Paid Search: What's Coming in 2017?

Will Campbell • 20th Mar 2017

In the world of Digital Marketing, and more specifically paid search, there is no such thing as a slow start to the year. It is hard to believe that we are now approaching the end of Q1 so we thought it would be an appropriate time to take a look back at the story so far this year. We’ll also take a look ahead to some of the developments and trends coming our way as we approach the summer.

Paid Search Continues to Consume More SERP Space

Towards the back end of 2016 we saw some drastic changes to how ads are displayed on Google with the largest change coming from the disappearance of the right-hand column ads. Changes weren’t solely reserved to the areas where ads were displayed – there were some substantial changes made to the actual ads (and extensions) too.

Advertisers were sent an early Christmas present last year from Google with the news that larger more enhanced ads would be made available for use and we have certainly seen some positive CTR and engagement gains for our clients. Our advice on this front would simply to be if you’re not using these ads as of yet then you should certainly do so in order to gain maximum efficiency from your campaigns. To round off the changes in this area we noticed in recent weeks Google testing new ad identifiers that will assist with blending the ads even further into the SERP. Without a doubt it’s a move by Google to disguise ads and create a more integrated and joined up looking results page. This change should help towards attracting clicks from users who may previously not have clicked on ads due to the fact that they were indeed ads.

Voice Search

We have been talking for months about Voice Search (no pun intended) and how we expect this to grow during mid 2017. Looking at the bigger picture for a second, we have seen some major developments in the growth of devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home so, in theory, 2017 could be the year we see major growth in this area of search.

With various developments to the adwords interface being seen, particularly within segmentation options, we may learn where searches are coming in from – both in terms of typing in the traditional manner or through voice search. A range of opportunities to customise messaging to the type of search, whether it be audio or text, would certainly be something worth “shouting” about.

Until more news is released by Google though, the best practice advice would simply to be to ensure that your site is voice search friendly and to stay tuned for further updates.

Increased Automation = Increased Efficiency?

Increasing the level of automation within a paid search account can be a tricky topic to approach and discuss with a fellow paid search manager. In our opinion this is a subject that can easily be misinterpreted, in that automation does not need to mean that accounts are no longer managed or left to the latest MAC to run – quite the opposite in fact.

Human management in our opinion will always be essential but what if there are a few tools out there that we can use to maximise ROI and efficiencies within paid search accounts? The latest hot topic in this area appears to be the advancement of scripts, that can be utilised and combined with smarter CPC bidding techniques to allow us to work more effectively with data and create more effective campaigns.

One of the best-known of these developments comes within Google shopping, where multiple new options are available to advertisers. For example, allowing them to automate parts of the shopping feeds to continually update prices and availability. This is particularly useful if Shopping is being utilised for clients with large-scale product inventory lists.

All this talk of ad formats, voice search and automation makes me think back to the very first paid search ad that was ever created – for live lobsters – and how far things have come both in terms of strategy and technological advancements alike. With this in mind, our advice would be to take advantage of these opportunities and not get left behind.

To find out more about how Lane Media can help your company or organisation do that, drop us an email at

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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