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Circus on Pay Per Click trends in 2018


Leeds-based digital agency, Circus, shares what its team believes will be the biggest trends in pay per click over the next 12 months.

1)    Increased focus on Audience

Effective audience targeting is vital for the performance of any PPC campaign.  Target the wrong demographics and your campaign may fall flat. Get it right however, and you could see significant click through rate (CTR), as well as a considerable return on investment (ROI). There’s likely to be an increased focus on audience targeting this year, and by using similar and in-market audiences, as well as retargeting based on integrated data from search, display and video, you’re more likely to serve ads which are relevant to the end user.

2)    Keywords

Keywords will always be king, but the key to a good keyword strategy, aside from that all-important keyword research, is recognising inferred intent. In simple terms, what does the user want from their search? Are they looking to buy, or are they simply at the research stage of the consumer cycle? By targeting tailored ad copy to a user’s inferred intent, you’re more likely to see a good CTR from your ads. Of course, there’s the small matter of voice search when it comes to keywords too. The keywords used with voice search are likely to be different from those from where the search is typed out on a keyboard, and so monitoring the changes in keyword data in terms of search volume will give an indication as to how much an effect voice search is having on the landscape.

3)    Shopping Ads

2017 saw new Shopping campaign formats, and it’s likely that we’ll continue to see changes to the Shopping channel as Google finds ways to make it both more profitable and increasingly end-user friendly. However, many PPC Managers have the mind-set that Shopping campaigns take care of themselves – this simply isn’t the case. It’s just as important to optimize your Shopping campaign, including your feed, as it is to optimize any other channel. Follow this advice, and you could find your Shopping campaigns outperform text ads.

4)    Automation

Automation is likely to play a key part in PPC strategies over the next year or so. Google is already turning away from Manager control, and instead implementing automated ad rotation, and even creates ads on behalf of advertisers, not to mention smart bid systems. However, the danger here is falling into the trap of letting the account run itself, which can potentially pose problems. Of course, automation has its advantages, but having a PPC Manager giving it a more human touch is much more likely to see the account run smoothly.

Automation technology is likely to advance in 2018, and Google will possibly try and take control of more elements. Having an experienced PPC professional keep a watchful eye over the account when these changes happen will make sure that they don’t harm the performance of your campaigns.

5)    Voice Search

Voice search is certainly on the rise, with 20% of mobile searches being made in this way.  As it becomes increasingly common to find smart speakers in homes, and with nearly every smartphone having a voice assistant such as Siri or Cortana, voice search is likely to rise even further.  But the question is, how will this affect PPC campaigns? Well, the behaviour from a voice search is likely to be very different to that of a typical mobile user, and so your strategy will need to change to try and capture traffic from voice search. However, what this strategy will look like is difficult to say, as we are not currently able to differentiate between voice searches and ‘standard’ searches, neither is it possible to serve ads specifically to voice searches only. Having said this, it’s only a matter of time before this becomes a possibility, and 2018 may be the year where steps are taken towards making this happen.

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