Paid advertising has proven itself to be a particularly potent weapon in the digital marketer's arsenal. When executed correctly, the medium can drive a variety of metrics - from revenue, to web traffic, to conversion rates. However, like all things digital, things can change very quickly. In order to make sure that your pay-per-click campaigns are as effective as possible, it's important to stay on top of new and constantly changing trends that are occurring in the PPC landscape. Now that Q1 has ended, here are four changes we've observed in paid advertising.
Simplicity is the answer
It's very easy to be lured into thinking a flashy, colorful and bright banner ad will grab you all the attention that you want for your message. However, we're seeing that the overall trend of simplicity in the digital world, from tax-filing to one-click shopping, is now permeating the online ad space. Consumers are a lot less willing to click on a flashy banner ad, and will more than likely see it as a nuisance during their online experience.
Although on the whole display ads receive many more impressions than text ones, 2014 is showing that ads with simple, targeted, direct messages are actually standing out more among the sea of loud banners.
Weave in Social
The ubiquity of social media makes for a landscape that is ripe for ad messaging. Brands want to be where their customers are, and Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn serve their audiences up in easily targetable groups. Various changes in these platforms, like the introduction of the promoted tweet, or Facebook's algorithm change limiting how many of your page's posts fans see, have led to competition on multiple social media platforms for ad budgets and share of the social media pie.
If you want to stand out and be effective in this space, part of your monthly budgets need to include spend for social. Whether you are driving page likes, post engagement, or impressions, a paid placement will more quickly and efficiently increase the metrics you are looking to boost. Particularly on Facebook, relying on organic growth without the addition of a paid social media campaign isn't remotely close to as viable as it was just a few months ago.
Bing on the Upswing
The pay per click ad space has been dominated by Google for years, and while it's still the top choice, Bing is slowly making inroads into Google's PPC monopoly. The Search Agency's State of Paid Search report actually states that spend on Bing grew 60% from 2013, which eclipsed the 29% growth that Google experienced.
Bing is proving to be a more attractive option for advertisers due to significantly less competition when it comes to bids. The resulting lowered CPC frees up more money for a business' budget that can then be applied to other campaigns in order to create a more robust overall online marketing presence. Google's recent move to enhanced campaigns and consolidating of device management still has marketers scrambling to adjust and adapt. Bing's ad platform flexibility stands in stark contrast, and offers advertisers a more customizable experience.
The sudden expanse of mobile use vis-à-vis paid advertising presents marketers with an interesting problem to solve. Reports show that smartphone and tablet impressions increased by 60% and 42% respectively from 2013, but clicks and spend grew much more slowly: 30% and 26% respectively. This tells us that more and more consumers are viewing ads on their mobile devices, but advertisers just aren't spending the money to maximize the experience, and by extension, are not seeing the kinds of results the impressions would dictate they should see.
This is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since mobile is still slowly emerging as an ad platform, search engines have not yet made their ad platforms appealing enough to brands, who are in turn then hesitant to throw too much of their advertising budget behind mobile. Without money behind the campaigns, it's impossible to see mobile campaigns yielding their maximum potential.
Search engines will be spending time this year quantifying the value of mobile ads for marketers and making these devices a more alluring environment for ad spend.
Overall, the changes developing in the paid advertising world are pointing to a more social and mobile ad landscape. By staying ahead of this trend, you can ensure your brand stays at the forefront of the world of pay per click advertising, while making sure you are getting more bang for your buck.
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