2014 Pay-Per-Click In Review

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set to end the PPCChat schedule for 2014 titled “2014 PPC In Review.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Enhanced Campaigns was the big story of 2013. What was the biggest 2014 PPC story? Why?

  • I pick close variant matching for exact match terms. Caused a lot of initial panic for people’s accounts/structures/etc. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Moving exact match to not really exact match was pretty big news, but I wouldn’t say the main focus. A lot of people are catching on to GDN and the power of hypertargeting your audience. – David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
  • I think ad customizers which were introduced in late 2014 will have a HUGE impact in the coming year. – Matt Umbro
  • Not the same standout as the EC migrations, but 2014 for e-commerce seemed to be the year Shopping took over (front & backend). – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • The forced rectal feeding that’s otherwise known as “phrase and exact variants” – AKA the abolition of phrase & exact matching. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • That’s tough. Perhaps the silence of Google. FB made a lot of progress in 2014. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • BingAds following suit with AdWords in taking away separate device targeting. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Google Call Tracking, PLA’s for non-products, “close variants”…hrmm, thinking. – Travis Phipps (@phipps)
  • The loss of true Exact Match in AdWords. Now Exact kwds serve for queries that don’t 100% match, & it costs $$$. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • Not necessarily a story but rather a theme – Google trying to move toward automation (ie: variants, customizers, bid strategies). – Matt Umbro
  • I think the increasing importance of shopping campaigns is the biggest difference from last year. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • BingAds had a strong year. Their UI overhaul was extra solid. – Kirk Williams
  • Search network w/ Display Select. Dynamic sitelinks as well. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • Probably a difference in biggest story vs. what has had greatest impact on each of us? – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Callout extensions, but that wasn’t earth shattering news or anything. – David Prochaska
  • Changes to ad extensions have been nice, mostly. Callout Extensions are a nice piece of real estate. – Jeff Loquist (@jmloquist)

Q2: What do you believe was the most underrated PPC change/update of 2014? Why?

  • Callout Extensions – there is a lot of room to play around there and not seeing a lot of people using them. – Jeff Loquist
  • Twitter Ads, especially lookalike audiences. – Robert Brady
  • Countdown ad customizers – why are so few advertising using these?!? – Matt Umbro
  • My initial thought is callout extensions. More real estate is always a good thing! – Kami Essig (@kkicks20)
  • Review Extensions. Did those roll out in 2014? – Travis Phipps
  • Addition of Ad Groups to Shopping Campaigns. Slipped in quietly, but makes segmentation/optimization much better for Shopping. Though I do like the Call-Out Extensions & Countdown Customizer a lot. – Kirk Williams
  • The tactical improvements from Google Shopping. Much easier to pull optimization levers. Happened kinda quietly. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Location Extensions are a smaller but still a real nice addition to campaigns, makes interaction easy. – Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
  • Harder to use in certain B2B, niche markets. Callout extensions are more userful here. – Joe Martinez
  • I thought the household income targeting was pretty cool too.. Or was that pre-2014? – Dave Rosborough
  • Most under the radar – dynamic sitelinks. Implications for AdWords taking away more options for control. – Julie Bacchini
  • I’d say the Shopping campaigns integration with the MCC in Adwords was a big step forward. – Ashley Addison (@AshleyLloydA)

Q3: What do believe was the most overrated PPC change/update of 2014? Why?

  • Bulk updates in the Adwords UI. So much easier to do in Editor. And the whole 4/22 thing. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • I know I’m going against popular opinion, but phrase and exact variants don’t bother me at all. – Matt Umbro
  • I’m not bothered by Phrase and Exact variants, they’re frustrating, but not the end of the world. – Jeff Loquist
  • Many of the things touted as “huge” were really not. After EC, this year feels a lot quieter. – Julie Bacchini
  • The April announcement for sure. – Joe Martinez
  • Definitly one of the most overated seen as you can segment by match type on any keyword anyhow. – Lawrence Jones
  • Close variants are a HUGE problem for some B2B advertisers where CPCs are $25 & up. – Melissa Mackey
    • Yes! For those where it has had a negative impact, it has been really bad with no good recourse. – Julie Bacchini
  • If I want broad match, I’ll use broad. Now there is only a choice of broad matches: broad, mod broad, phrase broad & exact broad. – Steve Gibson
  • I’d say 4/22, but considering it never came out, not much to rate. I’d probably go with Google’s Call Forwarding. – Leo Sussan (@lsussan)

Q4: How did your perception of paid search change in 2014? In what ways and why?

  • I only started working with paid search in 2014 so…….everything! – Lawrence Jones
  • I grew in appreciation and love for tweakable PPC landing pages. – Kirk Williams
  • Coming challenges for hyper local PPC adv, w/ challenges G has accurately locating people. – Julie Bacchini
  • Advertisers are losing control as more levers are being taken away. Yet we have more options than ever w/new tools.- Melissa Mackey
  • Keywords certainly aren’t dead, but more and more PPC pros have to adjust to audience based advertising. lso, dynamic ads continue to be more effective and less time consuming to create- Matt Umbro
  • It feels like we’re getting further away from the things that attracted me to ppc in 2006. (More techy, less marketing.) – Steve Givson
  • It became so much more complicated than it seemed before. Callouts, extensions, reviews–all work together in mysterious ways. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Became more fanatical about LPO(Landing Page Opt.) & CRO (Conversion Rate Opt.) it can make or break a campaign. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • RLSA has become even bigger impact player, that I thought it would be in 2014. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Google’s hooking other aspects of their business into Paid Media – YouTube, Forwarding (google voice), App Scripts, Analytics. – Leo Sussan
  • Not change so much solidify the idea of how committed Google is to simplify at the cost of control. – Kiko Correa (@obiwankikobi)
  • PPC is evolving drastically. Must understand much more the whole picture (Display, Cross Channel) Think just PPC=left behind. – Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
  • My focus shifted to value experience in the ads and landing pages and PPC performance improve greatly just from this. – Joe Martinez
  • I’m taking another friendlier look at the GDN. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • I actually have some positive bid modifiers for mobile on an ecomm client. – Lisa Sanner
  • App Promotions, Social Extensions, etc. PPC is no longer an island. Consolidation and product expansion is the trend. – Leo Sussan
  • I care less about “control” of CPC costs, and more about conv rates. That has changed everything. I fell in love with YouTube advertising. – Travis Phipps
  • Engines keep taking away granular control. Not worried NOW, but wonder what this could lead to in 3+ years. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Pushing PPC for Content Marketing to the front lines of our content marketing initiatives was a big shift. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • I’ve become very interested in the sheer power of AdWords scripts as well this year. So powerful and so many possibilities. – Dave Rosborough
  • It’s evolving away from traditional text based advertising and focusing more on engagement. – Ashley Addison

