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In the last PPCChat session, PPCers discussed their wish list for the PPC platforms. This week’s discussion revolved around their prospect for PPC in 2021, their concerns, are they planning any new projects or initiatives for this year, and more. Hosted by Julie F Bacchini, here is the screencap of the session.

Q1: How are you feeling, generally, about the prospects for PPC in 2021?

The same way I am feeling about 2021 in general… cautiously optimistic. I think we are in for another year of whirlwhind changes by our Google overlords, but I’m hopeful we will continue to adapt. @amaliaefowler

Kind of unsure, engines are stripping controls, market is wildly volatile, so it isn’t the most comforting. @JonKagan

Legitimately feeling great about PPC in 2021. There will be a lot of upset and change, the Platforms will make decisions we disagree with. But overall, I think we’re walking into a year where Ecommerce has surged even more rapidly than expected. @PPCKirk

Well, I expect it to be similar to last year- those who can withstand the uncertainty and invest in promoting the business fully and those who cannot. @ynotweb

Good I think. More amalgamation is likely coming, but so are new products, and with yet another “discovery” of ad fraud, (this time UBER instead of P&G) more clients will be looking for accountable clicks. That’s us! @JuliaVyse

Search will remain strong, though shopping still seems anchored by gorillas. Display is going to be something that agencies still recommend, even though it’s basically a scam. Social is going to remain more or less the same, but there’s trust erosion. @ferkungamaboobo

I’m cautiously optimistic that (macro-economically) most major markets will be more stable, but I think there’s going to be some interesting tensions between in-person vs. online later in the year. @DigitalSamIAm

Feeling good about PPC prospects in 2021. More small businesses got online last year and are working to get online this year, and more people are searching and ordering online. So depending on the brand, good things can happen. @AllisonMiriani

1: For PPC specifically, I’m concerned about increasing automation + Google pushing more of their bad ideas on all of us b/c they can. On a more positive note, I think 2021 might be the year when a lot of PPC grows up from a data integration perspective. @DigitalSamIAm

Feeling generally positive. I dont really have a reason for that other than Q4 went pretty well for clients and I believe 2021 will be better all around. @selley2134

I am expecting a bumpy year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a good one. Major adaptation is on the horizon, I think. But, if you don’t want to have to rethink how you do things every few years, this industry isn’t the best choice, I think? @NeptuneMoon

Feeling passionate and amazing about 2021. This iOS14 update is going to separate marketers from the advertisers … it’s gladiator time. @duanebrown

I’m still very bullish about PPC in 2021. There’s plenty of businesses that have had to move online and need that support. The Wine Dine Sign model is gone for b2b until late this year at the earliest. @armondhammer

Optimistic. I think there will for sure be changes & challenges to face, as always, especially with more automation and less visibility bc of privacy stuff. but I also think that’s what keeps this industry interesting. @jennifer_lash

I’m feeling excited about PPC in 2021. I think there will be a lot of opportunity to use it creatively as more businesses continue to put an emphasis on their online presence. @AllyQuilty_MKTG

Develop more proprietary technology to increase productivity and performance… THEN grow. @yaelconsulting

Q2: What are you most excited about in PPC for 2021?

Nerding here but I love the expansion of auto generated in market audiences and YouTube Shopping. @JonKagan

I think 2021 will finally be the convergence of (1) actually great automation (2) increased adoption of it, and I think this will lead to more innovation by PPCers in other areas, esp strategically. Well, if we don’t lose all our data so then we can’t get strategic. @PPCKirk

I don’t have a ‘most’ yet, honestly I still haven’t collected my thoughts from the breakneck pace of Dec 23/this week. But I’m really excited for new thinking. new ideas, new tactics, new options (hi Samsung) different ways of reaching people we haven’t explored yet. @JuliaVyse

New ad & extension types. @ynotweb

To a degree, campaigns have gotten a lot easier to manage. I’m still chapped about data removal, but I do feel that if you feed good data to the system you’ll get decent results. The roughest part of ML is the start, so moving past that is exciting. @armondhammer

