Google's Search Engine experience could transform PPC marketing from the ground up, creating both incredible opportunities and challenges for marketers.
During SMX Next's expert panel, it was discussed how our industry might change.
Here follows a summary of their thoughts and insights.
What is SGE?
SGE is a big change from the traditional way searches work.
In the past, Google would display ten blue links for user queries, and when clicked, they would direct the user to the sites, generating traffic.
With SGE, the process changes – the answers to the questions are given directly in the search results, eliminating the need to click on links. This change may have major implications for website traffic.
- Regardless of the search query, you'll see answers and prompts where you can keep clicking to refine your search or get more information without ever leaving the search result.
- The machine learning can change the search query without the users having to do anything differently.
Advertising within SGE
The ads appear both above the SGE result and directly below it. However, ad placement may change when the feature is fully introduced.
- It is in Google's interest that ads generate clicks, so I think we can expect ads to have a high focus on how they will be seen in the very best way.
The reception of SGE
The expectation is that SGE will affect search and digital marketing, but the group does not believe in a quick impact of the technology. Because of this, I don't expect any significant changes in PPC metrics in the near future.
- I don't think the adoption of SGE will be as widespread in the foreseeable future as one might think.
- Remember when voice-controlled searches were going to be the big new thing? Then there was Google Assistant. We digital marketers, are all involved in SGE because we are marketers, but I don't see the general public being as affected as we are.
Impact on click-through rate (CTR)
When SGE is fully implemented, I believe advertisers will see a significant impact on click-through rates (CTR). As a specialist in Google Ads I think we will have to focus less on certain metrics and more on others.
- It feels like they don't want us to look at metrics like CTR, and instead focus on things like cost per action (CPA) and return on ad investment (ROAS). The same can be said for cost per click (CPC).
- I think we all have opinions here that CPCs can be too high. But the dialogue is definitely shifting from looking at CPCs to looking at pure ROI instead.
- That being said, I don't expect a huge change in what I would consider real performance values. I don't see it changing too much. That would put a damper on everyone's advertising — and probably Google's revenue as well.
PPC and SEO go together?
While I don't see big changes in PPC anytime soon, she envisions SGE changing the way SEO and PPC experts work together. As search behaviors and results evolve, PPC and SEO marketers will work more closely together.
- As marketers, we specialize, but specialists need to get better at communicating and collaborating with each other.
Impact on keyword analysis
I think search terms will look different as SGE launches and users understand how to use this new type of AI search engine. Specific searches for services and products will probably still be used, but searches will also be more structured as questions. This is because the AI-generated search result will be more reliable over time and users will want to find out which service and product is recommended based on the person's specific needs. Therefore, companies should have a more comprehensive strategy on how they cover fundamental issues that affect their business.
An example could be that a user instead searches like this: I have [these] needs and I am looking for a service that covers all of my needs.
In addition to having products and advertisements presented in a classic way, Google will also be able to justify why certain specific companies, services and products are recommended.
Make sure to have well-formulated pages that cover all possible aspects of user questions that may arise about your product range.
A new strategy
It is expected that the overall search volume will remain the same after SGE is launched. However, the search suggestions may change based on trends and user behaviour. He predicts that advertisers will show more interest in content that touches the top of the sales funnel, such as display and video advertising, which could affect the economic model and increase the number of ads in these areas.
I don't see Google taking control of user searches, but I do expect a change in how users are guided towards their final queries. This will likely affect the results but not necessarily the actual search volume.
How does this affect the way you write ads?
The challenge for Google with SGE is to naturally integrate ads into the search results without getting too salesy. The current method, where call-to-action phrases are compressed, can look out of place next to a conversation.
Unlike Bings pop-up ads Google's strategy requires a change in how we word our ads:
- We need to work with each asset in the ad separately. All elements can be seen individually and thus need to be formulated in such a way that the user can understand a car, text, CTA, etc. if they were to be presented individually.
- In some industries, Google will reword the content of the ads. It is therefore of great importance that you are clear enough so that this change does not become too dynamic.
Competitor analysis and SGE
The group agreed that knowing what the competition is saying is valuable, but it's crucial to take it with a grain of salt. The challenge lies in determining whether they are unique or just following Google's RSA suggestion (Responsive Search Ads). Don't forget that many are just as confused as you and are testing their content. I have previously taken over Google Ads accounts from large award-winning agencies that have not had the skills at all to drive successful results on Google.
In a competitive digital landscape where many use similar phrases, it becomes more important than ever to differentiate yourself.
Time to develop new skills
I advise PPC marketers to broaden their skills before the launch of SGE. The days of focusing on keyword analysis and fine-tuned marketing may soon be over. Instead, you need to review the whole of communication and work more with credibility in the industry.
It is the right moment to review your copywriting and graphic production. It's time to touch people and create a feeling around your brand.
Adfreak offers professional help with these pieces. In addition to 12 years of experience in Google Ads and search engine optimization, we can also help you with graphic design of the highest quality. Remember – quality is usually cheaper.