Paid advertising is undergoing one of its biggest transition periods as tech giants phase out the use of third-party cookies. Considering how quickly PPC changes, even at the best of times, 2024 is a pivotal year for brands that need to maintain or improve success. Advertisers will need to be particularly flexible over the year, ready to implement new strategies and technologies as the industry moves forward. In this article, we explore nine of the most important PPC strategies we’re prioritising for our customers in 2024.
Here’s a quick overview of the key PPC strategies marketers should have on their radar for 2024:
We’ll still be doing all of the usual analytics and data-driven optimisation in 2024. The main difference is we’ll be leaning even further into technologies like predictive analytics and automation.
As the industry moves away from third-party cookies, platforms like Google Ads are introducing new tools to deal with the data transition. A lot of 2024 will be testing these features and implementing them into account management.
First, though, advertisers will need to ask themselves whether they’re still using the best PPC platforms.
Google Ads is the world’s biggest online advertising platform and Facebook is just as popular with advertisers. However, they’re also two of the most competitive networks while other platforms can help you reach specific audiences – so 2024 is a good time to reassess your choice of PPC platforms.
If you’re an online retailer, Amazon is the obvious addition to consider but you should also think about eBay, Pinterest and YouTube for different stages of the consumer journey. Also, think about whether you need to start reaching younger audiences on platforms like TikTok and how cross-generational networks like YouTube ads can help you connect with target audiences.
Note: Globally, users spent more time using TokTok and YouTube per month than any other social apps.
Google will start phasing out third-party cookies in 2024, following the likes of Apple, Mozilla and other tech leaders. This will have a significant impact on PPC strategies so advertising teams need to get ready.
The cookie-less landscape will continue evolving and new technology solutions will keep emerging. Advertisers will have to be flexible and quick to adopt systems that help them deal with data loss. As things stand, advertisers can take the following steps now to prepare for the end of third-party cookies:
As cookies are phased out, new technologies and advertising tools will help us move into a more privacy-centric approach to targeting, personalisation, etc. This is where advertisers will need to be particularly flexible in 2024 and quick to adopt new tools.
Aside from filling in data gaps, predictive analytics has an even bigger role to play in 2024. PPC managers can use the technology to forecast the results of opportunities, campaigns, budgets, assets and plenty more.
First of all, this helps advertising teams identify and prioritise their biggest opportunities. Secondly, it also helps managers show senior executives what they could achieve with a larger budget to work with.
As platforms like Google Ads incorporate more automated technologies, advertisers have to make a choice. Do you continue running campaigns manually or take advantage of automation, even if it means taking a slight performance hit?
The best way to answer this question is to run automated campaigns against equivalent manual campaigns. You can do the same with automated bidding strategies vs manual bidding and any other automated features in your PPC platforms.
See if your manual efforts beat automation and by how much – is it worth the extra work? Also, look at how automation adapts to changes. For example, does it respond faster to seasonal consumer habits or new trends faster than you can manually optimise?
Keep an eye out for any instance where automation has the edge so you can use it to enhance overall performance.
In Google Ads, Performance Max is one of the latest automated campaign types, using AI to optimise campaigns for conversion goals. This is a great place to start with testing automated campaigns against similar manual campaigns – in this case, those with the same conversion goal.
We’ve been running Performance Max campaigns alongside manual campaigns for customers with great results. With one particular retailer, we set up one Performance Max campaign in Q1 2022 and, by Q2 the same year, almost half of all transactions came from this campaign.
Obviously, increased conversions are the big win here, but the Performance Max campaign also reveals key insights. For one thing, we found most revenue was coming from higher-value items, so we created a new campaign specifically for this product category. The new campaign achieved a return on ad spend (ROAS) of 752% and we can also feed these insights into other campaigns.
Keeping on the theme of testing automated features, Enhanced Conversions in Google Ads also incorporates encrypted data (which we touched on earlier). As the platform leaves third-party cookies behind, Enhanced Conversions uses first-party data from users’ Google Accounts to improve the accuracy of your conversion measurement.
In practical terms, the most important use case for enhanced conversions is distinguishing between users who actually convert from those who don’t. The feature helps you do this without directly tracking their personal data – another tool for dealing with the loss of third-party cookies.
With more accurate conversion data (without relying on third-party cookies), you can optimise your bids more effectively to reach similar audiences. Likewise, Google can also use these insights for automated bidding strategies to get better results.
Advertisers spend a lot of time worrying about which ad platforms to use, how their algorithms work and how much CPCs are going to cost them. All of these things are important, but let’s remember the goal with most PPC platforms: You want to drive traffic to your website and convert them into customers or leads. The real action takes place after users click on your ads and it’s the on-site experience that determines whether your PPC strategy is profitable.
When CPCs are constantly rising, quality on-site experiences make the most of your ad spend. They also make you less reliant on any single platform, which is crucial if you’re reassessing your PPC channels for 2024.
You don’t have any control over what Google or new owners of other platforms do with their advertising channels. However, you have 100% control over your website and the post-click experience. So make this your priority in 2024 and optimise experiences to maximise results from every channel and every campaign.
The phasing out of cookies raises some new challenges for advertisers in 2024, but it also opens up space for new opportunities. In many ways, ad tech will be the star in 2024 with automation taking the lead on campaign management and AI playing an even larger role, especially with filling in data gaps and predictive analytics.
That being said, the technology can’t manage a PPC strategy by itself. Advertisers are the big differentiator and, more specifically, those who adopt, test and figure out how to get the most out of new advertising tech/tools.
If you need help with your PPC campaigns, contact us on 02392 830281 or send us your details and we’ll call you.
Andy is a PPC specialist at Vertical Leap and has worked in marketing since 2012. He manages PPC projects from strategy through to implementation and management, using multiple platforms including Google Ads, Bing Ads, YouTube, Twitter, Gmail, Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn and Amazon Ads.
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