2020 PPC Trends We Didn’t Predict
Nobody could have predicted the trends we have seen for paid search and paid social this year. 2020 has fundamentally changed the way we’ve had to approach pay per click advertising (for obvious reasons). While some companies saw PPC efforts as an unnecessary marketing expense and backed off their budget, most companies saw the writing on the wall and realized an online presence is more important than ever before. When consumers went remote, they also went more digital. Here are some notable trends in PPC that we saw this year.
Longer Buying Cycles
B2B buying cycles are notoriously long to begin with, but with some industries tightening their expenses during the pandemic, every purchase is being scrutinized and researched extensively. For PPC that means adapting the advertising to speak to purchasers at every step of the journey. For example, those in the early research phase may be looking for a solution to a problem so you want to target keywords around that and offer things like blog articles to learn more. Further down in the funnel, that same customer could be researching different companies that offer the product they are looking for. In that case, you’ll want to offer customer accounts of your expertise in the form of value propositions, case studies, and customer reviews. Then finally, this customer is ready for a quote so you will want to make sure you offer that as the call-to-action and get them there quickly when they search for your product along with keywords such as quote, price, buy, and for sale. If you don’t have case studies, e-books, whitepapers, or testimonials, use this shift in buying behavior as motivation to create them. What we’re really saying here is be prepared for anything, and also make sure to be as thorough as possible with your content and keyword choices.
YouTube viewership took off while everyone was at home and some have recognized it as a permanent resource. That doesn’t just mean more eyes on YouTube videos, but also more eyes on YouTube ads. Now might be a good time to consider a YouTube ad campaign if you haven’t already. You don’t even need a high production video ad. In fact, using your home office as a backdrop could even read as more relatable to your audience still working from home, as many of us are. Briefly introduce your product or service and let them know how they can learn more. Then use Google’s audience targeting to narrow down whom you want to see your advertising. You can target people researching a particular purchase or even target people watching certain types of videos.
This effort supports the longer buying cycle we have been seeing lately that I mentioned above. If you are not running a remarketing campaign, you could be missing out on highly qualified traffic. Stay in front of people as they continue researching by offering them ads with additional value propositions and call-to-actions that they can take advantage of quickly when they are ready to take the next step. If you’re using Google Analytics, this is as simple as setting up audiences and connecting those to your Google Ads account. With those audiences, you can either create a display campaign or add them to your search campaigns with a higher bid.
If you offer products on your website, we highly recommend you at least set up a Google Merchant Center account. This account takes the product information from your site and makes it available for promotion through multiple Google tools such as Google Shopping Ads. During the pandemic, in an effort to support local businesses, Google has made it possible to display products in their shopping section for free. All you need is a merchant center account with your product information connected. Google continues to display paid shopping ads at the top of the page in a carousel and then lists the free ads by relevance underneath them.
Cross-channel marketing has always been a good strategy but 2020 has really highlighted the importance of custom, targeted efforts. Throughout the buying cycle, you can keep your brand top of mind with cross-channel marketing.
All of the efforts listed above can be used in tandem without a huge budget if they are properly targeting the correct audiences and stages of the buying cycle. Use paid search and blog posts early in the research process then shift to remarketing with display and YouTube. This is just one example of how to stitch together a paid marketing strategy that works for your business. Top Floor can help you with a personalized cross-channel marketing strategy that makes the most of your budget and delivers results. Do you have any questions? We’d love to set up a meeting to discuss how you’re preparing for 2021. Get in touch!
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