Earlier this week, I headed down to the Lone Star State for Pubcon’s Austin conference. I’ll admit, I was looking forward to binging on tacos 3x a day, crushing margaritas on Rainey Street and playing giant Jenga on 6th, but most importantly, I was pumped to have the opportunity to listen to and present alongside some of the brightest minds in the digital marketing industry. The crew over at Pubcon always manages to pull together a brilliant group of SEMs and content marketers and this event was no different.
Given that my focus is primarily paid search, it can be easy to lose track of changes and trends occurring in the greater digital marketing eco-system. No doubt, many of these changes will eventually impact the PPC world, so it’s helpful to get the scoop early on. Here are 5 fascinating trends that were revealed by the experts at this year’s Pubcon Austin.
#1: 1 in 3 of all Google searches has local intent. –Jordan Kasteler
In the past few years, it’s gotten considerably easier to find things nearby online. Rather than having to indicate your physical location to Google manually (either through Search Tools or keywords), Google wised up and now uses more advanced methods (IP address, device GPS, proxy tools, etc.) to identify your location.
As a result, searchers’ behaviors have shifted; now, instead of using keywords like “pizza in Back Bay, Boston” we assume that Google already knows where we are and instead use terms like “pizza near me.”
Although Jordan presented this data in the context of SEO, it’s an important trend for PPC account managers to recognize, too. As more searchers hunt for (and expect) locally-based information, location-specific ad copy, extensions and Google Maps advertising will become increasingly important!
#2: 74% of people will abandon a mobile site that takes more than 5 seconds to load. –Simon Bolger, Google
Ouch! When I first heard this stat, I thought to myself, what’s with all of these impatient people? It’s only 5 seconds…and then I realized, I definitely fall into that majority who grows aggravated when a mobile site doesn’t load swiftly.
Simon stressed the need for advertisers to think mobile-first. If your mobile site isn’t fast, user-friendly, and consistent with your non-mobile content, the majority of visitors won’t stick around and they definitely won’t return.
It’s critical that PPC advertisers take this advice to heart. More search traffic than ever is originating from mobile devices (it’s even surpassed that of desktops and tablets!). We work tirelessly to ensure that our ads actually appear on the competitive mobile SERP and spend hours writing ads that are compelling to mobile searchers. After all of this hard work, the very thought of someone clicking on an ad, only to bounce a few seconds later due to crappy load times is downright painful.
#3: Word of mouth is the primary factor between 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. –Michelle LeBlanc, Industrium
I hate to break it to you, my fellow marketers, but our prospects trust their friends’ opinions of our products way more than they trust what we say. Michelle explained that the key to “getting the word out” is to focus on influencers, who can be powerful mouthpieces for your business.
Far too many of us equate influencers to celebrities or big-time journalists. However, Michelle pointed out that, depending on your business, an influencer can really be anyone-ranging from happy customers to industry bloggers to popular instagrammers.
Does this data really impact PPC advertisers? It sure does. Take advantage of the power of third-party opinions by enabling review extensions for your ads. You may also consider including customer reviews and testimonials or quotes from industry publications on your landing pages. Remember, an endorsement from an influencer can go a long way.
#4: 89% of marketers think attribution is important, but 66% use a single-touch attribution model. –Mark Irvine, WordStream
Attribution may not be the sexiest aspect of advertising, but it’s pretty darn important. The good news is, most of us DO recognize that proper attribution is valuable, we just haven’t gotten our acts together and implemented a model that tells the complete story of our customers’ journeys.
With a single-touch attribution model, Mark explained that marketers are forced to make decisions in the dark. For example, let’s say you’re a PPC agency working for a client that uses last-touch attribution. The client sees that most of his conversions are coming from paid search, so he reallocates his marketing budget to heavily favor paid search. He kills all TV ads, fires the SEO guy, stops producing content and writes you a big fat check to use on his AdWords account.
Would you be thrilled or terrified? You should be TERRIFIED. Chances are, those other channels were generating and nurturing many of the people who converted via paid search. By ignoring these assisted conversions, the client will likely find himself in a tough situation.
There’s no doubt about it, attribution modeling isn’t fun, but it is eye-opening. Take the time to understand conversion paths and assisted conversion metrics-it’s well worth your while!
#5: Display ad spend surpasses search this year. –Robert Brady, Clix Marketing
I have to admit, I didn’t see this coming, but Robert had the stats to prove it! According to an eMarketer study that he shared, expected search ad spend for 2016 falls around $29.24 billion, while display ad spend rings in at $32.17 billion.
Given this shift in the marketplace, Robert encouraged attendees to reduce their focus on keyword targeting and begin growing their advertising efforts through audience targeting.
Sure, venues like the Google Display Network, Facebook and Twitter don’t target an active searcher, so they rarely yield the same click-through and conversion rates as the Search Network. The key with these networks is to target super-specific people who display your ideal audiences’ traits. This is the perfect way to fill your funnel with brand new, (likely) qualified prospects and nurture existing leads. As these networks become more and more sophisticated, we’ll see advertisers investing more time and money into them. It’s definitely time for us PPCers to embrace the GDN and the paid social space.
Our crew, having far too much fun at Pubcon Austin. Join us for Vegas!
These five points are just the tip of the iceberg-there was a ton of great knowledge shared at this week’s show. If you want to check out more presentations from Pubcon Austin, the crew at Kangadillo has been curating a list of slide shares here. Even better, get the low-down first hand by signing up for the next big show, Pubcon Las Vegas, in October. I, for one, am already counting down the days until I’m guzzling martinis on the strip, gambling away my bonus checks and learning SEM from the best of the best.
About the Author
Erin Sagin is a PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream. She was named the 3rd Most Influential PPC Expert of 2015 by PPC Hero. When she’s able to take a break from paid search, you’ll find her practicing her hula-hooping skills or planning her next trip to Latin America. You can follow Erin on Twitter and Google+.
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