As someone who has been in marketing since before digital, I am actually kind of excited to flex old muscles like extrapolation. We will probably have less actual data available, but being more creative and seeing connections where others don’t fires me up! @NeptuneMoon

I’m most excited for additional collaboration between us all and honestly hopefully between platforms and advertisers. Automation isn’t going away so getting on board while remaining strategic is a big priority for me this year. @amaliaefowler

We have a client who – because of an “interesting” contract and payment plan – is going to give us (almost) full creative authority. Should be cool to get to test so much at speed. @AllisonMiriani

I think clients will be more engaged. There is no more room for set it and forget it. I enjoy working with clients who “get it”, & brainstorm, & ask questions. I think 2021 will be more collaborative & Im excited. @selley2134

The huge opportunity 2020 presented to solo, indie and small agencies and marketers. Brands realized they don’t need huge brand name agencies to win…all the time. 2020 was our moment and 2021 is continuing that. Embrace and lean into the ecom & DTC light. @duanebrown

I think the internal changes at Google will also impact us eventually – with whistleblowers and unionizing, etc. I’m interested to see the trickle-down effect, if any. @amaliaefowler

I think automation keeps getting better, so I’m excited to see where that goes this year. I also think that last year being what it was kind of forced more creativity, so I’m excited to see what new ideas came out of it. @jennifer_lash

I think GA4 will absorb our agency (we weren’t even around when they last updated GA). To echo @duanebrown it and other structural changes pave the way for those who are on top of their data to fare better than those who don’t. @heyglenn

It looks like I’ll be doing some work with a company that has a super-complicated funnel & metrics. That’ll be a challence. @stevegibsonppc

Q3: What are you most concerned about in PPC for 2021?

With the change in search term visibility in 2020, I am concerned we’ll continue to lose visibility into data and not just on Google Ads. @AllyQuilty_MKTG

When Google “hides” information it deems unimportant. I like to decide that myself. @AllisonMiriani

Loss of data and loss of control. I know that both are likely to keep coming at us – but it does mean existing systems of mine stop working and adapting on the fly can cost client relationships. @amaliaefowler

Forced automation and platforms hiding more and more data. The 2 really go hand in hand. @selley2134

Fraud and privacy. I know I blow this particular horn a lot, but it keeps getting worse. our laws, and even behaviours, are way WAY behind the capabilities of our tech. Breaches have become commonplace, and avg users/clients don’t get how it works. @JuliaVyse

Everything hinges on good data. We’re getting that data muddied on all sides. Browser tracking, “insignifigant” searches. Multi device. WFH. It’s all muddy, and getting worse. @armondhammer

I have a bunch, but I think these fall into a couple buckets: 1. Economics – recession + reversion to in-person things 2. Digital Markets – flood of money as vax rolls out + decimated industries try to be good 3. Platforms – more automation, less transparency. @DigitalSamIAm

4. Users – more fragmentation + less ability to create unified experiences across channels b/c of (3). Also more demanding + higher expectations. 5. Regulation – won’t happen, but will probably cause consternation from larger companies. @DigitalSamIAm

6. General Stuff – loss of user data // inability to collect as much data is a potential problem when you combine it with (4), and it also means that ineffective spend increases while our ability to mitigate it decreases, which is suboptimal. @DigitalSamIAm

Lack of data transparency, probably. Still digging through “sudden” changes in performance that are unexplained by the data. @ynotweb

I am concerned about the gap between enterprise level advertising and everyone else will accelerate this year with things like G Ads query data loss and the Facebook/Apple feud. And, needing to learn G Analytics 4… @NeptuneMoon

The platforms unnecessarily obfuscating data, as we see in Smart Shopping Campaigns, just to maintain control over advertisers. This prevents important cross-channel insights, business strategic decisions, and a host of other issues unrelated to the channel. @PPCKirk

Loss of control & visibility, as a self acknowledged control freak this one keeps me up at night. also declining consumer trust because of fraud and (sometimes) lack of accountability for that kind of behavior. @jennifer_lash

As others are saying, showing time-series charts that suddenly have no data will provoke fierce conversations, and I fear some ‘shoot the messenger’ moments. @heyglenn

The SMB brands and stores we lose who are not ready. @duanebrown

Google’s going to continue to be super douchey. But that’s nothing new. @stevegibsonppc

Growth of unnecessary regs, and lack of transparency. @JonKagan

I’m concerned with Google: 1) continuing to take control away from us advertisers (making it harder for us to be effective) and 2) them pushing tricky rules and features that just flat out harm performance. @yaelconsulting

Q4: Do you have any new projects or initiatives planned for 2021? If so, what are they?

