5 Things We Learned at Google’s “Search in 2017 & Beyond” Event

By Kimberly Honoré in Paid Search on April 5th, 2017

A couple of BKVers attended an event at the Atlanta Google office on March 29th. The topic was “Search in 2017 & Beyond.” Needless to say, we were fascinated. Here are the main takeaways:

1. Mobile is STILL Growing:

Over 2 Trillion searches occur on Google annually, and despite over 50% of queries occurring on Mobile devices, many advertisers are lagging behind in terms of making sure they’re offering the best user experience on mobile. A slew of advertisers are still thinking in a desktop-first mindset, and in this day in age, that doesn’t make sense! There are expected to be 5 Billion devices by 2020 (we’re at the halfway point now) with people owning multiple devices, so you want to make sure you’re moving towards a mobile-first mindset. And, with the emergence of devices like Google Home, you’ll want to stay abreast of all upcoming changes to the search landscape (such as voice search) so that you aren’t left in the dust when major changes occur.

2. Paid SEM Ads May Become More Visual:

Google is currently testing more visual Search ads with the help of Visual Sitelinks, Rich Snippets, and Rich Cards. Visual Sitelinks will present photos with the ad via a swipeable carousel. These will help draw more attention to the ad and like other extensions, lead to higher CTRs, which in turn will positively benefit the Quality Score and lead to lower CPCs. In addition, Rich Snippets and Rich Cards may have an increased presence in the SERP as well. Rich Snippets will not only incorporate images, but will also pull  content from the site including ratings, product information, and more. Rich Cards are ad units that mostly consist of pictures. We’re not 100% sure these tests units will roll out to all advertisers, but suggest you stay tuned to our blog for any announcements. 

Visual Site Links:

 

Rich Cards:

3. Consumer Expectations Are Growing:

It is estimated that by the year 2020 the average American will have 26 devices. You heard that right.  26 devices! As a result, consumer expectations are growing. Consumers will expect advertisers to leverage information regarding their past behavior in order to make predictions regarding what they’ll want next.  New targeting options tied around Affinity and In-Market will also help improve consumer experiences as it relates to ads. In other words, consumers will expect to be targeted smartly. So think like Amazon. You May Also Like.

4. Automation Will Grow and Expand:

More and more advertisers will move towards account automation, whether tied to bidding or ad creation. Google’s Smart Bidding utilizes machine learning to take into account all the information about an individual user at the time of the auction in order to make more accurate predictions on what the bid amount should be for a particular query. Basically they are reviewing identifiable attributes about a person such as their device and location to determine how much they should bid for that person, based on their propensity to convert. In addition, with the rise of Dynamic Search Ads, you may see less advertisers building out keywords for every single product on their site; instead they’ll be relying on DSAs to help fill in the gaps and drive incremental revenue.

5. Attribution is King:

Google has introduced a data driven attribution model that will help advertisers move beyond last click. The model will look at every step and touchpoint along a conversion journey to determine the proper weight that should be given to each step in the journey, which may be different for each conversion. This should help improve efficiencies on campaigns. If you are eligible for this model, make sure you are taking advantage of it as it can help add value to upper funnel search terms. The only downside to this model so far is that it is only available for Paid Search and PLAs, but from the sound of it, Google is working to develop a model that could incorporate all channels, likely housed within its Google Analytics or Google Analytics 360 products.

There you have it! The most exciting thing about all of this? Search is still growing and the opportunities are endless!

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