Paid Search Predictions for 2017


Paid Search Predictions for 2017 ...

Here we go again, another chance for me to try and second guess the upcoming strategy of the mighty juggernauts of search that are Google and Bing.

1. A change of Attribution

One of the biggest movements in the latter part of 2016 has been attribution modelling. Most companies are comfortable with the idea of attribution and here at equimedia we have been analysing it for years. Google are starting to push a new model to end all models into AdWords and Doubleclick – the idea of Data Driven Attribution.

I know it’s been available in GA (premium) for years and AdWords for a little while under certain conditions, but now it is really picking up steam and can be used for reporting purposes and more excitingly in DoubleClick Search, for reporting and optimisation. My feeling is that over the next 12 months we will see many companies start to move away from the more traditional models such as last click, time decay or first interaction and instead look to the “black box” solution that is DDA. This doesn’t mean that last click is dead, far from it, as DDA requires enough data to work and some campaigns just don’t have this. It will though provide a different way of looking at how important each interaction point is when it comes to post campaign analysis. This is another tool that will help to prove the true value of other upper funnel channels such as display.

2. Year of the Mobile Continued

Here we go again, the 5th year in a row that I have predicted this and I’m going to do it again. 2016 has been filled with changes to the mobile offering both from an extension point of view and with Google effectively u-turning on their enhanced campaigns rollout with the alternative bid modifiers we covered earlier this year. 2017 will prove to be as much of a rollercoaster with many sectors now seeing the scales tip very much in favour of mobile traffic. Google have recognised this already and are constantly testing new ad formats, changed ad extensions and improvements to the shopping experience.

We will see many new developments with hints already about carousels and swipeable cards appearing as the mechanism to enhance ads on handsets. Swipeable cards is the interesting one as this opens up the door to many different extension formats on mobile – this could be the year we see video extensions or a return of the short lived image extensions.

3. Hyper Local Search

Over the last 12 months Google has made many steps towards a hyperlocal world. Hyperlocality is where Google is aware on an individual’s precise location and allows them to deliver content and advertising that is relevant to specific individuals in their very specific need states.

A recent example of this can be seen in the screenshots below taken during a trip to Dublin, which demonstrate just how accurate this can be.Hyper local search example

Google have very recently launched their store visits beta which attempts to measure the impact of hyperlocal advertising by counting the footfall using your location. This is a really exciting development for any business with a physical footprint on the high street as it finally allows for tangible measurement of paid search activity where a conversion may happen offline.

The technology sitting behind hypertargeting is always improving so it stands to reason that in the not too distant future we should expect to get to start seeing Minority Report style advertising!

Minority report style advertising

As an aside you can look back at your location history from your browser to see maps like the one above – simply navigate to this link: - this may once again fuel the debate of accurate advertising vs personal privacy. As always, you can opt out if you would rather!

4. Google Shopping

Google shopping has gone from strength to strength since they made the somewhat controversial decision to change it to a paid only offering. We have seen big changes in the back end system around how Shopping Campaigns are managed and in more recent times we have seen exciting developments such as Customer Match for shopping campaigns and local inventory ads, again linking the online world to the physical one.

Over the next 12 months I would expect to see further advances in the shopping experience on Google and with it more and more ad formats/extensions designed to keep you on Googles result’s rather than leave to visit a retailer’s website – possibly a nod to one of my predictions from last year around the death of the website; this could be the early onset of something serious!

All in all I think 2017 has the potential to be a big one for PPC, and the search team here at equimedia are ready and waiting for whatever curve ball Google or Bing can throw at us!


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