No, you’re not dreaming. 2018 is long gone, and we're well into 2019. And as the old adage goes, “New year...time to relearn everything you thought you knew about Google Ads and PPC.”
2018 was a huge year in the world of PPC management. There were massive changes at Google, most notably the rebranding of AdWords to Google Ads; a sleek new Google Ads interface; and the official launch of new campaign types, targeting options, tools, enhancements, and features to the platform. While Google seem to have made the most “game changing” strides, we also saw a resurgence of Bing Ads, advanced LinkedIn advertising targeting, and even witnessed the rise of Amazon. In fact, Amazon took 2018 as an opportunity to become a major competitor in the PPC space, with advertisers choosing to shift budget towards Amazon because more people have begun their search for products on Amazon over Google.
Let’s face it though; Google isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Yet, with new competition, new features, and a new year, many advertisers are left to wonder how to drive the best performance from their Google Ads campaigns in 2019. With the ever-changing technology and usability for advertisers and consumers alike, it’s easy to get left behind. We at Ernst Media, have dissected the changes and decided to outline the opportunities and best practices for driving the best results possible for your 2019 Google Ads campaigns to help keep you ahead of the game.
Let’s dig in:
Optimize For Voice Search
The landscape of keyword targeting has been slowly changing before our eyes. If you haven’t been doing your research, or literally listening, there’s a good chance you’ve missed it. While voice search has been around for a number of years, internet users are abandoning typing their search queries into Google and turning to Siri, OK Google, and other software that operates with Voice Search. As this trend becomes even more popular, it is guaranteed to significantly change keywords.
If you haven’t done so already it is highly recommended that you take a look at your campaigns to see if they are receiving voice search traffic. Filter your search queries for search terms using Siri, Alexa, or OK Google. There’s a good chance you’d be surprised by the volume of searches that have triggered your ads from Voice Search.
Even if you’re not seeing a huge volume of results right now, we have 11 more months of advancements to prepare for in the world of PPC. In this industry it’s always better to be prepared than to be left behind. Last year, Google reported that at least 20% of searches were made with voice search. With this style of search increasing at a tremendous rate, it’s in the best interest of you or your client’s business to optimize your campaigns accordingly.
Search Audience Layering
While 2019 probably won’t be the year that annoying trends such as Cardi B and Fortnite die (unfortunately), many believe that this will be the year the keyword, as we know it, dies. Until recently, the keyword was the most important level in the performance of your search campaigns. With the introduction of in-market audience targeting for search, we are likely to see the importance of the keyword become diminished for optimal performance.
Last year, Google quietly introduced in-market audiences for search ads. While it has historically been considered uncool, a cop-out, and a waste of money to target with in-market audiences - it’s 2019, dudes and gals. If you haven’t taken the time to delve into Google’s targeting options, they’ve become quite specific. These in-market audiences, which are specifically meant to be used for ROI goals, can be used to target search audiences with varying search intent. If you want to get the best performances out of your Google Ads search campaigns, we highly suggest coupling your keyword targeting with Google’s In-Market and Affinity Audiences to drive a higher ROI and reach a more relevant audience. No matter the market your business is in, there’s an abundance of In-Market Audiences now available for search campaigns, leaving a very low probability that you WON'T find one to take your campaigns to the next level.
**Pro Tip: Make sure to set your audience target to Observation mode for testing the performance of audiences before totally restricting your campaign delivery**
Improve Your Mobile Strategy
This should come as nothing new, we’ve been saying it for years: Focus on mobile. It’s always amazing how little effort some advertisers put into developing their mobile strategies. Almost every consumer has a mobile device. These devices provide immediate access to Google, and it’s ads, at all times. Needless to say, if you haven’t bought into the trend of creating a mobile-friendly ad experience, this is the year to do it.
Google advertisers who decide to ignore mobile efforts run the risk of flushing their paid budgets down the drain, as well as losing out on reaching converting users. If you want to succeed, or enhance the performance of your campaigns, it’s imperative that you get in touch with best mobile practices.
