PPC Marketing and Digital Marketing Trends of Focus for 2021

This article discusses trends that will influence PPC Advertising, PPC Marketing, Performance Marketing eCommerce Strategies and more.

The pandemic’s impact on digital marketing  

Thanks to the effects caused by Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the people’s drive to purchase almost everything online has exploded. Thus, many retailers with established physical shops had to move most of their activity online.

We say “thanks to the effects” because this phenomenon increased tenfold the income of many companies, and the budgets that were directed towards rents, salaries and other expenses required to maintain a physical store before have now been optimized and invested for acquiring visibility in the online environment. Although the trend of having an online shop is not new, the benefits are now more tangible. 

Global revenue from online sales is estimated to reach $6.54 billion, compared to an estimated $3.53 billion in 2019. This is a major growth that brings new possibilities for optimization (especially for digital marketing agencies) and evolution of online stores. 

Voice Search SEO / PPC

One of the most promising trends in 2021 is the optimization for voice searches (Voice SEO & PPC), supported by devices and voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Smart Home, Google Assistant, Siri and others. In terms of website content, the emphasis will be on Voice SEO optimization, while in PPC / Performance Marketing, the campaigns will be focused on the most relevant keywords for a certain niche, so that the user can find what he is looking for as quickly and easy as possible.

PPC campaigns optimization will be based on a new type of keywords, according to location, distance, interest and other custom changes.

An example can be a search for the nearest gas station. Normally, in this case the keyword would be gas station, but now, more relevant keywords are nearby gas station or gas station on my route.

AI / Machine Learning Algorithms

The trend will be supported by search algorithms based on artificial intelligence and machine learning technology (MLA) where, unlike the targeting system used in the past, we are talking about anticipating the user’s needs and studying daily patterns. Thus, this system will be able to provide even more relevant results for the user’s needs and searches.

Google Page Experience Update – Gpex

The new Google update will dramatically change the interaction between the website and the user, both in terms of infrastructure and UI / UX design. GPex will measure many aspects regarding the user’s interaction with a website as a result of a search or a PPC campaign ad.

According to Google, the focus will be on the newly defined Engagement rate (term used to replace Bounce rate), and the relevant metrics will be the time spent on the website (Dwell rate) – minimum 10 seconds or 2 interactions, the relevance of visited pages, and the user’s interaction with the page (scroll, content view, click etc.). 

eCommerce Automation & Sustainability

The new changes will result in the optimization of the logistics structure of a company operating on an eCommerce platform. The increasing flow will need to be supported by stock automation, packing & shipping, call center and support systems, but also production systems of the marketed products.

Although it seems like a paradox, the effective sustainability of the procurement and production system will be extremely important – from ecological footprint and free trade systems to a nonconformist digital and offline marketing, targeted on cultures and subcultures.

New PPC Regulations in 2021

In 2021 we will see some changes in terms of reporting, audience metrics and channels for paid advertising campaigns.

Let’s take Apple’s decision, where, following the new iOS 14 update, users will be greeted by a prompt asking them if they will give their explicit consent on the collection of additional data and preferences. This will have an impact on Facebook reports – precisely Pixel reports – where the degree of accuracy for retargeting and conversion measurement will be significantly lower.

WhatsApp witnessed a mass migration of their users, who decided to choose the competition’s services following the changes brought to the app’s Terms and Conditions. Basically, the paragraph that guaranteed that data and conversations between users are private has been replaced with a new one, that allows the disclosure of information, preferences and data relevant to third party apps that ask for it – including Facebook.

Mostly, the new regulations were already implemented in 2014, this new change being postponed by three months (for May 2021) because of the public’s reaction. In the European Community, the update will not yet be implemented, thanks to the GDPR laws in force.

In terms of marketing, it is certain that WhatsApp is a valuable platform, with a real estate of ads with enormous potential. Currently, in Romania, the option to allow ads publishing on WhatsApp is introduced, but not yet available.

Facebook announced that will be removing its 28-day attribution window for Facebook ads, meaning that marketers will not longer be able to track direct actions based on their campaigns for a longer period of time.

