Digital marketing is not a passing fad; it is here for the long term.
In fact, search marketing, particularly Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, has become an integral part of most modern business strategies with the shift to digital channels accelerating over the past two decades, with no signs of slowing down.
As digital marketers, we have been encouraged to embrace the likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation in our paid search efforts, whilst adapting to other emerging tools and platforms, which are being added to the marketing mix.
Digital marketing is a dynamic and continually evolving field with Search Seven providing a synopsis on the latest PPC marketing developments and forecasts for the future.
Top 7 Google Paid Search Updates
2023 saw a handful of Google Ads updates rolled out to redefine PPC campaigns and pave the way for more data-driven results.
On May 1, 2023, Google Ads made a significant change to audience targeting by discontinuing their Similar Audience feature. This meant that any campaigns using similar audiences had until August 1 to take advantage of this functionality before it was permanently removed from all ad groups and campaigns.
Performance Max is an automated campaign type that combines all assets for advertising across YouTube, Display, Search, Shopping, Discovery, Gmail, and Maps. Google Marketing Live 2023 focused on leveraging AI to enhance Performance Max campaigns using AI-driven campaign set-up or asset creation.
Google has developed a new way to search powered by the latest advancements in generative AI, enabling users to understand a topic faster, discover fresh perspectives and insights, and streamline the process of getting things done. In May, Google opened early access to its SGE through its Search Labs.
Google unveiled a user-friendly conversational interface within Google Ads engineered to analyse landing pages and ads to improve ad relevancy, condensing content to generate relevant keywords, headlines, descriptions, images, and other Automatically Created Assets (ACA) to better match user search queries.
In a bid to direct advertisers to more automated strategies, Google introduced a combination of Smart Bidding campaigns using Broad Match to help gather data faster. This strategy takes into consideration hundreds of signals, enabling Google to assess queries on an individual basis and adjust bids accordingly.
In June 2023, Google introduced Demand Gen; a new AI-powered campaign type designed to convert customers with immersive, relevant and visual creatives across YouTube (including Shorts), Discover, and Gmail. From October 2023, all Discovery Ads will be eligible to upgrade to Demand Gen.
July 2023 saw the sunset of Universal Analytics in favour of Google Analytics 4; a new property type capable of gathering data from both websites and apps. GA4 relies on event-based data, supports cookieless measurement, predictive capabilities, and direct integrations with media platforms.
Other Significant Changes
- Google’s AI-driven video campaigns boost creative performance across a combination of YouTube’s in-stream, in-feed, and shorts, as well as via connected TV, desktop, and mobile devices.
- Google revised its Performance Max Best Practices Guide, providing tactics for marketers to enhance ad campaign efficiency, with fresh reporting attributes to support more data-informed decisions.
- Google Ads launched two new features to provide advertisers with more control, including brand restrictions for broad-match keywords in Search, and brand exclusions within Performance Max.
- In July 2023, Google removed its Google Ads attribution models in favour of its AI-based data-driven attribution model, discontinuing first-click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models.
Looking Ahead To 2024
As technology continues to advance – with significant shifts in consumer behaviour – Google PPC advertising is preparing to undergo further evolution, with some fundamental updates already in progress.
- In case you haven’t noticed, Google Ads has started rolling out its new look, which is set to become the default in 2024. The new format features a menu positioned on the left-hand side of the screen, with pages organised to make navigation easier for both new and experienced advertisers.
- Google is also urging advertisers to upgrade to the new Search Ads 360 by 2024 before the April shutdown of the previous version. Enhancements to Search Ads 360 include improved cross-channel support and upgraded reporting capabilities for a more efficient and user-friendly experience.
- Marketers are gearing up for a ‘cookieless future’ as Google initiates a test to disable third-party cookies for 1% of its users, with plans to eliminate them from web browsers entirely by the end of 2024. Less evasive APIs are set to take their place as part of a more privacy-conscious approach.
The fundamentals of search marketing will remain the same, offering measurable results, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing marketing dynamics. The trajectory of Google PPC ads will continue to shape the way companies promote their products and services, with advertisers leveraging the latest features and insights in both PPC and SEO to maintain effective and targeted communication in the long term.
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