As we bring in the new year, let’s first celebrate what happened in 2015! Check out these top 5 PPC trends from 2015 below for a great recap of the year. Paid search in 2015 became an increasingly more complex environment as new features came out and the landscape became even more competitive. Let’s take a step back and see what PPC trends 2015 saw so we can better plan for 2016.
1.) The Year of Mobile
It feels like the past few years have all be called “The Year of Mobile” as the numbers of smartphone owners continues to rise. Advertisers can no longer ignore these trends, and the mobile environment has continued to expand as sites are upgrading to meet the needs of mobile users. However, 2015 proved that mobile is not only important but it is dominate. By May 2015, Google announced that more Google searches took place on mobile phones than on desktop in 10 countries including the US and Japan.
In 2015, mobile PPC became mainstream as advertisers took advantage of this upswing in mobile traffic in an ever expanding mobile environment. Continued support for mobile features were released including Google’s new mobile-first ad formats such as call only and near-by business ads. Advertisers are beginning to allocate dollars to catch the growing class of users turning to their mobile devices first for information. The consumer buying process is changing in a mobile-first environment and changing the way advertisers approach search marketing.
2.) Growth of Audience Based Targeting
While paid search was once a game of keywords, 2015 saw a continued de-emphasis on keywords. More and more search is continuing to be about context and the consumer journey and less about just keywords. As advertisers focus more on getting conversions and less on hitting the top spot, it only makes sense that platforms would adjust to placing a higher emphasis on targeting likely to convert customers. New feature releases continue to add another layer of persona targeting. Moving beyond just search intent, advertisers can now target based on how personas interacted with a website too.
Audience based targeting like remarketing campaigns proved their advantages, and 2015 saw the introduction of remarketing campaigns in Bing. Google also continued to improve remarketing features including making it easier to use Google Analytics audiences in RSLA campaigns. Google’s other big release of 2015 was their customer match feature. Advertisers can now target existing customers using their email address. Audience based targeting is creating ads better tailored to users and leading to a higher conversion value for advertisers, a win-win that’s likely to continue.
3.) Consumers Love Videos
Videos can provide another layer of depth when it comes to attracting consumers. Videos bring not only an image and a message to viewers, but a story, interaction, and emotional appeal. While online videos once appeared as poorly focused pixels or took hours to download, this is the truth no more. Consumers are watching and uploading more content easier and at a higher quality than ever before. One of the top viewed videos on YouTube in 2015 was an advertisement for a mobile app. Videos can provide the extra dimension that text ads lose out on and Google made adding video campaigns to search campaigns even easier in 2015.
TrueView campaigns, once held outside of AdWords, has now been integrated into the UI making it much easier to make videos part of any search advertisers marketing mix. Having video campaigns integrated alongside search and display allows for a better integration of strategy across all ad formats. In 2015, Google also introduced video ads for shopping campaigns for showcasing products. As consumers get better at blocking out messages, 2015 showed that adding video may be the next best thing.
4.) Expanding Channels
Text ads, remarketing, and mobile ads still remain proven PPC channels, however, as social ads, shopping, and programmatic ads continue to provide increased targeting options in combination with low CPCs, these channels became increasingly more popular. In this new era of PPC, the audience rather than the channel is important.
While trying to better target to consumers, advertisers are expanding their reach to better capture those most likely to convert. Whether it’s through Facebook’s audience targeting features, Amazon and Instagram’s growing platforms, or other new growing ad networks, Google is not always the most important player in PPC. Bing and Yahoo Gemini are only continuing to grow. 2015 saw advertisers expanding their paid search efforts across a variety of channels to best reach their target audiences.
5.) Increased Budgets
According to the 2015 edition of “The State of PPC” released by Hanapin Marketing, “Last year only 10% of the industry leaders surveyed said they planned to increase their PPC budget in 2015. However, over 70% of this year’s respondents reported increasing their budget during 2015.” With increased features, targeting options, and channels it appears advertisers are happy with the results they are getting from paid search.
While 2015 saw increases in paid search CPCs, this could be a result of the increasingly competitive environment as more advertisers enter the space or an indication of the move towards targeting to quality over quantity. 2015 saw strong growth in the PPC industry and it’s clear that paid search is becoming an increasingly more important part of the digital marketing mix.
Any important trends we missed out on? Let us know below!