With increasing competition on the Internet – Internet Live Stats currently registers roughly 1.74 billion websites on the Internet – global digital advertising spending is expected to grow 6% in 2020, reaching a whopping $656B (Statista). 

Competition for advertising space in the SERPs and current stagnation in the number of positions available for advertisers clearly indicate marketing costs will increase, particularly when it comes to mobile searches. With a heavy focus on keeping cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) at profitable levels, advertisers will need to seek new opportunities and objectives outside of solely increasing ad spend. 

With a new decade comes a new generation of powerful digital consumers: Gen Z. Uber-cool luxury brands like Balenciaga and Gucci focused their marketing strategies on younger generations and their consequent success are cases in point. This demographic uses new platforms that break the mold from established social media and search engine platforms. Focused on display and video content, platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and Amazon offer alternatives that could drive down overall CPCs and CPAs whilst expanding audience reach. 

In a world with ever-evolving digital advertising, PPC marketers face increased pressure and a need to stay ahead of the curve. By paying particular attention to the following trends they could make strides rather than baby steps and break the curve in 2020.

#1 TREND: REALLY KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE (PERSONAS/SEGMENTATION)

It’s an obvious starting point for any marketing strategy. However, knowing your audience has never been more critical for digital advertising than in 2020. It will be essential to segment your audience, understand the platforms they use and their user behaviour to truly target them successfully.

Tailoring your message to each audience segment or persona will improve the impact of the content you are delivering. 50% of luxury purchases start online and HNWI individuals are willing to spend more on luxury brands that deliver a narrative they can relate and aspire to (Marketing Magazine). Advertisers that fail to communicate with their audience will fall behind, particularly if they deliver the same message to distinctly different audiences.

#2 TREND: CROSS-PLATFORM MARKETING

It is crucial to keep in mind all the platforms your audience use when crafting your PPC strategy. A successful cross-platform marketing strategy should be formulated using these 5 steps. 

  1. Create your personas 
  2. Craft a central message for your promotion
  3. Tailor your message to each persona
  4. Adapt that message for each platform
  5. Target the same persona across all platforms for maximum impact 

By integrating your marketing communications cross-channel i.e. sharing a central message across multiple platforms to the same audience segment, you can increase the likelihood of a sale. According to Vogue Business, a Bottega Veneta 2018 campaign generated an ROI twice the value of its ad spend by simply running multimedia paid social ads across several platforms such as Youtube and Facebook. 

Balance is key in cross-platform marketing. Overexposing your ad to one single audience may lead to negative perception and feedback. Some theorists suggest audiences are more likely to buy after they have seen your ad 3-7 times. No less, no more.  It’s about finding the sweet spot for your audience.

#3 TREND: VIDEO

Video is the way forward for 2020. It’s a fact we should be able to agree on. Forbes reports that the average Internet user spends 88% more time on a website that includes video than one without. Videos connect you with your customers on a more interactive and engaging level than other media forms. A Databox survey uncovered that 60% of marketers found video advertising on Facebook generated more engagement than images because of their attention-grabbing qualities.

Most social platforms provide editing features that allow you to make content more digestible, so it couldn’t be easier! A great new tool is Google’s Bumper Machine, which turns less-than-90-seconds videos into a selection of six-second bumper ads, presenting exciting opportunities for advertisers in 2020.

#4 TREND: AUTOMATION, AI & MACHINE LEARNING

In 2020, PPC strategy will become more valuable than ever before. For years, PPC managers have been anticipating a great shift in their role, moving from manual optimisers to technical strategists and automation experts. With Google continuously progressing towards automation and machine learning, these changes are taking shape.

So what are the latest automation changes from 2019 that will influence your campaign strategy in 2020? Changes to how ‘exact match’ and ‘phrase match’ close variations function, Google’s Auto-apply suggestions, and those pesky ‘expansion audiences’ are huge game-changers that have taken away significant control from advertisers and created a need to closely monitor the effects of Google’s AI on PPC campaigns. 

For advertisers, this means new challenges for 2020. Google’s objective is simply to maximise clicks, possibly at the expense of the precision advertisers have manually brought to the game over the years. However, this automation revolution provides new opportunities to focus on strategy if advertisers learn to adapt to an automated landscape. Yet, Google has offered advertisers new ways of testing Google’s AI in 2019 through Smart campaigns, Smart shopping campaigns, Dynamic Search Ads, and Automated bidding strategies. Advertisers can now build their own algorithms, such as in the case of automation layering, to automate time-consuming tasks and focus more time on strategy. 

#5 TREND: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS/CONNECTION WITH THE BRAND

With unprecedented competition in 2020, the focus will be more than ever on optimising beyond your conversions and keeping customers rather than simply focusing on obtaining new ones. American researchers highlight that consumer-brand relationships are even more important to maintain for brands in the luxury sector. 

The concept of affinity should be above the objective of awareness. Building a community will be of primary importance – enter the role of retargeting, in the form of engagement, traffic and returning traffic, or shares, as part of an integrated digital marketing communications strategy. Wordstream founder presses the importance of remarketing strategies for brand building:  conversion rates are twice as high with long-term remarketing campaigns!