PPC in 2016

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts the last PPCChat of 2016 with a great question set titled “PPC In 2016.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What was the biggest PPC story in 2016? Why?

  • ETAs – because everyone doing search can use them (unlike many features) and b/c of great performance. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • First place: Google Removing Right Side Ads. Second place: Expanded Text Ads. Whys: Because RHS removal hit all aspects of SERP. Bigger Text Ads with ETA still big, but not as big of an entire SERP impact. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • ETAs, ETAs, ETAs… More characters allowing for more information in your ads. Need to come up with new strategies/messaging. – Jonah Pessin (@Jonah_Pessin)
  • The biggest story was the reorganization of the search listings – from removal of sidebar ads to ETAs. – Matt Umbro
  • New SERP layout with no rightside text ads. Definitely saw a change in performance with more competition. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Expanded Text Ads – Hands down the biggest PPC story – 2 headlines and more description. Started using Google adwords after right side ad removal, so fo me that wasn’t a factor. – Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
  • The new and improved search results pages. Then expanded text ads. – Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
  • Expanded Text Ads even bigger than right side removal. – Peter Thistle (@PeterThistle)
  • FYI, ETAs by themselves didn’t represent a huge change – if you were smart you were using extended headlines already. – Matt Umbro
  • ETAs as the biggest, followed by removal of right hand ads, total redo! – Ana Kostic (@akostic_t)
  • Removal of ads from right hand side. Though not as big an impact as I expected. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • 1. ETAs, 2. SERP Reorganization. ETAs actively changed everyone’s approach whereas the SERP Reorg was a passive change. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Honestly, as big as right hand ads removal and ETAs were, they weren’t totally unexpected changes. In fact, they made sense. – Matt Umbro
  • Removal of side bar was big, but damn, the industry beat this to death. So over it. – Eric Louis (@eld3000)

Q2: What do you believe was the most underrated PPC change/update of 2016? Why?

  • Campaigns’ groups. – Gianpaolo Lorusso (@Gianps)
  • Promoted pins. I think this could be huge for some businesses. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • ETA’s again. It hasn’t even fully rolled out yet, that January deadline is looming. So a big story and under-rated. – Terry Porter
  • The most underrated announcement was Demographics for Search Ads – setting bid modifiers per age/gender is huge. Once Google is able to refine/be more precise with user demographics, this feature will be much more powerful. – Matt Umbro
  • Personally newer ad extensions have been performing great for me: click-to-message, price, affiliate as well as betas. – Joe Martinez
  • ETA’s. I think they are a big deal and have a huge impact. But the delay in the deadline signals that many didn’t adopt. – Steve Slater (@TheSteve_Slater)
  • Bid modifier by device, mainly because it acknowledges failings of Enhanced campaigns. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Attribution model changes in AdWords. Able to see more impact of your non-brand, top of the funnel keywords. – Jonah Pessin
  • New ad extensions are working really well and we have more to choose from. – Ana Kostic
  • How about all the new extensions? I love the price extensions but haven’t see many wanting to do message extensions. – Jennifer Denney (@Denney01)
  • Attribution model. It gives so much insights about the customer journey, first vs. last interaction. – Fanny Heuck (@FannyHeuck)
  • This may have been a series of silent updates, but automated bidding in eCPC and CPA/ROAS bidding have improved so much in 2016. – Mark Irvine

Q3: What do you believe was the most overrated PPC change/update of 2016? Why?

  • Reports in Adwords. I *never* use them. – Melissa Mackey
    • I agree here. I have used them a couple of times this last week and I should use them more. – Steve Slater
  • Removal of sidebar ads. – Gyi Tsakalakis (@gyitsakalakis)
  • Demographics in search. As this evolves it could be a better way to structure accounts. Perhaps by demo instead of geo. – Eric Louis
  • Right rail removal. It was way overblown, but most didn’t see much change. – Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
  • Responsive display ads. IMO they stilll look like crap. I’ll stick to having clients design their own. I don’t like the possibility of the entire ad message not showing up every time. It’s the control freak in me. – Joe Martinez
  • ETAs. I wonder if we will ever STFU about ETAs. Results were overwhelmingly mixed, yet the industry kept blogging about. – Eric Louis
  • Tablet bid modifiers. – Gianpaolo Lorusso
  • ETAs. Just nowhere the impact people were expecting. – Steve Gibson
  • Bids per devices. Tablets, mobile and desktop. Not a revolutionary move, it was just about time. – Fanny Heuck
  • Haven’t seen too much about all the maps based ads they announced early in 2016. – Frederick Vallaeys (@siliconvallaeys)

Q4: How did your perception of PPC change in 2016? In what ways and why?

