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The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift in consumer behaviour patterns throughout 2020, but we’ve also seen some interesting analytics, reporting and PPC trends emerging in 2021 as we head into the next year.
It’s clear that companies worldwide rely heavily on digital marketing to stay afloat, and now the pandemic has caused havoc across the globe, more consumers have turned to shopping online. This has led to digital advertising becoming even more essential. It’s no wonder, then, that PPC marketers are now focusing on a few key trends which look set to stay.
The COVID situation escalated surprisingly rapidly, and this caused consumer behaviour to evolve dramatically over the course of last year. As a result, marketers adjusted in a very reactive way. A lot of brands decided to pull back initially on their expenditure and then realised later that dramatic moves were being made towards digital so they quickly turned around and invested in PPC and SEO.
Small and local businesses found that moving to online delivery and ordering options was the only way to stay afloat. Now, in 2021, although life has returned to the “new normal”, at least for the moment, the proactive approach to search marketing strategy has remained. Testing, experimentation, CRO and strategizing are all now in the picture and look set to stay for the near future.
A key aspect of proactive strategy and analysis involves carrying out advanced competitive analysis. Around 90% of people will carry competitive analysis out when they’re in a crisis, but the events of 2020/21 have shown that there are significant opportunities for anyone who looks at competitive analysis proactively and well in advance of any problem arising.
Keeping key metrics at the forefront of business leaders’ minds is essential when it comes to viewing PPC tasks on a daily basis. By paying close attention to this exciting trend of performing keyword and market research as well as competitive analysis at an early stage, it’s possible to beat competitors in the marketplace both now and in the future.
2021 is seeing privacy become the norm, with Apple’s IDFA and Google’s FLoC changes having been introduced. This will have an impact on attribution as well as on tracking multi-channel touchpoints. Search marketers must, therefore, adopt new approaches and strategies to stay compliant.
They must embrace the user’s privacy whenever possible, asking permission and only collecting the very minimum data amount necessary. They must also purge those details when they’re done while communicating clearly how that data will be used. Transparency is increasingly going to be essential as we move forwards.
Search marketing is going through a period of major change, and that means clients and stakeholders need to understand the ways in which the landscape has evolved and, essentially, what that may mean for them. Therefore, proactively reporting and communicating is an important strategy.
A communication schedule needs to be set so key stakeholders can all stay well-informed about when updates, KPIs and news will be delivered to them. Also, reporting audiences need to have a dashboard that correlates to all the metrics which are relevant to them.
Furthermore, those updates must be delivered in such a way that can be understood by clients and stakeholders. Getting caught up with acronyms and jargon can be all-too-easy, but audiences really need to know what the figures mean and how any potential change could impact their business and numbers.
Across the entire search marketing sector, there has been an increase in automation for quite a few years. More testing tools for machine learning has led to digital advertising moving towards automation and AI more and more every year. Marketing automation and chatbots now regularly move customers through the marketing journey and automated tools even exist to create images from just text alone.
Whereas at one time, marketers were quite hesitant about embracing automation, they’re increasingly realising that it does make sense. Older processes and automated tools may have been a waste of time or money, but now that ad tools are evolving more towards automation and machine learning it’s becoming vital for marketers to catch up, catch on and take full advantage of this technology.
Google Ads automation means an account structure that is more consolidated, with no need to segment every audience or device out. It may also mean using machine learning for smaller accounts that lack a lot of initial data. This can mean better CPAs and more conversions. However, testing is vital for PPC automation. If it doesn’t work for certain accounts or campaigns, iterating to find an improved solution wherever possible is key.
This is a trend that has emerged on a regular basis over the past few years however this year, the flywheel of digital marketing has truly taken effect since other major trends have influenced the situation. The change in digital behaviour that has occurred in 2020 looks set to remain in place going forward, with many consumers deciding to continue with their current online habits in the future. This means that the customers’ journeys towards purchasing will be far more varied as well as less predictable.
Consumers will no longer go smoothly from the top to the bottom of the funnel. Instead, they move out and into each phase while they make touchpoints, collect data and engage with channels and content before making their final purchase.
Reporting on the flywheel may, therefore, be more nuanced than ever, so communication with clients and stakeholders is even more important so that they can better understand how customers can be served online in order to cater for every persona’s individual journey.
Staying current with the latest trends is never easy, but these are just some of the most important trends that have proven so far in 2021 to be ones to watch. They are likely to remain just as important as we move into 2022.
At Key Business Marketing, we offer a range of services, including content creation, SEO, PPC and social media management. Get in touch with us today to discuss your marketing needs and unlock your business' potential.