The Evolving Landscape of Search Engine Marketing

Heraclitus of Ephesus once said; "There is nothing permanent except change". As goes for Ancient Greek philosophers, so too does Google Ads and the world of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).   

SEM has undergone many changes in its short lifespan, with the first well-documented search engine ‘Archie’ hitting the scene in 1990. Then in 1996, the first pay-per-click ads called ‘preferred listings’ came on Canadian based search engine, OpenText. Two years later, GoTo launched the first auction-based ad placement system, followed by the launch of Google Adwords in 2000 and Google Display Network (GDN) in 2005. By 2011, users were able to harness Google’s web-crawling ability to create Dynamic Search Ads and by 2018 Google introduced Responsive Search Ads.  

Since then, we’ve seen Shopping, Video, Discovery, Smart and App campaigns introduced over the years. So what’s next for SEM, and how can marketers like you prepare? 

Voice Search in PPC Campaigns 

Google has predicted that about 50% of shoppers will begin using voice shopping by the close of 2022. While this doesn’t represent 50% of all shopping searches on Google, it’s a trend to be aware of and plan for.  

It’s important to note that while available on most devices, the vast majority of voice searches will be conducted on mobile. The search queries will be long form, natural and question based more often than not.  

What changes should you make to your campaigns? Avoid choosing keywords such a [sports store] and try longer phrase match keywords such as “which sports stores are open today near me?”. 

Bid Smarter, Not Harder  

One of the trends to look out for in 2022 is the growing adoption of smart bidding in Google Ads campaigns, while cutting down on the reliance on the gamble that sometimes is manual bidding.  

Smart bidding utilises machine learning to more efficiently optimise ads and improve conversion rates by providing actionable insights derived from user behaviour and trends. While this kind of automation isn’t new, the shift to these bidding strategies will help your campaigns attribute more time to best performing keywords and help determine the best Call To Action (CTA). 

Smart bidding strategies aren’t a one-size fits all solution. What’s best for one business or campaign isn’t necessarily the best for another.  

If you’re not sure how to implement the best strategy, we always recommend seeking expert advice to help you bid smarter.  


The Age of Responsive Search Ads 

Expanded Text Ads are being phased and replaced by Responsive Search Ads (RSA) in early June 2022. This change has been preceded by declining ETA impressions share, and as we get closer to June 2022 this drop is expected to continue.  

In preparations for this change, businesses like yours need to begin activating Responsive Search Ads.   

We’ve helped a number of our clients shift to RSA ads over the past few months and have already seen the positive impact of these changes, with one of our clients seeing a 4% better Click Through Rate and 124% better Conversion Rates compared with their ETA counterparts.  

You can easily prepare for this change by setting up at least one responsive search ad in every ad group of your account. This is a small step you can make now that will help you better prepare for when ETA ads officially sunset in a few months’ time.  

Enhancements to Search Ads 360 

Remember yourself as a teenager? Well, when Search Ads 360 launched, their user interface for Search Ads was a little like that; awkward, clunky and a little bewildering. That’s why Google refreshed its interface to closely resemble Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.  
The new Search Ads 360 platform is also able to offer better support across multiple advertising channels and search engines, including third-party partners such as Microsoft Ads features like customer match audiences and local inventory ads. 

With Search Ads 360, you can save time by combining managements across multiple platforms such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads and Baidu into a single platform, allowing for cross-channel bidding, reporting and attribution. This is a great option if your business is wanting to scale up cross channel SEM activity.  

Summary 

The world of search engine marketing moves fast. It’s essential that your business keeps on top of the ever-evolving trends and updates to deliver targeted campaigns that convert.  

To learn more about improving your business’ SEM strategy, or if you’d like assistance setting up for success this year get in touch with our expert team.