Paid Search Trends 2019: Google Ads, Bing Ads & Amazon Advertising

2018 saw many changes for Google Ads, paid search and other forms of PPC marketing. Google AdWords officially became Google ads, and brought in a new interface, along with new forms of campaigns, targeting, tools and otherwise.

Bing Ads has come on leaps and bounds, and has integrated LinkedIn profile targeting, which is an exciting prospect for businesses in a B2B space.

Amazon has also become more prominent in its ad offerings, with many businesses putting a heavy focus on Amazon. After all, many people start their product searches on Amazon itself, rather than Google. Why not appear where your audience is searching? In the US, a reported 38% of people used Amazon as their starting point for a product search, with Google coming in 2nd at 35%. Brand and retailer sites came in at 21%.

Google Ads Trends for 2019

Here are some of the noteworthy trends to keep in mind for Google Ads in 2019:

Machine Learning

Machine learning aims to do many things, but one way Google in particular wishes to use it is to push advertisers to use automated bidding strategies in campaigns.

While it is up for debate how useful the automated bidding strategies currently are, but this data will be helpful for smaller businesses. For instance, it gives you cross-platform and cross-device attribution which provides more data on how people are interacting with your ads.

New features

New features include:

Expanded Text Ads

Expanded text ads launched in 2018, and have changed how Google Ads work quite significantly. Now that there are 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, there is a lot more information. Now that ads are expanded, you have more room to work with to get your message across, and therefore more chance of reaching potential customers and generating business.

Responsive Search Ads

These are flexible ads which make ad creation easier, as well as how they are tested. This is all powered by machine learning, where Google matches headlines and descriptions to provide the (in theory) best ad possible. However, you do need to be careful and watch closely, as the ads often don’t read as well as those crafted by humans. This can be useful for small businesses with less time or resource to put into Google Ads, as Google’s AI will do all of the experimenting and perfecting it can, once given the components of each ad.

Landing page speed score

This helps you test the speed of your landing pages for your ad, and your mobile speed.

Cross-device reports and remarketing in Analytics

This allows data to be combined across different devices, so you can get a better idea on how and where people are browsing your site.

Google Text Ads on YouTube

In 2019, Google is going to be showing text ads on YouTube.

Essentially, Google is simply including YouTube into the Search Partners network, so little additional work needs to be done on the advertisers’ side.

When your text ad campaign is opted into Search Partners, it may be included on the search results found on YouTube, when a user searches for the keywords relevant to your campaign. However, this will start out as mobile-only.

Complexity

While seasoned Google AdWords/Ad experts will be excited at the prospect of new tools and features, many business owners and other limited Google Ad users may be panicked by the sheer scale of what they need to do to run a Google campaign.

While many of the tools aim to help businesses get started more easily, the fact is, to make the most out of Google Ads and get more for your money, you really need to dedicate time to learning how to use the platform, and what works best. And anyone who isn’t already well-versed in Google Ads is unlikely to have the time to do this aside from their other responsibilities within the business.

This means more businesses will see the value in working with an agency. As there are more features and ways to stand out, we will continue seeing the Google Ad experts win the ad-war, while inexperienced Google Ad users will fall behind the pack. Outsourcing this to an experienced agency means they needn’t sacrifice their time into Google Ads, and can still get ahead of the competition in the search results.

Paid search trends for 2019

Aside from Google, there are other paid search trends to keep in mind that will have similar trends among all platforms.

Automation and AI

Google isn’t the only one investing in automation. Google is investing heavily as it will help more businesses find success on the platform, but Bing will be following closely.

At the end of the day, all of the automations allow you to spend time where it matters, rather than the repetitive tasks that automations can take care of. This may include reporting, bid tracking, and many other activities that can suck up your time. This means you can focus on the creative and strategic side of what you want your ads to achieve. While Google is at the forefront, it’s important to keep an eye on what the other platforms are up to.

Attribution

It’s been a few years since mobile has become one of the main ways people shop, but advertisers still battle with attribution. However, this has been changing and is set to continue to change.

Google has been pushing for position-based attribution, rather than last-click attribution, which means all the touch-points along a buyer’s journey are attributed some form of merit in helping a customer make a purchase.

However, no single attribution model is perfect for everyone. This largely depends on your business and how you operate. For larger purchases, last-click is not going to be the best way, usually, as it will be a longer purchase path. Though, if it’s a small-time purchase or you simply want to generate leads, other forms of attribution may be more useful.

The most important point here is that marketers are, and will continue, getting better at creating a better understanding of the customer journey, thanks to the many new tools and features available in advertising platforms. This helps you understand how your campaigns are performing, where you can best spend your budget in the future, and how to improve your overall strategy to grow your business.

Voice Search

Voice search is changing how SEO and PPC works, as the way in which we search changes.

While it is certainly not new, many of the big corporations are investing in voice. There’s Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and so on.

The importance of the voice assistant being integral into devices, whether that’s an Amazon Smart Speaker, an Android phone or an iPad, is that users will increasingly stop using a keyboard to search.

More people are asking Alexa a particular question, or saying “Ok Google” to quickly Google something. Google’s own Pixel range even allows you to simply squeeze your phone in order to ask Google a question or search query. It couldn’t be easier, as you don’t even need to unlock your phone. That is the emphasis Google is putting into voice search.

The point here is that keywords will change, and intent will change. More words are used in voice search, so long-tail terms will be much more important, which then impacts when your ads will appear.

This means it may be more worthwhile to bid on longer key phrases, and show your ads for more specific queries. Your ads may even offer answers to particular common questions people are asking.

Amazon Ads

Amazon has become a very viable alternative for advertisers. This is set to continue into 2019.

Prime membership continues to grow – and the more members of Amazon Prime there are, the more likely they will start a purchasing journey on Amazon. As next-day, “free” delivery (with the membership) is valued highly.

Amazon has been clear in its intent to take on Google with the AI and voice search assistant that is Alexa, which means Amazon could take a good chunk of this form of search.

While voice search is still not deemed the most important trend in SEO, it’s certainly worth considering, as people will search for different things when using voice search over typing on a keyboard or phone.

And the dominance of Alexa devices will differ by region, but it’s almost become the “go-to” phrase to refer to an AI-speaker-based assistant. Not many people will reference a Google Home or otherwise – it will be an Alexa. In the US, back in 2018, Amazon had a 71.9% market share of the smart speaker market – Google had just 18.4%.

Bing Ads

Overall, the trend for Bing is that it will continue to grow as a viable alternative to Google.

Bing has recently been given the exclusive rights to reach audiences on the Yahoo network, as well as on AOL. This includes other Verizon media properties, which includes AOL Mail, Yahoo Mail, Huffington post and TechCrunch.

For B2B businesses, it can prove very lucrative, as the bidding is much cheaper, and many users will be using Bing as a default at work. This is a good opportunity for businesses operating in a space where this is their target audience.

Bing has tested “local inventory ads” which show availability of products and stock in nearby locations.