Survive? Is that a project? Honestly its a lot of documentation & processes goals, making onboarding smoother, shifting roles internally and hopefully a rebrand for both myself and the agency. @amaliaefowler

I now have a client who was already on TikTok, so testing that out is going to be interesting. and we started with a new client right in Q4, so my whole program for them is new new new! @JuliaVyse

Yes, & hope to be able to shed more light on this soon. @selley2134

I have a bunch planned, but it remains to be seen how many of my plans actually turn into something. Definitely on the menu is more investing + start-up advising; also on the “definitely maybe” list are a newsletter + YouTube channel. @DigitalSamIAm

I like @amaliaefowler point on ‘shifting roles internally’ which is what our agency’s doing to be ready for the challenges we see on the horizon. @heyglenn

I feel like this will be a year of figuring out what the market really wants right now and adapting to highlight those types of services. Like, what specifically, is keeping advertisers up at night right now that I could alleviate? @NeptuneMoon

Getting more of our ecomm clients streamlined with Shopping, re-documenting our client on boarding and first campaign steps with new best practices. @ynotweb

Going to roll out a prospecting strategy via search, which even as I type it sounds like both a bad idea and a oxymoron. @JonKagan

I’m really digging into GA4, with the possibility of trying to offer conversion services. Also following anti trust passionately for any pre-emptive changes that might occur. @stevegibsonppc

I want to get more into Twitch. So far each test we’ve run with them has been amazing, and the opportunity as people remain indoors and glued to consoles rather than films, is only going to grow imo. @JuliaVyse

Honestly I am still planning but I’d like to start digging deeper into GA4, and testing out more automation within accounts. @jennifer_lash

Launching our course program. Reorganization of the agency and most of all …. having more fun on Twitter. @JonKagan

1) Rebranding! Focus & align what we’re about, but more importantly, better communicate this! 2) Free PPC Education Create content to help business owners get max impact from min time investment (most SMBs want to fix their account – not learn to be an expert) @yaelconsulting

More platform diversification! @coryhenke

Q5: Have you vowed to stop doing any particular PPC things in 2021? And if so, why?

I’m still trying to figure out the best awareness plays for some of my brands without relying on the GDN. I also have vowed to use way less Dynamic, and won’t start clients with super low budgets as mathematically it isn’t working anymore. @amaliaefowler

My leash is really short with poor performing ad groups / keywords. If I’m blind to make improvements, I’d rather cut bait in 2021. @armondhammer

Not a lot of vows or resolutions this year. rigidity doesn’t help during a period in flux, and the vaccine rollout will cause lots of shifts all year. But, I do want to stop running on fumes, trying to fix everything, and taking on more than I can. @JuliaVyse

I’d like to say I’m strong enough to stop bitching about G’s crappy changes, but I know I’m not. @armondhammer

Not really…at least not yet…@DigitalSamIAm

Literally google regulations…and money. @JonKagan

I am really down on GDN (have been this year too). I don’t plan to work on that part of the G Ads platform if at all possible in 2021. @NeptuneMoon

Very Good question. I’d love to have something to throw out universally, but there is always *someone* it still works well for. @ynotweb

Stop giving up on rules prematurely. @JonKagan

Nothing that I plan to abandon all together. Probably will be doing less on the social front and more focused on Google & Bing. @selley2134

I’m purposely paying less attention to the interfaces. Feeling a bit sucker-punched by the hoopla of G-Ads UI in 2019. It was a foil that let them remove real data, while we searched & blamed our poor navigation of UI. It’s all about the DATA, not the UI. @heyglenn

Nope, really trying to go with the flow as much as it makes sense to. I think things will be shifting and evolving for a long time still both on the consumer side and the ads side, making it hard to count anything particularly in or out right now. @jennifer_lash

Stop taking on small clients, who don’t meet our minimum ad spend… even if we really want to help them. Focus. Focus. Focus. @duanebrown

Oh yes! I vow to increase our ad budget minimum! @ynotweb

Q6: What are you really hoping to be able to get a client to say yes to in 2021?

