Just like every other year, 2017 was a rollercoaster ride for the world of PPC, with several updates and announcements dictating the way marketers went about their business.

It also ushered in a whole host of new trends, such as artificial intelligence and voice search. But will these continue into 2018? And what else can we expect from PPC over the next 12 months?

Here with a few predictions are some of industry’s leading experts, who believe audience targeting, automation, and social media could move the goalposts of PPC yet again.

 

Larry Kim, CEO, Mobile Monkey

“In 2018 and beyond, Facebook and Google will copy each other’s ad targeting features. For example, Facebook could offer ‘in-market audiences’ based on searching and browsing behaviour (remember that most major sites in the world have the Facebook tracking pixel installed). This would be far superior to the existing, static audience segments that Facebook offers.

Conversely, Google’s search audience targeting is extremely limited. Where Facebook offers tens of thousands of built-in audience segmentation options for every imaginable type of person, Google only allows for targeting based on a measly 3 criteria: age, gender, parental status.”

Kim also hopes that Google will open up demographics/interest and behavioural targeting across its search ad products to identify actual people, not just keywords. Otherwise, Google could lose precious ad revenue to Facebook.

 

Mark Irvine, Senior Data Scientist, WordStream

“In the past year, we saw the depreciation of ‘exact match’ keywords and the rise of more keyword-free solutions like dynamic search ads and new shopping campaign formats. Even when creating ad copy, Google is turning away from semantics control and automated ad rotation and even creating ads on behalf of advertisers.

Search isn’t dead, the keyword isn’t dead, but you’ll find yourself behind in the next year if that’s still your sole focus.”

Similar to Kim, Irvine believes that digital marketing is turning toward the personal and targeting people. For example, Facebook allows marketers to connect with different audience solutions, rather than semantics.

 

Frederick Vallaeys, CEO, Optmyzr

“In 2018, we’ll continue to see more improvements in PPC automation driven by more sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence. What I find most exciting is that advertisers have more options than ever to leverage this technology because it’s being integrated into third-party tools, and it’s even available for advertisers to build their own custom solutions with Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine.”

Vallaeys goes on to add that because of more PPC automation, marketers will need to pay close attention to the following areas:

  • Better understanding of technology for more informed decisions about what tools to use in different scenarios
  • Creating a strong process for letting account managers work together with new technology. The best results occur when humans leverage machines rather than competing against them
  • Retaining staff for new roles, as legacy work will soon be managed by machines

It remains to be seen how PPC will change in 2018. But expert predictions seem to agree on one thing – PPC will shift to social because of audience segmentation, powered by automation.