In 2019, we saw some changes that were highly expected, such as changes to ad formats, automated bidding options, and even more automated recommendations.
We also saw some unexpected changes, which were welcomed by advertisers, such as campaign level conversions and new audience features.
Lastly, we had to say goodbye to some features we’ve been using for more than a decade, such as average position and phrase match that actually matched to your keywords.
As we wind up the year, it’s time to look forward to the future and see where Google Ads is going.
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B2B Marketing Receives Much Needed Targeting Improvements
For the last several months there has been a beta where advertisers can use company size and company industry as audiences. This option is wonderful for B2B advertisers. Sometime in 2020, we’ll see this option leave beta and be available for everyone.
B2B advertisers have often had issues on Google Ads when they are in an industry that has a lot of consumer searches that use the same keywords. From accounting services to safety gates to bulk ecommerce, there is more search volume from B2C searchers than B2B searchers.
It has been challenging for B2B companies to only reach B2B searchers. We should see an expansion of the detailed demographics to help B2B advertisers in 2020. Google Ads needs to compete with the market expansion of LinkedIn and FaceBook in the B2B realm, and we’ll see improvements for B2B marketers in specific features that revolve around reaching only B2B searchers.
This might be the safest prediction of all, in 2020, we’ll see more audience options and a shrinking unknown category. For the last several years, Google has expanded audience options. We’ve seen the confusing affinity and custom audience difference merge. The number of unknown demographic data continues to shrink. The number of countries that have access to demographic options continues to increase.
The GDPR variable has been accounted for in marketing. The lack of first-party cookies and the issues with Apple and Firefox withholding some data has been solved. While the privacy technology and privacy laws will continue to be refined, the hurdles of the last couple of years have now been accounted for and we’ll see even more audience options in 2020.
When a new audience option rolls out, it’s not useful for everyone, it’s generally only useful for a section of advertisers. That’s why you need to watch the audience options closely. When an audience option is rolled out that will help you improve your marketing, you need to be aware of it so you can test and implement it quickly.
More Match Type Changes
Most advertisers are unhappy with the match type changes that occurred in 2019. The removal of a true phrase match where Google only used your words, was met with mixed reviews, and we even saw companies stop using phrase match due to Google’s new matching rules making the match type decline in efficiency faster than any other match type.
Google has seen the stats and heard the complaints and we’re going to see an improvement in how exact, phrase, and modified broad work throughout the year. However, we predict Google is not going to announce these changes. They are going to adjust the algorithm on the backend to try and tweak it so performance increased, but they aren’t going to tell anyone.
You’re going to want to watch your performance of this match type throughout the year, and if you have abandoned it, give it a try on occasion to see how each match type is performing with these hidden tweaks to the algorithm.
The Automation vs Human Debate Continues to Grow
What’s smarter, a human or a machine? There’s not an answer to that question as the definition of smart is too varied. Can a computer evaluate thousands of variables faster than a human? Yes. Can a computer understand why humans take action and how to persuade them? No. Can a computer write a great ad all by itself? No. Can a human put monthly reports together faster than a machine? No.
We’ve talked extensively about How to Future Proof Your PPC Job, and this debate will continue to grow as Google introduces new smart features that are aimed at automating tasks that have good results, while an educated human with a lot of experience could attain great results.
Some parts of your job should be automated, such as reporting. Others parts of your account need to be tested over just automated. The debate will rage on, but you will have a job if you are developing the correct skills.
Microsoft Ads Continues to Innovate
For years, Microsoft’s goal was to make it easy for Google Ads advertisers to import their accounts into Microsoft Ads and, with little effort, start advertising. While Microsoft had some features not available in Google, they were often optional.
Now that LinkedIn targeting is available in Microsoft Ads, marketers must pay attention to Microsoft Ad changes.
It’s easy to get started with Microsoft Ads, and we have all the Microsoft Ads tips you need to know, but pay attention to Microsoft Ads. If you aren’t spending money there, you should as you are missing both a unique audience, but some unique features that can’t be found elsewhere.
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The Job Hiring Sign Keeps Getting Bigger
As much as there is fear about automation taking your job, the most common question we hear from companies is, “how do I hire a qualified PPC analyst”? The number of companies seeking a PPC analyst continues to grow and there is no shortage of job openings.
According to McKinley Marketing Partners’ annual report, 61% of companies report that they plan to add digital marketers to their team. The biggest barrier companies listed to hiring marketers is too few qualified candidates.
If you have an education in digital marketing, there’s a job waiting for you. Your biggest decision is if you want to work for an agency or in-house as those job functions are quite different.
As with every year, the digital marketing ecosystem will continue to go through changes. Some will come in the form of regulation from governments. Others will come from technological and creative advancements. The benefit of working in digital marketing is you never get bored. There is always a change, something new to try, and a new trend to evaluate.
By staying on top of PPC trends and ensuring you have a good PPC education, 2020 should be a wonderful year to be a digital marketer. Learn more about online training in advanced PPC marketing and even get certified.