Top 10 Paid Search (PPC) Trends To Watch In 2020

Last year paid search marketing experts predicted that audiences and automation are the only trends that will dominate but the future holds more for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

  • 49 percent of people said they click on text ads; 31 percent on Shopping ads; and 16 percent on video ads. (Search Engine Land, 2019)
  • 63 percent of people said they’d click on a Google ad. (Search Engine Land, 2019)
  • PPC visitors are 50 percent more likely to purchase something than organic visitors. (Unbounce)
  • 65 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn paid ads. (HubSpot)
  • One company increased their PPC ROI by 2.5 times with Facebook remarketing. (AdRoll)
  • Search ads can increase brand awareness by 80 percent. (Google)

Here are some of the important PPC trends to watch in 2020.

1. Less Control: Automation, AI & Machine Learning


The biggest PPC trend which is on the mind of almost every PPC marketer and which will continue becoming more and more popular in 2020 is automation. Effective usage of tools/features such as automation and machine learning will be the key to paid search pros.

It will simultaneously help to retain value by doing things the machines cannot do as machines and artificial intelligence can work and do routine tasks faster than humans.

PPC manager will still have a role and the robots won’t be able to speak to the other humans properly without any external human help but whatever can be made into a math problem is now the domain of the machine.

2. Blurred Lines: PPC & The Bigger Marketing Picture

It is important to identify and appeal to your target audience throughout various channels and platforms and form cross-channel plans so that your campaigns run all play properly.

Channel integration and diversification will be a big thing in 2020. Search, social, ecommerce will all be blurring together. Look to new channels in 2020 to ensure you don’t miss out on new business.

Marketers and businesses need to understand the place of PPC in your overall marketing strategy.

3. More & Better Audience Targeting

Smart marketers and businesses need to deal with their target audiences strategically at particular touch points during their consumer journey in 2020. Your messaging and offers will be the key in 2020.

Advertisers should avoid cramming a marketing message in the face of others and worry less about the direct sale, and they should concentrate more on how their offerings can help others. You can overpay for top positions with poor offerings but it won’t work. What works is to aid customers in learning and growing.

The importance of audiences will not lessen as Google pushes for more and more audience signals, and launches Affinity Audiences for Search and Seasonal Event targeting.

4. Privacy, Tracking, First-Party Data & You

Source: Sitepronews

GDPR and similar legislation is limiting tracking capabilities and has made privacy from an absolute must for any marketer. There is a need to find new ways to track and also revisit elements of how we approach campaigns in a world that’s increasingly data and privacy-conscious.

Marketers should restrain straying down the path of trying for 100% perfect attribution until platforms find ways to adapt. The approach in 2020 will be leveraging all the data without exploiting the people behind the data.

5. PPC Strategy Becomes More Valuable

Some of the more tedious tasks will be eliminated with the help of automation but the need for PPC marketers who can think strategically will increase. The key in 2020 is going to be the focus on helping clients set strategy, understanding the audience and finding ways to solve their problems.

Look at the bigger picture by trying to understand consumer wants and needs, figuring out the way to target beyond the “local maximum,” and making strategic decisions for clients. Understand emerging trends in ecommerce. Marketing leaders who drive strategy and leverage automation to fulfill their growth goals will see even more success in 2020.

6. Going Beyond Google & Facebook: Alternative Platforms to Watch

Source: Picfair

In 2020, brands will need to go where their customers are and they are on platforms like Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok. People spent more time on such platforms which is why the revenue at those companies is growing.

You don’t need to be on every ad platform but you should have an idea of where your customers spend their time online. It will be important to manage budget and keep a fluid allocation depending on performance across platforms.

7. A Focus On Brand Affinity, Awareness & Safety

PPC marketers need to move beyond brand awareness, aim for brand affinity and take branding to the next level in 2020. Only making potential customers familiar with the brand is not going to work but marketers need to influence how potential customers feel about it and respond to it.

Advertisers need to keep ad placements operating on automation. The key in 2020 will be brand preference and building relationships.

8. More SERP Competition + Search Stagnation = Rising CPCs

The biggest trend that demands attention is the lack of search query growth in recent years. 2020 will see this come to a head because the platforms do not have additional SERP space to monetize.

It might not be a fun trend but it is a realistic one, therefore you should adjust your 2020 budgets and expectations to suit. It is expected that the SERPs will continue to get more competitive and the CPCs will continue to rise till a saturation point is reached.

9. CRO Is a Must Do

Source: Flsouthern

It will become a must to invest in conversion rate optimization in 2020. You can develop display and social and other channels but the sales will increase due to robust conversion rate optimization programs. It is essential to optimize beyond clicks.

10. The Year of the Technical PPC Marketer

Marketers are going to become more technical and things such as wider adoption and reliance on CRM data in conjunction with their advertising efforts will increase. Gaining technical expertise will allow manage, optimize, and analyze digital advertising campaigns at scale efficiently.

These skills are a must if you want to take advantage of tools like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising Scripts or feed-based features like Shopping, Ad Customizers, etc.

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