  • The biggest change for me is that Google can and will do more to improve as social platforms get better. – Steve Slater
  • Not sure this is a wholesale shift, but I’m thinking more “audiences” and less “keywords” than ever before. – Melissa Mackey
  • Value of FB ads for lead gen has grown IMO – new and better ad formats, more experimentation with targeting. – Timothy Jensen
  • Perhaps not “change” but 2016 was another significant move toward more paid clicks. – Gyi Tsakalakis
  • 2016 was my first year in PPC marketing for my company, so it didn’t. Other than my new awareness that there is an ad auction. – Terry Porter
  • It’s getting so much more complex, I feel I have a zillion options and optimization points 2016 has exploded in ‘options’. – Ana Kostic
  • The necessity for social grew big. And even though I hate term “micro moments,” the focus on better nurture marketing grew too. – Joe Martinez
  • A lot of change on Google was the result of sucess from FB. Audience, Demo, and other solutions were to stay competitive w FB. – Mark Irvine
  • In no way in particular. Google’s objectives haven’t changed, and their tech hasn’t moved forwards significantly. – Steve Gibson
  • AdWords is getting mobile first – message extension, ETA ads are responsive, crossselling device conversions. – Fanny Heuck
  • A lot more lifecycle marketing as opposed to just bottom of the funnel. – JD Prater (@jdprater)
  • PPC is just a channel. Traditional marketing is quite interesting.If it’s not fundamentally sound it won’t fly on search. – Eric Louis

Q5: With the end of 2016 almost here, what advice would you give someone starting in the PPC industry in 2017?

  • Follow @larrykim @martyweintraub and @ppchero #ppcchat. – Steve Slater
  • 1) Read all you can 2) Bone up on marketing basics 3) Participate in #ppcchat. – Melissa Mackey
  • Get google certified. You need to know the basics. – Jennifer Denney
  • Follow #ppcchat and other people on Twitter, stay up on blogs and updates. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • Find a mentor. – Tim Halloran
  • Know your business first before you advertise with PPC. Learn console. Use ads that differentiate you from the competition. – Terry Porter
  • Read, read and read some more. Knowledge is the fastest way to make up for inexperience. – JD Prater
  • Understand the psychology behind the kw you are bidding on. Why is someone searching for that? – Steve Slater
  • As boring as it might be, read through the documentation! For news @ppchero #ppcchat. – Ana Kostic
  • I might say to learn social first and then search. Understand audience targeting before keyword targeting. – Matt Umbro
    • Be warned that you may never want to leave social. – JD Prater
      • If I entered PPC for the first time in 2016, I’d probably think Search was boring! – Matt Umbro
  • Track all your conversions first and then follow #ppcchat. – Gianpaolo Lorusso
  • Always remember you’re a marketer. You’ll always have to connect with an audience, meet their needs and prove the "why" message. – Joe Martinez
  • Spend your own $$ to learn search, document results on a blog. – Eric Louis
  • Never stop learning even if you think you know it all. You never know when you need that one strategy you forgot about. – Jennifer Denney
  • Understand the "why". Know why things are happening or why the results look the way they do. – Melissa Mackey
  • Button up you EXTAs and remarketing ads – we won’t be able to edit traditional ads much longer. – Steve Kaczorowski (@stevekaczoro)
  • Learn those confusing Marketing Acronymns via @Flipboard! – Terry Porter
  • Know your buyer persona well, their touchpoints and stay tune to all new features via @WordStream or Adwords YouTube channel. – Fanny Heuck
  • Don’t forget to read older Direct Response Advertising books to teach universal principle- Still works on digital. – Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
  • Learn Excel, or my fav, google sheets. – David Cox
  • Learn real effing marketing. Then learn the channels. Don’t do it like I did. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)

Q6: Aside from spam, how do you believe PPCChat can be improved in 2017? 

  • Take it to @reddit. – Gyi Tsakalakis
  • I’m new to PPCchat this year, so i think it’s pretty awesome. You’re doing Great! – David Cox
  • I felt there were more diverse topics this year. No need for improvement. Just keep it going. – Joe Martinez
  • Block & report spammers 🙂 And I think just keep participating in the discussion, esp throughout the week. – Melissa Mackey
  • More B2B topics would be awesome. – Andrea Cruz (@andreacruz92)
  • Stop focusing just on PPC agencies and their clients. More B2B slant. Reach out more to In-House Marketers. Broden the focus. – Terry Porter
  • More polls & sharing more case studies w/ each other #ppcchat. Example: where do you spend most of your budget? – Steve Kaczorowski

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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)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
• Ana Kostic (@akostic_t)
• Andrea Cruz (@andreacruz92)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Eric Louis (@eld3000)
• Fanny Heuck (@FannyHeuck)
• Frederick Vallaeys (@siliconvallaeys)
• Gianpaolo Lorusso (@Gianps)
• Gyi Tsakalakis (@gyitsakalakis)
• JD Prater (@jdprater)
• Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
• Jennifer Denney (@Denney01)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Jonah Pessin (@Jonah_Pessin)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Peter Thistle (@PeterThistle)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Steve Kaczorowski (@stevekaczoro)
• Steve Slater (@TheSteve_Slater)
• Terry Porter (@TPorter2)

Writing Streamcaps in 2016 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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