Insight January 22, 2019

Three Trends that Will Shape the Future of Pay-Per-Click Advertising


It’s no secret that digital ad spending is steadily increasing each year. Projections suggest that it will surpass traditional advertising in the near future, although experts disagree on the exact tipping point. According to MediaPost, an analysis from Winterberry Group predicted the switch would occur in 2018, while eMarketer projects that the shift will happen in 2021.

Much of that money is being used for pay-per click-advertising.

You might be thinking that the more marketers are spending on digital ads, the more competition there will be within pay-per-click advertising. To some extent that is true; there is a lot of competition online. But you also need to account for the fact that consumers are turning to digital channels more often – for information, entertainment, shopping, and more.

In fact, consumers are more likely to see your ad online than anywhere else. According to Adweek, a study conducted by GroupM showed that 2018 was the first year that consumers spent more time online than with any other media, including TV. So investing in pay-per-click advertising may invite more competition, but it also gives you access to more potential customers.

How do you make the most of this opportunity? We’ve identified three trends that will shape the future of pay-per-click advertising to help you get ahead in 2019.

Voice Search

The voice search hype is at an all-time high – and everyone is trying to predict how digital assistants will affect their marketing strategy in 2019. But the thing is, voice search is already affecting your pay-per-click advertising.

According to the Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, about 39 million U.S. adults (or 16 percent of the population) already own a smart speaker – and it’s changing the way they interact with brands. While consumers aren’t quite abandoning their screens in favor of shopping with Google or Alexa, more than one in five smart speaker owners have researched, purchased, or added an item to their shopping cart via voice controls:

  • 29 percent researched an item they might want to purchase
  • 22 percent re-ordered an item they had previously purchased
  • 22 percent ordered a new item they had not purchased before
  • 31 percent added an item to their cart to review later for purchase

But what does that have to do with pay per click? Voice searches are different from text searches. Typically, the searches are longer, use natural language (which means more questions), and they have high local value. Voice searches can also help you tell intent: When customers ask what, who, how, or when, they are interested. When they ask where, however, they are ready to act.

Here are a few quick tips to help you start optimizing your pay-per-click content for voice search:

  • Make your business’ mission, location, hours of operation, and contact information easy to find so crawlers can rank you higher on search engine results pages.
  • Tailor ad and landing page content to specific, long-tail question phrases.
  • Use natural language wherever possible in your content.
  • Think local-first and incorporate long-tail location keywords into your ads.

Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Artificial intelligence and machine-learning-based pay-per-click automation software is a digital marketer’s dream. It might not be up to the task of driving our cars, but it can take the driver’s seat for your pay-per-click advertising campaigns.

These days, marketers have access to more data than ever before. But between the huge amounts of raw data and the unpredictable nature of consumer behavior, it is almost impossible to manually tweak a pay-per-click campaign to keep up with your target audience. That’s why two of the major paid advertising giants, Google and Facebook, use artificial intelligence to serve highly-targeted advertisements to users based on their personal preferences and behavioral history.

Both Google and Facebook continue to release smart features that make incorporating artificial intelligence into your pay-per-click advertising strategy easy. No longer will you need to perform tasks such as bidding, testing, and reporting manually. Learning how to leverage these tools will help you better manage your pay-per-click campaigns, which can help lift conversion rates and return on investment (ROI).


Retargeting is one of the most effective types of PPC ads. Everyone knows it, and that’s why you can’t seem to shake that excellent pair of hiking boots that you put in your cart – but weren’t quite ready to buy – no matter which website you visit next. The ad follows you around waiting for the moment when you’re ready to purchase.

There are a couple of reasons why retargeting is so effective for pay-per-click advertising. Whether your customer was just visiting your site or had already filled and abandoned a cart, the fact is: They are interested in your products. Even though they weren’t quite ready to buy, they may be sometime in the future.

Retargeting provides a gentle reminder that can help you reach customers at the right time, with the right product. Plus, it follows them across devices, so they receive consistent communications wherever they are. You can even use retargeting to serve up ads or promotions when a customer steps into a physical store.

With the current focus on personalization in digital advertising, it makes sense to incorporate retargeting into your pay-per-click advertising strategy. After all, you’re using your own data to serve up ads for a product that you already know your audience has shown an interest in purchasing.

Don’t just take our word for it. The data speaks for itself:

  • Three out of four consumers now notice retargeted ads, Marketing Land
  • Conversion rates increase the more users see an ad within retargeting campaigns, WordStream
  • 30 percent of consumers have a positive or very positive reaction to retargeted ads, while only 11 percent feel negatively about them, eMarketer

Retargeted ads are highly-visible, with great ROI, and consumers actually appreciate the degree of personalization they provide.

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