Paid search or PPC has undergone tremendous changes in the past 2 years, as trends in the search marketing development changed, together with the behavior of searchers. Google has rolled out more than 1,000 changes to paid search algorithms and here are some changes presented through years.
The year 2013
- Enhanced campaigns – In the days gone by, before July 2013, online marketers selected platforms their campaigns advertised through (desktops/ tablets/ mobile). With this change, they were forced to bid for desktops and tablets together, while mobile was separate. Geo-bid modifiers came along, together with advanced reports and campaign and ad level extensions.
- Mobile App ads – This new ad format that included an icon image, text and a free-to-download highlight allowed advertisers to run click-to-download mobile application adverts on Google’s search results pages.
- “Richer, more diverse SERP” – Results page were opening up toward a more visual outline. Various ad extensions started to factor in Ad Rank, forcing advertisers to focus more on them for a better click-through rate.
- Product listing Ads – It was in 2013 that PLAs moved to the position above search results or on the top right.
- Google ABC reporting – Reports were delivered faster, they appeared more user-friendly and encouraging even to those who weren’t analytically inclined.
The year 2014
- Shopping campaigns – These sprung up form PLAs, with the key difference that advertisers had the option to bid differently for separate products.
- Separating organic results from paid ones – Paid search results have to be marked with a bright orange Ad sign. Many feared this would lessen the click-through rate, but sometimes, these ad labels actually catch the searchers’ attention.
- Death of online bling-blings – Flashy banners were done away with. Campaigns were directed to be simpler, with a clear call to action (through extension) and with direct messages.
- Paid social media campaign – Targeting customers through promoted tweets and posts allowed advertisers to reach their target customers.
- Mobile – Shoppers were found to check out product reviews and pricing even while in the store of their competitor. Four out of five smartphone owners use their phones for shopping. It’s needless to emphasize how important mobile marketing has become since.
The year 2015
- Mobile-first ad formats – Mobile search has surpassed desktop one and as a result people spend less time on websites (they’re impatient to get the info fast). Most mobile searches include a “near me” business search, which allows potential customers to get ads from local business, often with call extensions. There are also “call only” ads with the number in the headline and clicking anywhere starts the call.
- RLSA within Google Analytics audiences – Retargeting Lists for Search Ads are now integrated within audiences in Google Analytics, so no additional website code is needed.
- Great deal messages in PLAs – Price pressuring gained prominence with messages like Value Alert, Percent Off and Great Price notice tests.
- Buy Button with Google – In an attempt to make buying simpler and in that way more profitable for marketers. “Buy on Google” appears in mobile PLAs for a number of retailers for now.
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