2013 was a very dynamic year in terms of Paid Search on the Google AdWords platform. We saw many betas released by Google, some ad extensions disappear and how could anyone in the paid search world forget the mandatory switch to enhanced campaigns?
What will 2014 bring for paid search advertisers? Here is a short list of my predictions as to what changes we could see to the paid search world. Will we see an increase in paid search costs? Will instore sales be linkable to online click data? Or will in-store shopping be elevated to a new, unimagined experience? Read on and decide for yourself!
Here are my paid-search predictions for 2014:
Paid Search Offline Leads Tracking
One of the advantages to SEM vs traditional print methods is the large amount of information that can be derived from online visitor data and how easy it is to calculate ROI for online marketing campaigns.
In 2014, we might see the first bridges built, linking online visitor data to offline sales. Click data will be passed through from your website to your in-store customer database and once an in-store sale is complete, an ‘offline’ conversion will be credited.
The ability to measure how your online efforts contribute to offline leads is uncharted territory, but taking conversion tracking to this next level is certain to happen soon.
Increase in Average CPC due change in SEO
Search Engine Optimization is becoming more of a challenge as search engines leverage new insights from social data. Social triggers will change SERPs daily and traditional SEO methods will become less-fruitful than ever.
It is becoming much more difficult to ‘game’ the system and for this reason, many online marketers will opt for PPC over expensive, slow-moving SEO methods. This surge in Paid Search will result in higher Avg CPCs as more advertisers clamor for limited paid SERP real estate.
Public Release of AdWords Image Extensions
Image Extensions are ad extensions that will display 3 images above your ad when you are garners the top spot on a SERP. Still in beta, they are proving to be a highly effective way of increasing CTR, but are not yet available to everyone.
These new type of ad extensions should launch publically sometime in 2014 and promise to be a PPC game-changer for advertisers. For the first time ever, it will pay to be #1 in paid search results. Up to now, having your ad show in the top 3 spots has yielded similar CTR’s but with ad extensions, #1 ads will have a visible advantage over the competition, literally!
iBeacons to Augment Shopping Experience
One of less-advertised features of the latest iphones are iBeacons. These tiny beacons can be placed anywhere and used to triangulate devices’ (iphone) locations with incredible accuracy.
Places of business have already begun installing these throughout their stores, restaurants and hotels to offer their customers augmented experiences with highly-contextual information based on their specific locations within. This lends itself to some amazing marketing strategies that could be leveraged once the infrastructure evolves.
Imagine you try on a piece of clothing in a store, but then decide that you don’t want it and return it to the rack. As you approach the store exit, your phone beeps with an offer that if you come back and buy the article, the store will give you a 10% credit! This is just like PPC remarketing using real-life behaviour, all made possible through iBeacons!
Look for iBeacons to be a buzzword in the new year and an everlasting part of our digital world.
No matter what the new year brings, there is no denying that these are exciting times we’re living in. As technology opens up doors to greater possibilities, how fast will all or any of these predictions come true? Nobody knows exactly what the future holds but there are technologies that exist now that make some of my loftier predictions very plausible.
Regardless of what the new year brings, I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2014! Thanks for reading and please leave your comments & well wished below!