3 critical PPC lessons from 2020 for a brilliant 2021
With the right tools, PPC prospect can set the strategy for automations to follow when unexpected shiftts happen. be with us in mag digital.
The last 10 months or so have given PPC pros a crash course in adaptability, originality and elegant marketing. Those who succeeded in pandemic-era PPC deserve some kind of advanced honorary degree in “PPC’ology.” In many examples, smart, effective PPC has literally saved brands from the point of devastation.
But let’s face it, PPC pros have been in a near-constant state of reinvention since PPC first became a thing. Compared to other marketing disciplines such as print and broadcast, we’re in our adolescence at best, which is an exciting place to be. 2020 just made us do a lot more reinventing and adapting in a very short period.
The tumult of the past several months may be a hidden gift. Smart PPC pros are now well-positioned to use the tools at their removal to help brands ride a wave of recovery while adapting to new standards in the way people use search to do commerce.
PPC automation: 2020’s lessons for a banner 2021
We’ve talked about the power and surprises of PPC automation at great length over the past year, in particular. It was the main topic of our October 21, 2020, Search Engine Land article and was a recurring topic during our now-bi-weekly, virtual PPC Town Hall, which was founded in response to the pandemic.
Now, we want to extend the discussion beyond how we work in highly automated channels and link in lessons learned during the fantastic and unpredictable months of the recent past. Sure, automation makes it easy to do basic PPC, but it also makes it easy to be lazy. Don’t be lazy. Take some cues from 2020 and learn to adapt and be great. Predicting and reacting quickly to behavioral changes using a smart mix of automated tools and manual controls can keep you ahead of the crew.
Lesson 1: Homebodies still do commerce
Early in the pandemic, many people worried that economic and employment concerns would wipe out spending. In many examples, it did the opposite. Pandemic purchasing skyrocketed in many areas. Those who predicted the changes won.
More time at home led to more spending on home improvement, home office goods, consumer electronics, landscaping services, and other things to make quarantining more tolerable.
Closed gyms led to skyrocketing demand for bicycles, home fitness gear, kayaks, and online health coaching.
Less air travel and more ground travel helped move people to get a better ride. Auto dealers who understood changing motivators and used tools like Campaign Automator to prioritize the right inventory got a lot of money in 2020.
Many factors show that a lot of companies and employees now welcome more flexibility and remote working arrangements. People have enjoyed gaining back an hour or more of their day otherwise spent in traffic jams. And as we saw from the points above, people normally try to make the best of their situation. It’s this combination of factors showered by what happened in 2020 that may well lead to an endless change in how people engage with brands and conduct business (on and off company time).
As PPC pros, we can succeed by focusing more on our strategic roles and letting the machines handle the boring and repetitive button-pushing that we once did ourselves. But let’s be evident, humans are an an important part of the formula.
for PPC success in 2021 and beyond.
As consumer behaviors continue to morph in unexpected ways in response to societal and pandemic-related pressures, the machines cannot succeed on their own—artificial intelligence and machine learning use historical trends and data.
While the machine can change requests in response to external factors affecting conversion rates, it cannot decide that a company should change its distribution model and rewrite all its ads to highlight a considerable new trend in 2020: BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store). A big lesson from 2020 was that repeatedly changing dynamics on the ground can send signals the machines can use to avoid wasted ad spend, but not always in ways to help businesses capture new chances.
PPC pros have a chance (and a responsibility) to develop the tools at their disposal AND apply deeper strategic insight to ensure the machines are doing the best they can to reach audiences through paid search.
Relying only on the platform tools won’t work in 2021 and beyond. The native, disparate automation within Google, Bing, Amazon, and Facebook can certainly work for basic paid searches. Even, they are not well suited to the demands of advanced PPC marketers who aim for stellar outcomes.
The evolving landscape for digital marketing in 2021 will need PPC pros to remain at the forefront of developments and chances. PPC rockstars will be those who maximize all the tools at their removal this year.
Lesson 2: People LOVE convenience, making eCommerce an omnipotent king
Okay, on the surface, the importance of comfort is self-evident. But during the past several months, the desire for safety and security made people double down on the need for ease and convenience. Smart PPC marketers are looking more holistically at their marketing mix. Some things to assess:
The concept of “search” extends way beyond Google and Bing. Searches are happening everywhere, containing Amazon and Facebook (Marketplace, in particular).
People don’t just search on one channel. They may start in Google before searching for an equally used item in Marketplace, and then may look to purchase from convenience-leader, Amazon.
The change to remote work gave most people a lot more screen time. Some may have even done a little shopping on company time! (and will probably continue to do so).
People need to eat. Many might avoid indoor restaurants for a long time to come, but they might have fallen in love with restaurant food delivered to their door.
Being a one-trick PPC pony doesn’t cut it anymore. Cross-channel PPC marketing is where the winners fly. Effective, unified campaigns managed from a single interface put more power in PPC marketers’ hands to meet customers where they are and how they are behaving.
With Optmyzr, advertisers can optimize each channel independently to make the most of its remarkable capacities and then do a cross-platform budget optimization that prioritizes ad spend in the best-performing channels.
Lesson 3: Supply chain disruptions can wreak havoc on the ability to sell
Even during “normal” times, businesses still struggle with predictability in their supply chains and delivery channels. Little disruptions can end in enormous challenges in meeting customer needs.
From toilet paper and hand sanitizer to mountain bikes or available time places on ski slopes, the supply chain and available inventories can put huge limits on the ability to sell. The global pandemic changed “unpredictable” into a daily norm over the past several months and challenged marketers even further to restore ACTUAL sales.
Disruptions far upstream in the supply chain can make it almost impossible to predict the ability to achieve, especially when demand suddenly surges.
Disparate data sources across supply channels can further mix up a marketer’s ability to know what to market and when to do so.
A big enough disruption, even for a short time, can have a months-long impact.
With the recently redesigned Campaign Automator from Optmyzr, advertisers can assure their ads are hyper-focused on just those products that are ready to be bought. After prescribing templates for account structure, ad text, keywords, and extensions, the tool automatically builds the necessary campaigns and ad groups to advertise the available inventory. It even makes the ads more appropriate by letting advertisers put in dynamic elements such as lowest price, number of product variants (e.g. ‘available in 5 colors’), or limited availability to invest a sense of hurry (e.g. ‘just 3 left’).