Ginny Marvin joined the SLC|SEM Back to Digital Marketing conference from Third Door Media where she serves as the Associate Editor over paid media coverage. Her presentation was a fascinating overview of the trends that will define the future of SEM and what these changes mean for the marketing community.
When it comes to PPC, there are four significant trends that Ginny highlighted that will impact marketers in 2017 and beyond.
1. Machine Learning
Almost every product that marketers interact with now uses machine learning and artificial intelligence, making it one of the most significant trends in the industry. While there is always a place for the nuances of human thought, Ginny emphasized that machine learning can now process data faster than we could imagine even a few generations ago. Because of this sheer processing capacity, we can understand and ID patterns from huge data sets and make decisions at scale like never before. We are seeing a convergence of mobile, data and machine learning that is unlocking new opportunities in the industry. While there is sometimes a conflict between the interests of marketers and Google's use of AI, there are ways to make these tools work for our return as well. Google now understands the context and meaning of content, and placing a focus on more nuanced strategies is necessary to find success in any campaign.
This year has also seen a larger focus on local search marketing. Ginny pointed out that it's important to pay attention to this trend even if you don't traditionally focus on the local market as one-third of all mobile searches are local. In fact, the local market is growing 50% faster than the overall increase in mobile. There is now a higher incidence of local ads in knowledge panels, and tools like Google Home Services ads promote local services that are Google guaranteed. In addition, what happens in local stores still matters, and digital tools can effectively monitor and target local shoppers better than ever, making it possible to understand and target in-person visitors as well as we do online shoppers.
3. Mobile Speed
As target demographics are becoming savvier, mobile speed is emerging as a trend that every marketer needs to address, so it should come as no surprise that this made Ginny's list. It's imperative that every visitor engages quickly with campaigns to avoid losing both traffic and sales. People are bombarded with information and are impatient as a result. To increase your mobile speed, Ginny recommended a two-tiered approach that includes decreasing landing page loading time and making your site fast. She touched on AMP as a potential solution, pointing out that tools like AMP for AdWords can even improve search rankings as page speed now affects your overall ad rank. Still, this tool is in development and currently works best with Chrome browsers.
4. Privacy Tracking & Measurement Changes
The final trend that Ginny presented deals with the GDPR and how it could affect marketing strategies that many take for granted. The main point to consider is that while this is a European law, it will affect American companies, a trend that is not making marketers happy. Safari is already changing how it uses third-party cookies, and Apple is cracking down on cross tracking in preparation for the May 25, 2018, roll-out date. In the meantime, Google is trying to adjust to compensate, making it more important than ever to be in the Google universe. While the GDPR may prove challenging, it's a good thing overall. Americans are notoriously careless about privacy as was recently demonstrated by the Equifax security breach, so Ginny anticipates that we will ultimately find this trend to be a net positive.
This session wrapped up with a focus on the impacts of these four trends and how we can best adjust our strategies as we move forward. Ginny provided the audience with four actionable tips to bring back to the office.
- Be strategic and look at the bigger picture.
- Don't fear machine learning but use critical thinking in how to apply it best.
- Think cross-organizationally.
- Stay up on wider practices in the industry.
Rosa Zerkle is a freelance content writer with eight years of experience specializing in SEO-optimized landing pages, articles, and blog posts. Considered the chameleon of content, she writes authoritatively on a wide variety of subjects. You can find Rosa on LinkedIn or at www.freelancerosa.com.