For PPC adver­tis­ers, 2020 is going to be a piv­otal year. Tech­nol­o­gy will be dri­ving all the key PPC trends at the start of the decade and adver­tis­ers are going to react to this in one of two ways.

Some are going to sit back and wait for the tech­nol­o­gy to progress. Oth­ers will take the tech avail­able to them right now, grab it by the horns and use it to dri­ve inno­va­tion on their own terms. These are the adver­tis­ers who will be set­ting PPC trends in 2020 and beyond, while the rest play catch-up.

Here’s what mat­ters most for the year ahead:

Taking control of PPC automation

Mar­ket­ing automa­tion has pro­gressed a lot in recent years and we can now rely on soft­ware to han­dle a wide range of repet­i­tive tasks. This isn’t spe­cif­ic to PPC but paid adver­tis­ing arguably has the most to gain from automa­tion due to the time-con­sum­ing nature of man­ag­ing and opti­mis­ing cam­paigns.

Google Ads has intro­duced a string of auto­mat­ed fea­tures recent­ly, includ­ing smart cam­paigns, smart shop­ping cam­paigns, Dynam­ic Search Ads and a grow­ing list of auto­mat­ed bid­ding strate­gies.

Google Ads has even been push­ing adver­tis­ers to let it man­age cam­paigns for them.

Adver­tis­ers need to decide how much they’re going to allow tech giants to auto­mate their strate­gies. Keep in mind that Google’s pri­or­i­ty is to max­imise clicks, which is at odds with the aim of most adver­tis­ers. Thank­ful­ly, you don’t need to give PPC plat­forms a free license to man­age your strat­e­gy. You can cre­ate your own auto­mat­ed work­flows to opti­mise bids, bud­gets, mar­ket­ing lists and a range of oth­er key PPC per­for­mance tasks.

PPC automa­tion doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean sur­ren­der­ing con­trol; 2020 is the year adver­tis­ers can take it back.

Artificial intelligence & machine learning become accessible

For the aver­age busi­ness or adver­tis­er, match­ing Google’s data-dri­ven abil­i­ty to auto­mate might sound crazy. And, until recent­ly, it would have been. How­ev­er, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and machine learn­ing are now acces­si­ble to every­one, which means adver­tis­ers can build their own algo­rithms to auto­mate high­ly spe­cif­ic tasks on their own terms.

Instead of rely­ing on gener­ic automa­tions, built for the mass­es by the likes of Google, it’s nev­er been eas­i­er to address the spe­cif­ic needs of your own adver­tis­ing goals.

Are your sales affect­ed by weath­er pat­terns? Then, you can auto­mate bids to match the weath­er con­di­tions in each of your tar­get loca­tions, all in real-time. Are your remar­ket­ing cam­paigns fail­ing to engage with B2B leads over week­ends when their mind isn’t on work? Then, auto­mate a delay on remar­ket­ing cam­paigns trig­gered by site vis­its on Fri­days and pub­lic hol­i­days.

Rising CPCs in Google Ads

The unwel­come PPC trend for 2020 will be ris­ing CPCs and this will be most evi­dent on Google Search. With the SERPs becom­ing increas­ing­ly com­pet­i­tive and organ­ic results falling fur­ther down the page, brands with big bud­gets will sim­ply increase ad spend and this dri­ves up the cost for every­one.

Hel­lo, high­er CPCs.

More bud­get-con­scious adver­tis­ers will need to spot new oppor­tu­ni­ties out­side of sim­ply increas­ing ad spend. This may involve analysing SERPs in real-time to find missed organ­ic spaces, plough­ing through cam­paign data to lost leads or using third-par­ty data and AI to cre­ate pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics mod­els that can deliv­er more rel­e­vant mes­sages.

Either way, the answer is going to lie in data sci­ence and tech­nolo­gies like AI and machine learn­ing.

Rising CPCs in Google Ads

Rethinking your PPC platforms of choice

Mov­ing away from the algo­rith­mic side of tech­nol­o­gy, adver­tis­ers will also need to rethink their PPC plat­forms of choice in 2020. The obvi­ous option for retail­ers is Ama­zon Ads, which offers a pow­er­ful addi­tion (or alter­na­tive) to Google Shop­ping cam­paigns.

For local busi­ness­es, Google is also pro­vid­ing a new chan­nel aimed at small­er busi­ness­es. Waze Local allows busi­ness­es to tar­get dri­vers as they’re trav­el­ling through their imme­di­ate loca­tion — ide­al for peo­ple on the move who need to teak a break from dri­ving and make spon­ta­neous pur­chas­es on the way home.

Quo­ra Ads is mak­ing big progress in a num­ber of areas, too — espe­cial­ly in the B2B, soft­ware and con­sumer elec­tron­ics nich­es. Mean­while, the big ris­ing star of 2019 has been Chi­nese social media plat­form Tik­Tok, which has just embarked on its own adver­tis­ing adven­ture that could give the likes of Face­book and Insta­gram a lot to think about — one to watch for 2020.

Mean­while, Facebook’s reduc­tion in News Feed ads will like­ly push more con­sumer brands over to Insta­gram and B2B adver­tis­ers in search of oth­er options.

SOURCE: The Drum