At Stella Rising, I direct the search engine marketing and PPC initiatives for four of our top brands, a role that demands non-stop learning on my part. The world of search marketing is always changing, and in order to optimize, drive efficiencies, and deliver on ROI goals, I prioritize staying ahead of any new updates or technology. With that perspective, I’d like to bring you the top search trends to look out for as we prepare to enter and plan for a fresh year.Automation is the Name of the Game
Smart automation for daily tasks is now the common practice of many marketers. In 2020 this will be more than a matter of convenience: it will be an edge. Google is expected to earn $48.69B in ad revenues this year; for 2020, that number is predicted to rise to $55.51B. This means that it will be more difficult to cut through the additional clutter. To be able to process and manipulate all the data in the search landscape, advertisers will have to buy into automation. In the next year, we can expect highly effective tools that help with everyday campaign optimizations, reporting, and tracking. However, automation must be used intelligently; many tools and strategies may not make sense for certain brands. Intelligent and skillful humans will still be required to monitor and make manual calibrations that ensure performance aligns with ever-changing goals.
Beyond Traditional Paid Search
As of January 2018, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month, per Alpine.AI. According ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. This changes the way that people search and what type of terms or phrases they use to find information. While voice search is not as popular within SEM, brands can get ahead by including more long-tail keywords into their mix now, while also ensuring that landing page content is more conversational. These initiatives will increase chances of matching a voice search query.
Another technology that has the potential to revolutionize consumer discovery and shopping is visual search. In 2017, Google announced the release of Google Lens. This was followed by the launch of the Microsoft visual search tool, which allows users to search the web using their camera. Consumers are likely to embrace this advancement, sparking a major change in the game: already, 62% of Millennials express the desire to search visually, more so than any other new technology. Brands will need to redesign their websites to support visual search with an extensive image catalog and proper metadata implementation.
Applications for Amazon
While Google and Facebook are still the leaders in paid advertising, Amazon is in third place and gaining ground quickly. The main advantage of Amazon is its unique ad inventory and expanding number of users with very high purchase intent. While Google and Facebook are often used for inspiration or research, the sole purpose of Amazon is to sell product. Therefore, a higher conversion rate can be expected on Amazon platforms. Amazon is especially appealing to CPG brands, due to data on last-mile conversion.
PPC & SEO Integration
PPC & SEO go hand-in-hand. In 2020, they should be used together even more symbiotically in order to maximize results. For keyword strategy, PPC data can inform SEO of the most viable and profitable keywords to target for organic ranking boosts. On the other hand, SEO data can identify which keywords are worth bidding on. PPC ad copy performance data can be leveraged by SEO to identify the best messaging for metadata. Finally, brands that have organic and paid listings alongside each other look more dominant in the SERP.
My teammates and I are focused on excelling in every new search marketing advancement. If you are interested in applying our high-success search tactics to your brand growth, connect with us.
Additional Sources: eMarketer, 2019