Digital marketing is a constantly evolving landscape. With new technologies, systems and updates launching every other week, not to mention frequent spikes in competition in almost every industry, there's plenty to keep us digital advertising gurus on our toes.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an integral part of any effective digital marketing strategy, and staying ahead of the curve is key to achieving success in the digital world. We're well into 2023 now, and we've noticed a number of exciting trends and developments on the horizon that PPC advertisers can seriously benefit from.
While some key trends from our 2022 analysis remain today, we’re now taking a closer look at the top PPC advertising trends to watch out for in 2023. From the continued rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to the emergence of new ad formats and platforms, we explore the latest tools and techniques that will help you stay ahead of the competition and drive better results for your business.
Whether you're a seasoned PPC pro or just starting out, this post will provide you with valuable insights into the future of pay-per-click advertising. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the top PPC advertising trends to look out for in 2023.
What is PPC in Digital Marketing?
PPC (pay-per-click) is a form of digital advertising where advertisers pay each time a user clicks on one of their ads. It is a popular advertising model used across various digital channels, including search engines, social media platforms, and display networks.
In PPC advertising, advertisers bid on specific keywords or phrases that are relevant to their products or services. When a user searches for a term related to the advertiser's business, their ad may be displayed to the user. If the user clicks on the ad, the advertiser is charged a fee, hence the name ‘pay-per-click.’
PPC advertising is important because it allows advertisers to target their ads to specific audiences, which can result in a higher likelihood of conversions and a better return on investment (ROI) compared to traditional advertising methods. It is also highly measurable, allowing advertisers to track and optimise their campaigns in real-time to improve performance.
Another key benefit of PPC advertising is that it can help businesses of all sizes compete in the online marketplace. Unlike traditional advertising, which can be prohibitively expensive for smaller businesses, PPC advertising allows even small businesses with limited budgets to reach their target audiences effectively.
What Are the Main PPC Platforms?
There are several PPC platforms available for advertisers to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and features. Each of these spaces involve highly targeted advertising options, the ability to reach a large audience, engaging ad formats, and robust tracking and reporting tools.
There's a lot to be gained from each one, but not every platform will suit every business. We recommend advertisers to pick and choose the platforms that best align with their marketing goals and target audience.
Google Ads is arguably the most popular PPC platform, with ads displayed on Google's search engine results pages (SERPs) and its partner sites. Google Ads can reach a massive audience while maintaining highly targeted advertising options and robust tracking and reporting tools.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Ads
You know the ones you scroll past all the time? When done well, Facebook and Twitter Ads (and as a branch, Instagram Ads) can capture user attention through the disguise of an organic social post or tweet. This kind of content has the potential to entice users quickly and effectively, while still having the ability to target niche demographics, reach a large audience, and tap into engaging ad formats such as reels and stories.
Another social ad space, LinkedIn Ads are perfect for targeting specific industries and job titles. Depending on your business, LinkedIn may prove a much better PPC option than the more social Meta or Twitter spaces. LinkedIn boasts highly targeted advertising options and the ability to use engaging ad formats such as sponsored content and sponsored InMail.
What’s Trending for PPC Advertising in 2023?
Now we know the basic ins-and-outs of PPC advertising, what are the trends to look out for in 2023? If you’ve been anywhere near a digital space in the last several months, you might have noticed some pretty big shifts and ideas coming into play. ChatGPT certainly takes the cake here, and it’s sparking a lot of other highly advanced AI tools that are changing the way we interact with and think about digital marketing.
Aside from these forward-thinking new automation tools (don’t worry, they’re not here to steal anyone’s job!) what are some other key things to pay attention to for PPC advertisers this year?
Increased Focus on Personalisation
As the internet continues to expand, more tribes are emerging (recommended reading: Tribes by Seth Godin), and marketers must segment their messages to achieve their business goals and build relationships with customers. Additionally, competition is increasing, and brands must be creative to stand out. This is where data comes in.
Major ad platforms offer tools that utilise zero-party, first-party, and third-party data to automatically generate ads that are tailored to specific audiences. This maximises the effectiveness of PPC campaigns and offers advertisers key insights into what’s working, what’s not working, and how to continue improving. Speaking of data, let's move on to the second trend.
