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Top 5 PPC Trends In 2024

Paid search is a constantly evolving field and companies that want to stay ahead in 2024 need to understand the pros and cons of the trends that are reshaping the landscape of online advertising. Here are the top 5 trends to keep an eye on:

  1. AI-Powered Features Expansion – Google Ads is set to introduce more sophisticated AI and machine learning tools. These advancements promise enhanced automated bid strategies, advanced audience targeting, and semi-autonomous ad creation, aiming to optimize campaign performance through predictive analytics.

The challenge here is that in most cases these tools don’t work as well as Google says they will.  Most marketers have learned the hard way that you need to test any new google product against the previous version to see which performs best.  

  1. Increased Automation and Smart Bidding – The automation trend continues with a bigger emphasis on smart bidding strategies like Target CPA and ROAS. This reflects a broader move towards leveraging AI for efficient campaign optimization, adjusting bids, and refining targeting to improve ad performance over time.

Most marketers will find that these automated bid strategies work much better for e-commerce than they do for lead generation.  When google sees a lead conversion and it can’t differentiate between a worthless lead and a valuable lead that means it’s AI can’t do a good job.

  1. Broad Match Emphasis – Google is encouraging the use of broad match keywords more than ever, relying on AI’s learning capabilities to fine-tune ad delivery according to the specified goals. This shift indicates a growing confidence in smart bidding’s ability to interpret and act on broad sets of data for better outcomes.

This is the trend that I push back on the most.  I have not had any success with Google’s AI fine tuning broad match terms, so I never use them.

  1. Growth of Video Advertising – Video advertising, particularly in short formats like YouTube Shorts, is expected to see significant growth. This trend is driven by the effectiveness of video content in engaging audiences and the competitive advertising landscape on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, prompting Google to simplify video ad creation and placement.

This makes a big difference for companies that have a message that can’t be communicated in a few lines of text.  Many companies need a 30 second or longer video to communicate anything meaningful about how they add value.

  1. Visual Search Experience – Search is becoming more visual. Expect to see further enhancements in how images are integrated into search ads, improving user engagement and ad effectiveness by offering more visually rich experiences.

We have seen Google run image extensions on more and more of the search ads that are shown and they have shown more and more images in the organic results as well.  At this point most searches for products result in a SERP that is by default a shopping page with lots of visual ads and selectable criteria on the left that can narrow the products shown.  This all means that high quality visuals will become a necessity.

Emerging technologies and changing consumer behaviors are also reshaping the paid search ecosystem. Trends like generative AI, voice and visual search advancements, new privacy and data regulations, and emerging ad formats are poised to influence paid search strategies significantly. Adapting to these trends and integrating new technologies into your paid search efforts will be essential for staying competitive and driving higher ROI in 2024.

If this all sounds overwhelming then you might consider reaching out to a Google Ads expert to help with your PPC campaigns.