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What do Google and Skynet have in common? Both put unlimited trust in robots. Fortunately, the rebellion of machines in our reality does not seem to be as dangerous as in the world of Terminator. Putting responsibility for the results of ad campaigns in the hands of algorithms is one of the major Google Ads trends of recent months. On the basis of this, as well as other trends in modern marketing, I will try to answer the question: what changes in the area of performance await us in the coming years?
Fewer and fewer targeting possibilities
Month by month, specialists are left with less and less room to maneuver for precise ad targeting. The precise targeting settings for marketing messages that we have become accustomed to over the years will slowly lose their relevance. Humans are left without a chance in the clash with big data and the endless ocean of data, expanding by leaps and bounds with every click and purchase decision made by users. Well, after all, what is a hunch, knowledge of a product, or even an understanding of the needs of a target group, in the face of hundreds of millions of transactions and the information derived from them that computers have access to? Yes, we can argue and argue that, after all, robots don’t have access to information on scopes such as public sentiment or geopolitics, but are we sure?
By assuming such a scenario, we are wrong, and doubly so. First, computers have access to all possible areas, just in a slightly different way – analyzing user data, putting it together and, in the end, finding any connections and similarities between them. Second, it is the human being who is on the losing end in terms of the scope of information he can access. For two equally important reasons: intellectual limitations and the functioning of information bubbles.
Dynamic campaigns are taking advertising systems by storm. In the process of setting up a Performance Max campaign, the only data we need to complete is:
- Campaign objective – e.g. CPA, ROAS
- Advertising creations – i.e., advertising texts, images or videos, and a call to action
- Determine rates – e.g., maximum CPA or target value/conversion
- Location, language and ad schedule
That’s why specialists, instead of thinking about how to target a group, should look for the answer to the question “what can I do besides precisely defining the target?”. Finding and targeting potential customers and tailoring advertising messages so that these prove to be as effective as possible will be handled by robots. At least in theory, because, after all, it’s unclear how databases and access to information will be affected by legal regulations regarding RODO and the like. What in that case?
If such a situation arises, more important than analytical skills will be the creativity of marketers. Since we won’t be able to reach our target audience through algorithms, we will have to find other ways to reach our desired audience. Which ones? I’ll give myself a divination on this topic, since such a scenario, given current trends, seems unlikely.
The silent winners of automation processes may turn out to be smaller businesses. With campaigns set up with three clicks and no complicated steps in the process, theoretically everyone will be able to run performance activities on their own. However, I predict that this is a vision of the not-so-distant future, and we will have to wait a little longer for such a reality.
Return of image-writing
Do you know which website, ranks second in terms of number of searches? Bing, Yahoo, Yandex? I deliberately used a little confusion, in the question writing about the site, not the search engine. The second place in the ranking is occupied by YouTube – this is an obvious factor in terms of assessing marketing potential. This is significant insofar as the main advertising format on this platform is video advertising. Anyway, it is not only the most popular format on this site, but also the most effective and visible. Even before the ad is displayed, the viewer is already looking at and focusing attention on the place where it will appear. The advertiser in this case does not have to compete with others for the viewer’s attention.
In the ongoing mediatization of the world, we are paying more and more attention to visual messages. This is noticeable, for example, in the type of communication we do. Less and less text, more and more emoticons, gifs and images. The wheel of history is turning, and it looks like we are moving back into the era of hieroglyphics, this time digital. In my opinion, video advertising will gain in importance in the near future, which seems to be confirmed by YouTube itself, which is steadily increasing the frequency of ads to users.
Growth of voice searches
In one in four U.S. households, you will find a personal assistant such as Alexa on the equipment. One in six users of this system has made a purchase using it. MoffettNathanson’s research shows that within two years voice shopping, or v-commerce, could become as popular as mobile shopping is today. Although only 5% of consumers currently use this method of shopping, the report indicates that this ratio could grow at a rapid pace in the near future. The researchers note that the growth curve for voice shopping bears a striking resemblance to the trajectory of the graph for mobile commerce a few years ago. It is predicted that nearly half of shoppers will use voice search when shopping.
The voice search function is available on almost every mobile device. Note that when using voice search, users use a different, more natural language than when typing keywords into a search engine. Short keywords in PPC campaigns may lose potential, which will move to a pool of longer phrases. Question-focused phrases will also increase in importance. No wonder, after all, how much more natural it will come to us to say to an assistant “where can I eat good sushi?” than “good sushi”.
Google has reigned supreme on the performance campaign charts for many years. However, it is possible that with the recent changes taking place, and those yet to come, the market is evolving to use more channels to reach users.
Google has been limiting the marketing capabilities of Ads specialists for some time, explaining it as a move toward automation, which I wrote about in the first part of the text. However, while such an action can be understood, and one will find few counter-arguments to discuss the rightness, or lack thereof, of its introduction, there is more controversy about the gradual reduction of specialists’ competence in other areas, unrelated to targeting. After all, what’s the point in preventing marketers from setting up display ad schedules, keyword modifiers, or choosing rate-setting strategies? Perhaps there is some, but despite trying very hard to see it, I am not succeeding.
The knowledgeable observer will note that Google may indeed be restricting some advertising features, but other publishers are not resorting to similar solutions, and certainly not to such an extent. I think it’s only a matter of time before other areas of advertising grow in importance significantly. TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, Yandex, Bing, LinkedIn, Twitch – the possibilities are many, and each offers user outreach and ad formats unique to itself. Juxtapose this with the ever-increasing click-through rates on Google Ads and the minimization of influence over these rates by marketers, and the conclusion comes to mind: the importance of other channels in performance marketing will only increase.
Even more mobile
Data from recent years is unequivocal – more and more people are using their phones to browse the Internet and shop. For a generation that is constantly on the move, using Google on a computer is an obsolete method. In 2021, about 70% of Google Ads were displayed on mobile devices.
This means that ads must be tailored to the consumer using a mobile device. Content should be tailored to be attractive on the screens of different devices – tablet, laptop, monitor, phone – including landing pages, registration forms and pop-ups. Otherwise, you may find that the clicks you gain will be lost.
Popularity of ad-blocks
A recent trend that I believe will have an increasing impact on the development of performance marketing is the growing popularity of any program that allows ad blocking, both in search engines and on websites. According to information provided by Hootsuite, programs that allow blocking of advertising content are used by more than 40% of Internet users. The ratio among Polish Internet users was 44.3%. Among the most frequently cited reasons by which users decided to install ad-blocking software were: excessive amount of ads, unrelevancy of ads, intrusiveness of ad messages and too large an area on the screen that ad content occupies. These motives accounted for about 80% of all installations.
It turns out that the challenge is not only to create the right ad and develop the right target audience to which we want to show the ad, but also to display the ad itself. However, on this issue, specialists seem to have little to say. The ball is in the court of ad publishers, who should optimize the virtual space in such a way that advertising messages do not seem intrusive and excessive.
The market is constantly changing and poses new challenges to specialists every day. Some developments are impossible to predict (as who among us would have thought just a few years ago that a lipsync recording app would be one of the biggest phenomena of modern culture), while others are quite obvious. What sets great specialists apart from good ones, however, is that regardless of the market situation, they are able to adapt to changing conditions. What is their motto? “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Advertise.”