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May 1, 2014

The Latest Trends in PPC Search

Online marketers are used to the insanely dynamic pace of the multitude of available channels, but few tactics change and morph faster than pay-per-click search (PPC). Every day seems to bring a new SEO sensibility or trick, and since paid search has the highest stakes (because costs can be significant), the stress of getting things right here is massive.

If you’re looking to be on the cutting edge of PPC trends, look no further. The following techniques, no matter how new they may be, are proven avenues to boosted revenues and overall paid search success. Adopt one or more into your next campaign, and you’re likely to see real results.

Social is King

There was a time when social spaces were shunned by marketers, frustrated by the lack of metrics and bona fide tracking. Not true anymore. Social media campaigns that support PPC efforts can now be accurately monitored to showcase successes and failures, and few things have the power to quickly manifest results as social media.

Social ROI is now the real deal, and as such, you’d be wise to weave these tactics into your PPC campaigns. Sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter can work to massively promote and expand the power of your paid search efforts. The usage of promoted tweets, promoted pins, and page post ads are very powerful tools for PPC management.

Can’t afford to cross-promote? If you need to choose just one social network, do so with thoughtful consideration of your industry. In other words, which tool or site is most popular with your demographic? E-commerce, as an example, is wildly popular on Pinterest. Facebook is the most common go-to, but can in turn be the most competitive. Simply consider where the lion’s share of your audience is, and let that be your foundation for social media PPC promotion.

Pay Attention to the Small Screens

You already know that mobile domination has taken over the landscape, but how mobile are your PPC campaigns? In order to truly be successful these days, your site and landing pages need to be responsive (meaning they morph to fit the dimensions of any screen), so that any PPC traction via mobile equates to a positive user experience.

There are still serious challenges for marketers in mobile for sure. Paid search experts still struggle to accurately track conversions to small screen clicks, as cookies aren’t passed across different devices. Therefore it’s tough to assign revenue to mobile social signals, as we often lack a big picture view. This year, however, it’s likely this will dramatically improve, as efforts to address these challenges are definitely ongoing.

The bottom line is this: if you’re not going mobile with your PPC strategies, you’re missing a large and ever-growing segment of your audience. Make sure to incorporate tactics like mobile-optimized landing pages, keywords selected specifically for mobile users (remember less is more here), as well as combining offline data with mobile clicks. By having the foresight to start mastering the small screen space, you’re absolutely on the edge of online growth. There’s nothing better for your paid search campaigns.

Flexibility Abounds

PPC bidding platforms have become increasingly more flexible and feature-rich in recent months too. Changes in Adwords and Bing Ads have empowered marketers in much more meaningful ways, most especially allowing a lot more flexible PPC bidding options.

For example, we can now choose a “bid strategy” or modify an existing bid based on a percentage. If you’re a fan of fine-tuning and dynamic campaign choices, this is fabulous news indeed.

Facebook even jumped into the flexible scene a handful of months ago by letting advertisers select from various types of goals. Across the board, we’re seeing a lot more granular bidding options. And while flexibility is indeed a gift, be wary of diving into using these choices too quickly, until you really can measure the impact on your campaigns. Many bid settings only serve to over-complicate your efforts, and can therefore be counterproductive.

Revolutionary Ways to Consider Keywords

As paid search has evolved, so too has the process of understanding keywords. Marketers are now much more focused on user intent as they select PPC keywords, and the results can be epic.

As an example, consider these keyword phrases: “New York City shopping” and “Rochester shopping”. They sound similar in theory. But, we can accurately assume the New York shopper is likely in a different demographic than the one in Rochester, and therefore imply higher revenue potentials. This higher-end searcher also can be assumed to bring a higher lifetime value, and is therefore more appealing.

As we unravel the bigger story about search intent, our focus can narrow more on the customer that will actually boost our revenues. Demographic information can now attribute more value to keywords, allowing us to target our exact revenue risers. This is revolutionary to marketers, as PPC allows us to stop paying high costs to market to the wrong audience.

Thanks to improved metrics, more targeted search tools, and the overall evolution of PPC, paid search continues to be a world where magic can be created. By staying on top of tools and trends, and continuing the quest to know all you can about your audience, PPC allows marketers to manifest untold successes.

What other PPC trends have you noticed so far in 2014?


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile