We are once again looking into our equimedia branded crystal ball to try and second guess which way the search landscape is going to move in 2015.
For us, video SERP formats has to be our top prediction, especially with the increasing adoption of 4G contracts. Surely 2015 is the year that Google step up and serve rich ads in search results to challenge Bing who has been serving these formats for some time?
2015 will see more mobile searches than desktop searches. It’s a trend that we have been watching and noting increases amongst all industry sectors over the last year or two, and this combined with increased local searches will cause a surge in mobile searches in 2015, finally exceeding overall desktop search volumes.
Enhanced location features will also come to the fore, enabling more sophisticated and (we hope) more automated targeting options to serve the right message to the right user at the right time!
This will also enable additional layers of demographic targeting and methods of reaching users based on better analytics insight to improve engagement and performance of search ads.
For us, 2014 was another year in which we saw subtle changes to paid search ads formats and new ad extensions to test (you can read more about the SERP changes here.
The general look of ads changed slightly early in the year with the yellow backdrop being removed in favour of a yellow ad label and the underline on ad headlines being removed which made the organic and paid search results look more similar there weren’t any ‘big formats’ to take note of.
So what do we predict will change in 2015?
We predicted video ads would make a big impact last year and we still think there is more Google might do. With mobile devices growing in size and increasing numbers of users on 4G contracts video ads could still become more visible in results. In this area Bing is ahead of Google as they already serve rich ads in search results. Surely Google won’t let that continue for long?
2014 - The year of the mobile
We saw huge growth in the number of searches and site visits made using mobile devices for all our clients last year. Not only were users visiting on mobile, they were completing actions, requests and purchases too. Users are becoming more and more comfortable with using their mobile devices for searching and purchasing, finally.
In 2015 it’s expected that mobile searches will overtake desktop search volumes. We certainly think that there will be more local searches coming from mobile devices which will lead to a need for a greater emphasis on location-based targeting strategies for modifying bids and ensuring we have tailored copy for specific areas - it’s certainly becoming more and more important to focus on geo locations.
Enhanced location features
These are something that will come to the fore this year – at least this is what we hope! Enhanced campaigns were set up and devised “to make reaching the right users at the right time on the right device” easier. However, we still feel there is still more that could be done here. In 2015 we would really love to see a feature that allows us to tailor our ad copy for specific geo locations in a more automated way. We can already achieve this by mirroring campaigns, use of negatives and other techniques, but we would love to see this become simpler and quicker so that we can implement these techniques at scale, easily.
The way we target users
This is already changing and will continue to do so in 2015. We see an increasing number of new ways to target users using techniques other than using keywords. Shopping campaigns are a great example of PPC ads that don’t have any keywords. Remarketing lists for search (RLSA) and more sophisticated analytics tools now allow us to add a level of demographic targeting. These features allow us to build personas of our clients customers based on their browsing behaviour; we can identify what products people are interested in or if they are close to converting – this data can then help us target potential customers with more relevant and specific ad copy. The advancement of these tools in 2015 is likely to give us even more powerful ways of targeting users in different ways, leading to better results for our clients!
We think the combination of these advances in 2015 will see paid search become an even more sophisticated and efficient channel by allowing us to target users at a more granular level, providing formats that the user wants to see, results relevant to the device on which they are searching and containing the information they expected and highly relevant to their search intent. We see all of these changes as improvements and look forward to capitalizing on the opportunities they present for our Clients’ campaigns in 2015.