In essence, attribution models use contact points specified in the Facebook advertising process, providing more specific information on the chosen metric. This, in some respects, allows marketers to learn more about the real impact of their ads. But now, the capacity will be limited to only 7 days, with a more general presentation than the one we were used to.

Facebook also states that, “specifically”, these changes will limit the ability to:

  • Effectively deliver ads to users 
  • Measure and report conversions from specific users 
  • Accurately assign conversions from iOS 14 users
  • Predict and optimize the cost per action over time and efficiently allocate budgets

Event limits

Facebook will limit you to 8 conversion events per domain. This includes Pixel events, such as page views and conversions, and custom conversions – if your ads are optimized for events that aren’t in the top 8, these ads will be paused.

The evolution and continuous emphasis of the video as dominant advertising channel

In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook could be mostly comprised of videos by 2021, and we can certainly see the effects as we move into 2021.

According to WordStream, “video is, on average, 10% of the cost of carousel or single image ads”.

According to Jeff Bullas, compared to a static post, users will also spend 5 times more time on a post that contains a video.

According to this data, 69% of marketers say video ads outperform image and plain text ads on Facebook in terms of ROI.

The evolution of Facebook groups and Facebook group ads

During Super Bowl LIVE, Facebook spent about $10 million to run a 60-second ad, with the sole purpose of promoting Facebook groups.

In addition, Facebook has recently undergone a redesign to put more emphasis on groups, placing this feature in the navigation bar and providing group posts with an algorithm-based feed.

And if Facebook decided to go all-in on a feature like Groups, we should probably follow this trend.

Facebook has been relatively secretly testing Facebook Group Ads since late 2019.

With the continuous growth in group’s popularity and considering Facebook’s pressure to make this feature an important part of the platform, we would not be surprised if they launch ads for Facebook Groups in 2021.

An obvious clue was the move made by Facebook when they introduced the algorithm-based feed in groups. Wherever there is an algorithm, there is no better involvement in terms of generating money.

Improving or adding new ad formats

Currently, we can differentiate between approximately 16 types of ads on Facebook:

  • Image
  • Video
  • Page Likes
  • Lead Generation
  • Carousel
  • Collection
  • Engagement
  • Slides
  • Instant experience (ex-Canvas)
  • Dynamic
  • Messenger
  • Stories
  • Playable
  • AR ads
  • App Installs
  • Branded Content
  • Search Ads

Although most of these types of ads are not new, Facebook continues to refine it for a better user experience and better results for marketing agencies.

For example, lately, Facebook has continued to update the ad types by:

  • Adding polls to video ads
  • Launching the Creator Studio mobile app
  • Updating Story announcements with the possibility to start Messenger conversations
  • Allowing marketers to drive traffic to a mobile optimized shopping experience, on the platform, for automatically generated stock ads
  • Adding more text options
  • Extending dynamic product ads

Thus, when it comes to Facebook advertising in 2021, we can expect more updates to the ad formats we already know, and possibly new ad formats, such as Group Ads.

We expect to see many more augmented reality ads from big brands aiming to immerse users in a product experience, and more tools from Facebook to make advertising easier.

For small businesses, we expect an increase in using video ads and more tools, such as surveys launched on Facebook, to make video advertising even more attractive.

Like Google, Facebook will stress more on the user experience – UX Feedback

Facebook is using a variety of information, including surveys from people who have purchased your products, to help verify if you are meeting customer expectations.

Then, based on this information, they give a feedback score.

Your feedback score is actually a rating between 0 and 5, with 0 being the lowest score and 5 being the best.

According to Facebook:

  • For Pages more than a year old:

If the Page’s score drops between 1 and 2, the page will see an ad delivery restriction applied to its ads.

This means its ads will reach fewer people for the same budget.

If the Page’s score drops below 1, it won’t be allowed to advertise.

  • For Pages less than a year old:

If the Page’s score drops below 2, it won’t be allowed to advertise.

To check the feedback score you can simply access: https://www.facebook.com/ads/customer_feedback/and choose the Facebook Page you are interested in.

Currently, the feedback score targets accounts that sell products, but we expect the feedback score to be applied (with the purpose of ensuring customer satisfaction) also for accounts that provide services or miscellaneous.