Analyze and Optimize
The easiest way to begin is to analyze how much mobile traffic your PPC campaigns are driving. It will probably be a lot, and you shouldn’t be surprised. The new Google Ads interface offers a chart that is very easy to digest and see the vast amount of mobile traffic that is likely dominating your results. Making minimal changes to your bids, even 10 percent increases on mobile traffic, can have a huge impact on your conversions and drive desirable results from your search campaigns.
Get With It and Update Your Ads
What has three headlines, two descriptions and 300 total characters? Google’s new Expanded Text Ads!
In August, Google launched an even more expanded version of the expanded text ads. These new and improved Expanded Text Ads afford advertisers even more space and opportunity to set themselves apart from their competitors on the SERPs. Now you’ll be able to have three 30-character headlines, as well as a second description line. In other words, both formats have expanded to 90-characters versus the old 80-character descriptions. In effect, this gives your ads the ability to be nearly twice as large and contain a total of 300 characters.
Use Response Search Ads
On top of the ever-expanding text ads, Google has also recently released Responsive Search Ads. Much like the newer expanded ads, these Responsive Text Ads offer more real estate and dynamically combine headline and descriptions to optimize the relevance and match to user intent. With these ads, advertisers can set up to as many as 15 headlines and four descriptions in a single ad. While these ads will only display on the SERP as the new, larger, Expanded Text Ads, they allow for the testing and reporting of different variations of headlines and descriptions.
Needless to say, if you haven’t updated all of the ads in your accounts, we highly suggest you do so. As you’d suspect, the best way to drive peak performance from your Google Ads campaigns is to utilize all of the new features that Google releases. Advertisers should be utilizing these larger Expanded Text Ads to take up as much real estate as possible on the results page. It may take some practice to nail down the best combinations of descriptions. Therefore, we suggest making use of the Responsive Text Ads and their reporting features. This allows you to view the different combinations, as a starting point for writing your third headline and second descriptions.
Believe in Automation
It should be no secret that Google Ads is out to make money, as is every corporation. Undeniably, this fact makes it pretty difficult to trust automation. I, personally, have had some pretty unpleasant experiences with eCPC and other bidding techniques that rely on machine learning. But in 2019, things are changing. With the rising competition between PPC platforms, companies are shifting not only for better user experience, but advertisers alike.
Now I’m not saying that you should let your campaigns run themselves by any means. But there are types of automations that are totally worth taking advantage of to drive optimal results for your 2019 campaigns. (Automation is relevant to SEO activities too, so be sure you're working with a reputable seo agency.)
Google’s new Goal-Based Campaign Workflows are yet another feature that we recommend taking advantage of for your 2019 success. Traditionally when creating campaigns, the options were very limited: search and display, clicks, calls, etc.
Google now has flipped the script, allowing advertisers to create goal-driven campaigns from the campaign setup menu. Now you can select campaign goals such as sales, leads, website traffic, product and branding, brand awareness, app promotion, or no goal. Then, Google suggests the best type of campaign (you can still chose the type you want). Then, Google optimizes your campaigns to your goals, similar to Facebook’s campaign optimizations. Using these types of machine optimizations create much more user-friendly and optimized campaigns with the ability to enhance all of your campaigns. We also recommend learning scripts to enhance your automation even further.
Everybody wants to drive the best results from their Google campaigns. It is imperative that you audit your accounts and campaigns and make sure they are up-to-date and running to the best of their, and your, abilities. To make 2019 your year by following our tips for driving the best performance from your Google Ad campaigns!
2019 Google Ads Checklist
Drive the best results from your 2019 Ads Campaigns
- Optimize for voice Search
- Audit your campaign audiences - if you're not using in-market audiences, you're doing it wrong
- Create device strategies and make sure you're winning with mobile searches
- Update your ads - We don't recommend scraping your ads that are driving results. Test the new Expanded Text Ads as well as Responsive Text Ads
- Find Automation that's suited for your campaign goals (or scripts!)
Collaboration is also a huge piece of the success puzzle when it comes to PPC. We’d love to hear your comments and feedback! Here at Ernst Media, we provide expert analysis, audits, and consultations, so don’t hesitate to reach out!