Greater Emphasis on Privacy and Data Security
As concerns around privacy and data security continue to grow (cue gobbledegook generated passwords and two-factor authentication that takes hours to unlock), brands will need to take a more proactive approach to protecting user data.
This may involve implementing stricter data security measures or being more transparent about how user data is collected and used. Additionally, we may see more brands investing in first-party data, as it offers a more secure and reliable source of data for targeted advertising.
One of the biggest updates in 2023 is the Google Analytics 4, the latest Google update that will completely replace its predecessor Universal Analytics by mid-2023. The new version embraces stricter privacy guidelines and best practices, allowing marketers to have far better control over data collection and sharing.
Recommended reading: How to unlock the power of first-party data
Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Automation
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is increasingly vital in the realm of paid media. These technologies can optimise campaigns in real-time using user behavior and campaign performance data. In 2023, we can anticipate more brands leveraging AI and machine learning to improve their paid media campaigns.
This practice has been in use for some time with Google Ads' smart bid strategies, Facebook Ads' dynamic creatives, and other campaign types, such as Performance Max on Google. Our tests with businesses of all sizes indicate that these features show promising results.
PPC automation tools like Opteo and Adzooma provide an additional layer of intelligence on top of the most commonly used platforms (Google and Facebook). This enables marketers and agencies to run and optimise ads at scale while maintaining profitability.
As for ChatGPT, it fits in at every step of your marketing strategy. ChatGPT and other AI tools can help discover forgotten or unknown keywords and insights, as well as analyse campaign data and provide precise instructions to improve performance in seconds.
Fun fact: This blog post was created using ChatGPT's assistance with a tone-specific human touch. Although hundreds of AI tools are available, ChatGPT is definitely becoming one of the most versatile.
Who knows? In the near future, we may only need to describe our business and provide first-party data to AI tools for them to generate a complete PPC strategy with the appropriate channels, budgets, and creatives.
While TikTok use for businesses isn't exactly a new trend, its popularity and effectiveness in the PPC advertising world is making huge leaps - and yes, you do need to be aware of them, even if your brand wants nothing to do with TikTok!
TikTok's user growth is exploding in plenty of regions worldwide, making it worth exploring even if it's not yet a trend in your country. The Creative Centre is one of TikTok's most useful tools, providing key insights on ads (much like Meta and Google Ads includes). They've also launched the ‘Top Products’ tool, which shows the top product categories on TikTok and their average CPA. These tools are incredibly powerful and insightful for PPC campaigns, especially for product-based businesses.
In addition, TikTok is introducing new ad formats to the market, providing PPC professionals with opportunities to experiment with different CTA formats and discover new ways to reach their audience. If TikTok wasn't already a game changer in the digital world, it certainly is now.
Other Not-So-Trendy PPC Trends
While there are many strategies and trends in the PPC market, we believe that the ones we listed above are the most important for this year. However, predicting the future of the industry can be difficult, as platforms and technology continue to evolve rapidly.
We anticipate that formats allowing interaction and immersion, such as AR and VR, will become more popular over the next few years. Meta's advances in this area are noteworthy. Additionally, the increasing number of smart speakers will lead to changes in ad creation for these devices, especially with regard to keywords and ad copy.
Mobile advertising is growing rapidly, fueled by the proliferation of social and other apps that carry ads. Influencer marketing will also continue to be important due to its user-friendly effectiveness and ability to build organic brand relationships.
No single trend should be prioritised over others in isolation. Instead, brands should incorporate a range of paid media trends into their marketing strategies, taking into account their goals, target audience, and industry trends. Social responsibility, sustainable marketing, and e-commerce are all important considerations as well.
The Bottom Line (or Click)
It's no surprise that paid digital media is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date on the latest trends is essential for success. In 2023, we can expect to see a greater emphasis on personalisation, data security, ever-advancing AI tools and social ad spaces like TikTok.
It's not essential to use every one of these PPC platforms. Like with any digital marketing ad space, it's always important to tap into your business's target audience, their wants and needs, and where they're spending time.
By understanding which areas you want to focus on, and by leveraging their trends effectively, brands can create engaging, effective paid media campaigns that drive results. Now that's something worth clicking on!