Q5: As we enter 2015, what is your top paid search initiative and/or focus area? Why?

  • Get better at audience-based PPC. Need to take it to the next level. – Melissa Mackey
  • I will be focusing much more on dynamic copy between shopping, remarketing, and traditional text ads. – Matt Umbro
  • Planning for the inevitable boom of GA Segment-Based Remarketing, a la the GDN. – Leo Sussan
  • I want to keep digging into Google Shopping & doing it better, figuring out better campaign strategies, neg kws, etc. – Kirk Williams
  • Probably the optimisation of shopping feeds. It’s gonna be a thrilling year! /sarcasm. – Steve Gibson
  • Attribution modeling and optimization across channels. Tools/platforms are finally making data actionable. – Lisa Sanner
  • Tying mobile call data back to keyword level. Possible I know – just need to implement. – Josh Kelson
  • Remarketing or retargeting or whatever you prefer to call it. When done well, it can be truly fab! – Julie Bacchini
  • Shore up my B2B marketing skills, inlcuding utilizing LinkedIn etc. Not bad at it but definitely weaker than with ecommerce. – Bryant Garvin
  • PPC attribution to LTV. A better focus on PPC attribution reporting as it relates to specific channels. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • Introducing more new customers to our Brand through PPC then placing them into retention programs. – Dave Rosoborough
  • Gotta become the master of more channels/platforms. – Robert Brady
  • All around remarketing improvement including RLSAs and SCM. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • I need to spend more time on CRO. Not doing enough testing as I’d like. – Joe Martinez
  • Automation (ie: scripts, bid strats, etc), increase volume, and focus on CRO. More Revenue. I basically want it all. – Travis Phipps
  • Landing page testing, re-testing, and testing some ‘mo. LPs are what make or break a paid search program. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • In-app ads. Still great room for understanding and targeting according to user intent there. – Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
  • With mobile traffic on the rise every quarter it is imperative to optimize accounts to work well across every platform. – Lawrence Jones
  • Definitely automation. AdWords Scripts! – Theresa Zook
  • Tag management and attribution modeling. It’s gonna be a thing. That messes with other things. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • CRO testing will become a focus in 2015 as we look to squeeze water from the rocks of already profitable campaigns. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Expand beyone search… Testing new paid mediums, platforms and content as viable. – James Svoboda
  • Figuring out attribution b/c mktg channels. Must break inter-dept silos & educate non-SEMers. No small task. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Co-optimization testing, finding the right balance between SEO & Paid, how they compliment each other. – Maria Corcoran (@maricorcoran)
  • for us it’s aligning clicks and bricks for all locations (dealer networks) and building out a large remarketing web for 3 tier. – Ira Kates (@IraKates)

Q6: What was the most important tip/tactic you learned in PPCChat in 2014? Why?

  • Without a doubt Martin Roettgerding’s shopping feed stuff. – Richard Fergie
  • You should really make time and make it to PPCChat. – Jeff Loquist
  • As being mostly B2B, it’s always great to hear PLA tips to keep myself as updated as possible. Always good feedback here. – Joe Martinez
  • I found that an LP solution (e.g., Unbounce) is practically essential for independent contractors with smaller Lead Gen clients. – Kirk Williams
    • Hands down they are the best at what they do. Solid LPs are essential on the Lead Gen side. – Luke Alley
      • Yes, also LPs that can be easily tested and changed. Had no idea it was that easy to throw a good looking LP up. – Kirk Williams
  • If you have a question, there are several generous PPC pros who will answer. Like your own personal bat-signal. – Robert Brady
  • Whilst it isnt a huge tip, Extra real estate with extensions is a nice boost to CTR %. – Lawrence Jones
  • I need to get into Mobile Apps and Ads. Not kidding. If G puts this much emphisis on them, then… – James Svoboda
  • Knowing that we are all figuring out the curveballs. Sometimes it’s the really little but powerful tidbits! – Julie Bacchini
  • I recently discovered the “Resubmit Your Ads” button on disapprovals. in the AW UI That’s helpful. – Lisa Sanner
  • Most important thing of 2014 was learning ABOUT PPCChat! Only a month, but glad to be here! – Josh Kelson


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Ashley Addison (@AshleyLloydA)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
• David Prochaska (@DavidProHQ)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Ira Kates (@IraKates)
• Jeff Loquist (@jmloquist)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kami Essig (@kkicks20)
• Kiko Correa (@obiwankikobi)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
• Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Maria Corcoran (@maricorcoran)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Travis Phipps (@phipps)

Streamcapping Throughout 2014 and Beyond

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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