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PPC 2017 Predictions

It’s coming up to the end of the year now, so it’s time for us to make some PPC predictions for 2017, just like last year. But what will the New Year bring? Hopefully, it’s more enjoyable changes – like expanded ads and not another repeat of 2015…

But what will 2017 bring? Find out what we think will happen below.

#1 Voice activated assistants and PPC

For us, the biggest overall digital trend we’ve noticed this year is the rise of connected home products. Amazon Echo, Google Home and the newly launched Microsoft HomeHub all point towards the fact that the tech giants are looking to dominate the connected home market.

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But what does this mean for search? Well, the rise of connected home products leads well into voice search. As an industry, we’ve seen a rise in voice search over the past few years. As connected home products increase, this will cause voice search to increase exponentially.

As voice search rises, what does this mean for PPC? We’ll definitely start to see more bidding on question-based queries. When we speak naturally, most queries are – by their very nature – question based. So they start with question-based words, e.g. what, who, how, where, when.

So, if a query is relevant to our clients, why would we not bid on it? While this tech is still a little way off, we know that connected home products serve up web results for queries, so what is to stop the tech giants from adding paid-for slots on these connected home products?

This is something we expect to come up during 2017, as more and more people get connected home products and search providers realise there is money to made here – if they haven’t realised already.

#2 Enhanced omnichannel measurement and reporting

This is actually something that we touched upon in last year’s predictions, but a trend that we have seen to continue to rise this year too.

We know that customer journeys involve multiple touchpoints. In fact, brands with multiple digital touchpoints are actually more likely to be selected by consumers, according to data from McKinsey.

customer-touchpoints-mckinsey

But if you have multiple touchpoints, it’s incredibly important to correctly track the conversions across these touchpoints. We see challenges in measuring our AdWords campaigns across our clients not only across devices but also in the case where our clients have offline or call conversions.

customer-touchpoints

Thanks to advancements in cross-channel reporting, we’ve seen that attribution is continuing to get easier and more accurate across devices, as is cross-device measurement and optimisation.

However, I think that there is still room for improvement here. Therefore, we will continue to see advances in this area throughout 2017.

#3 Bing will exceed 33% market share

We’ve seen Microsoft seriously up their game this year. Not only did they launch the HomeHub, but other products that came out of Build2016 were also very well received.

However, one thing that Microsoft are really ramping up is Bing. Yes, the search engine that nobody cares about will be the third biggest search engine by market share by the end of 2017. Bing’s market share has been steadily increasing over the past two years, so it’s not unreasonable that we should expect to see this growth continue.

bing-market-share

Microsoft have been pushing Bing through other avenues, such as Windows 10 (which drives 40% of Bing clicks and searches) as well as other additional search partners (like Siri for example), causing this increase in market share.

From a PPC POV, Bing is really delivering for us as a department. With CPC’s that are 23% cheaper than Google, and with Bing customers spending on average 44% more, it’s definitely one for all agencies to watch. We’ve already seen Bing catch up with Google on Shopping campaigns, so if they continue to do this across all campaigns then we’ll definitely see Bing nipping at Google’s heels somewhat.

#4 More visualisation in PPC ads

This year we saw a couple of huge shake-ups to PPC ads. There was the total removal of the right-hand side ads, as well as the changes to expanded text ads – which got double the headline and more characters.

However, the change that was the most interesting to me was the implementation of local search ads appearing in Google Maps. Is this a sign that ads will soon get more visualisations? We like to think so.

We’re predicting that we will start to see more visualisations in ads, creating more engaging and visual ads. However, on the down side is that this will probably affect organic rankings – although this may not necessarily be the case. After the change in right-hand side ads, everyone predicted the worst would happen and organic would suffer, but we haven’t seen any evidence of this across our clients. Therefore, this might not be the case if PPC ads become more visual, pushing organic down further.

Still, any changes like this are probably a long way off.

So that’s it for my PPC predictions for 2017. What do you think? Did we make the right call? Sound off in the comments below, or let us know @HarvestDigital.

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