1 in every 3 clicks that retailers receive. That trend is expected to grow to as much as 2.5 clicks for every 3 clicks in 2016. It is expected that Google will also launch a new specialty ad format which complements its current advertising offering.
More video ads in 2016
Video ads are going to be the next big thing in 2016. It is an innovative ad format which is yet to be standardized or even properly implemented by giants like Google, but that should all change. The TrueView ad format by Google will be more deeply integrated into AdWords, and so we will see an increasing number of businesses opting for professionally created, short duration video ads. Though initial CPCs are going to be lower, that may change in 2017 and beyond once the ad formats become more acceptable and established.
More ads in videos
Google and Bing are expected to bring tighter integration of ads in popular videos. The ads placed within videos will be more relevant thanks to evolving artificial intelligence. The goal in 2016, for Google and other major search engines, is to make sure that audiences are shown ads based on the video content they are consuming and their previous searches. So, a person watching a 2014 Super Bowl game could be shown an ad for exercise machines instead of Barbie dolls.
Interactive advertising will be introduced in 2016
Though many people may think that it is a long short since neither Bing, Yahoo or Google have not announced interactive ad platforms but they soon will. A progression from displaying text ads to interactive flash ads has already taken place thanks to a number of websites and blogs that allow it already. Statics show that an advert that's non-intrusive but which interacts with a user is a lot more effective, owing to a higher click rate and eventual conversion when compared to static text ads.
The problem right now but something that will change is that everyone cannot create a flash based interactive ad. It requires a fair bit of knowledge and understanding of how flash works. But a number of tools which are slated to be launched in 2016, will make creating these ads using established templates a lot easier.
Pay Per Click advertising has helped hundreds of small businesses become big. It is faster than SEO, can be tailored to your specific audience and helps you micromanage your business's budget. But things are about to change in 2016, PPC is expected to become more expensive, competition will grow and so it helps to be smart and start testing the waters when it comes to newer forms of PPC. If anything, 2016 could be the best year yet for PPC advertisers and businesses alike.