05 Jan 2017
paid search trends 2017 optimum

Paid Search Evolves: Trends to Watch in 2017

A successful paid search campaign is all about relevancy and targeting. The more relevant your message and the better your campaign is targeted to your preferred audience the more your business reaps the rewards. Paid search, however, is subject to technological innovation and the whims of consumers. Buckle up as we catapult into the future of paid search:

On the Move: Mobile Search Surpasses Desktop

While the laptop and desktop are not obsolete (yet), consumers are using smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices to perform most of their searches. According to a Global Web index, 87 percent of Internet users own smartphones. For global businesses, particularly those in Latin America, the Asia Pacific region, and the Middle East, digital consumers are more likely to own a smartphone than a laptop or PC.

Younger populations all over the world are also influencing mobile and taunting marketers to find new ways to reach them. It is estimated that the 16-24-year age group spends as many as 3.25 hours a day on mobile. They’re searching, they’re comparing, and they’re buying on mobile devices.

Google’s 2013 study on mobile conversions found that 93 percent of people who used mobile for search went on to make a purchase. Also Zenith Optimedia predicts a shift in the huge discrepancy between mobile advertising and demand.

For the first time in 2018, the digital marketing spend on mobile will surpass that of desktop.

If your paid search spend has zero allocated to mobile, now would be a great time to test your products and services on mobile platforms. If you’ve already dipped your toe into mobile, it’s more important than ever to compare the metrics between desktop and mobile. If you find that your mobile advertising is out-performing that of desktop, you should increase your mobile bids to take advantage of the trend.

Getting Personal: Audience Segmentation Becomes Advanced

Paid search used to be solely based on targeting Internet users by keywords. But Google has come a long way and evolved to allow advertisers target users by their interests, remarket to them, and even collect information about their identity for even more refined targeting.

Digital marketers become giddy with excitement knowing that the amount and variety of data that can be used to target individuals has increased. Users can be targeted individually with ads that conform to their personal information and interests from sources such as search history, sites visited, and information in Gmail. Information collected across these sources come together to create a snapshot of an individual right down to name and address data.

Technology already allows marketers to overlay multipliers on bids depending on location, type of device used, and audience information. But audience targeting in paid search is likely to become even more specific and more personal.

Personal information, such as household income, political affiliations, and environmental awareness – anything that can be inferred from website usage – will allow digital marketers to design campaigns with advanced segmentation.

Back to mobile for a second: Digital marketers should also remember that in late 2015 Google introduced a location field to the ad customizer’s template within the Business Data section. This field allows marketers to dynamically adjust their ad copy based on a visitor’s location without having to split campaigns out by location.

Moving Pictures: Video Ads Become a YouTube Staple

It’s been 10 years since Google bought YouTube and announced to the world that video would be the future of the Internet. Way back then, we assumed people would watch videos from their desktop or laptop, but mobile is increasingly being used to consume video content. In recent years, mobile video has skyrocketed particularly among the millennial generation with more than 50 percent of millennials viewing videos solely on their mobile device.

To help market to this Internet savvy generation, Google launched shopping ads on YouTube that integrate with their merchant center, allowing businesses to market and promote their products alongside their product-related YouTube videos. Google ensures that the ads work seamlessly across all devices increasingly the reach and success of the digital ads.

Video has a way of motivating a viewer to move beyond getting detailed information and to take a specific action, such as calling to find out more information or clicking on a link to your e-commerce site. If your company uses video to introduce new products and services or give more detailed descriptions of your products, imagine having specific product ads accompanying the video that drive conversions and increase sales.

Combining this with more personal geographic and demographic information related to your target audience allows digital marketers to dynamically add products to their video ad based on consumer interests.

Video will continue to evolve and expand, so a smart 2017 tactic for all digital marketers is to jump into video, if you haven’t already.

Listening In: Voice Search Gains Momentum

Whether a large laptop keyboard or a small mobile keyboard, most users search the Internet by typing keywords into a search bar. But with names like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, the age of voice search is upon us.

The various search engines are working diligently to understand consumer behaviors in different contexts and this will help to drive the future of voice search and subsequently voice search advertising.

Think about it this way: On your daily commute home, Siri notices that traffic is heavy, so it suggests stopping by a nearby shoe store to pick up the pair of shoes you’ve been looking at online. Your mobile device shows that you’ve recently asked Siri about these shoes, and your consumer history shows that you’ve purchased similar shoes from the same brand once before. If the shoe stores were digitally savvy, they’d have Siri offer you a discount price on those shoes for the next 30 minutes.

When asked about what kind of ad units Google might be serving in a voice-driven world, Google’s SVP of advertising and commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, recently said: “one thing that we are all clear about is the days of three top text ads followed by 10 organic results is a thing of the past in the voice-driven world.”

Paid voice search will pull data from a variety of different sources including past purchases, voice and type search queries and personal preferences.

It will be mostly on mobile platforms and it will be highly personalized. The biggest challenge to search engines is trying to solve how various pieces of information can be considered in real time.

Shop Until You Drop: Retailers Take Advantage of Paid Search

Online retailers are rejoicing at some of the new paid search options. Google Shopping has not only been extremely successful for Google, but retailers’ click-throughs from these Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continues to increase their sales. According to data from Merkle, PLAs across all devices accounted for 38 percent of retailers’ Google search ad clicks in the last quarter of 2015, which is up from 30 percent from the previous year.

The growth of PLAs has been directly connected to better visibility of Google Shopping results on mobile devices. Recent growth may also be the result of Google’s AdSense for Shopping program, in which retailers display ads on third-party sites. The recent addition of new search partners like Kohl’s and Target have also given PLAs a boost.

Google Shopping will continue to be a trend moving forward. It is expected that Google Shopping ads will get bigger, especially on desktops and laptops, and we will very likely see them repeated in other search engine results.


A paid search campaign can be tricky to implement in order to receive the best ROI from your spend, but once implemented with the right strategy and fully tested and tweaked, paid search works like a charm, driving more business to you. At Optimum, we combine our savvy technology expertise with our extensive online marketing and digital branding know-how and experience to implement paid search campaigns that work. Contact us for a free consultation to determine what paid search options are best for your company.