2016 Biddable Predictions
2016 is the year of…
Looking back at the year gone by, one can only be pleased to put behind us the joy that was Google’s URL upgrades, and tracking over-hauls required across our accounts (particularly when layering on all the 3rd party tracking and ad server requirements) – we’ll ignore the fact that we still have to go through this across Bing in the New Year, for now. In much more exciting news, mobile search has officially exceeded desktop, and audience based buying through search has started to become a reality, much of which we see getting real traction in 2016.
So, how will this evolve in 2016?
- Customer-centric, audience-layered search:
With a distinct shift to more sophisticated, audience layered marketing, keyword bidding and standard paid search practices are starting to fade away. Being able to change messaging, bid pricing and strategy based on people’s profiles and behaviours rather than just the keywords they’re looking for is a huge step towards being more precise and more effective in what we do. Google’s aim is to bring audience intent and behaviour closer to the centre of the offering. Not just what they’re searching for but who they are. All verticals should welcome any initiatives that make advertising more relevant and effective and, we would hope, reduce waste and intrusion.
With Google’s “Zero Moments Of Truth” or micro-moments – the natural applications being YouTube and the Google Display Network – there is the idea that we can get ahead of the user’s search intent and meet them before they have come to us. In practical terms, this means advertising to someone because we’ve learned about their needs through monitoring their online behaviours, rather than waiting for them to search for a product or service. This might be based on the websites they visit, the videos they watch or even the emails they’re sending and receiving. We’re already able to do this through programmatic channels and it represents a core part of the strategic planning for our clients. Where it gets interesting for ourselves and our clients is in the search space. We are now starting to be able to use a variety of more audience-centric tools to improve our search activity. This might include RLSA or Customer Match through Google.
In brief, RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search) allows us to build lists of users we’ve interacted with before and change our marketing practices accordingly. This might mean bidding higher or lower for someone we’ve seen that’s visited the site, depending on whether we deem them a decent prospect or someone we’d want to exclude and deter away from the site for any particular reason. Similarly, our messaging can be tailored accordingly, depending on the pages reached, and the interaction made.
In turn, Customer Match is an equally exciting opportunity. Because Google collects customer email addresses through users logged into any of the Google tools; Gmail, Drive etc., we can match those addresses against our own CRM data and directly target, exclude or change our marketing for those people. These are undoubtedly opportunities the whole industry is excited about and ones that we are layering into our clients’ overall strategy for the New Year.
- Cross-device performance attribution:
Being able to link a customer from their desktop to their tablet to their mobile closes the circle and allows us to understand a true user journey. Google and all respectable attribution solutions are working hard to close the loop. The accuracy in estimated mobile conversions has improved substantially through its multi-point algorithm, “aggregated, anonymised data” and data from users who have signed into multiple devices. With the fact that “90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal” there’s an increased importance for both search engines and attribution solution in increasing the robustness of cross-device data. Further, with the changes in the SERP’s layout, more and more space is being taken over by PPC ads on mobile devices, increasing their prominence, not to mention the rise of mobile queries to the point of now over-taking desktop, which is now no longer “the future”, but a current reality.
- For retailers, a big priority is being smarter with Shopping campaigns:
With Google Shopping growing faster than most other online channels and accounting for over 50% of paid traffic for many online retailers, it is increasingly important to find efficiency, leverage on technology, and robustly optimise these shopping feed campaigns (across both Bing and Google) in order to drive success. We partner with a number of different product feed management solutions, including Productsup, to help cater for the intricacies of feed based campaigns. As this is a platform that continues to grow, and take more space in the SERPs, particularly across mobile, this is a huge area of focus for us and our retail clients.
These are just three of the key opportunities and developments in the industry that we see gaining some noteworthy momentum in 2016. Search is no longer a discipline about keyword bidding alone, but aside from the wide array of day-to-day PPC tactics (copy, landing page, match type, bid) it’s now about knowing your audience and reaching them with the right, customised type of ad format at the right time – when all the behavioural signals are showing that they need the ad. Scary, but true.