Some really detailed Media Mix Modelling! @heyglenn

Evergreen. Many of my clients flit from promo to promo and while exciting, it’s inefficient, allows for drop-offs, and generally kills momentum.. @JuliaVyse

A top to bottom marketing overhaul. So much of digital marketing is yak shaving and pig makeup. Most of the time, the core concept of the marketing is flawed and THAT needs the work. @ferkungamaboobo

I have one client that needs to say Yes to price extensions and Google Shopping. I think its imperative for them but they are stubborn. @ynotweb

GA4 conversions. I’m also always excited about clients that are full funnel and really get that brand isn’t just for consumer goods. @armondhammer

I’d love more ecomm//DTC clients this year…it’s not really a “say yes” thing, but it’s definitely a huge priority for me. @DigitalSamIAm

Running GA4 and really leaning into it since it will become the only option. Get ahead of the curve while we can! @NeptuneMoon

Let me optimise their whole SaaS funnel. @stevegibsonppc

Beyond diversification of ad spend. More clients doing SEO, PR or SMS messaging to move beyond just having Paid ads drive the business…if they are solely PPC focused. @duanebrown

Redoing a site. It doesn’t matter how good your ads are if every time someone lands on the site they leave/don’t egnage in a meaningful way. Clients where search q’s & ads line up for intent, high CTRs… but off platform its <20 seconds on site despite lp testing. @amaliaefowler

More testing. There are going to be new platforms, ad types, and campaign types. Lets set aside budget each month for testing these. Grow the winners & dump the losers. @selley2134

Q7: Which do you think will have a bigger impact on your PPC efforts in 2021 – Google’s continued transparency blocking (search queries) or the Facebook/Apple feud regarding trackable advertising data? Or neither? Something else?

Technically G’s change will have more impact on my efforts than the Facebook tantrum, but neither will have a crisis-level impact. omnichannel means we can graze is many pastures. wait, I’m a cow in my own analogy…@JuliaVyse

In 2021 I think it will be Google. I believe the device level targeting will assist with the IOS change. I also think until it has widespread adoption and third-party cookies are a thing of the past that we can make do, although ask me again in 2022. @amaliaefowler

It’s probably both, but either one of them on its own is a titanic shift. Lumped together with the end of cookies, the industry’s direction for the coming years will be set in 2021. @heyglenn

I’m interested to see where the new administration takes the fight to big tech as my big change It often starts with the consumer standard of harm (which is misguided), but if it shifts, it could effect us all. The third party data is what made FB effective. @armondhammer

Google for me. Although im optimistic about the year overall, I have a feeling Google is going to roll out more transparency policies to push their automation. @selley2134

Google’s data removal is currently more impactful. But, Facebook’s future as an advertising powerhouse is at least somewhat in question, as it relies so heavily on invasive tracking currently? It is going to be an interesting year, of that I am sure! @NeptuneMoon

I think both are going to compound the other. i.e. the more legal and platform restrictions in place, the more Google will double down on reducing transparency. because they can blame it on something else (just like the search queries thing) @ynotweb

Google I think will be a bigger impact as an advertiser, but I think the FB thing being more public could have a ripple effect with user trust that could in turn hurt performance…just speculation. @jennifer_lash

If I was going to pick one, I’d say “neither” to the options presented + go with forced automation. Obviously, there are ties into both of those areas, but I think the bigger problem is platforms pushing under-developed ML platforms on adverisers. @DigitalSamIAm

Google trying to squeeze more profit out of #googleads, at the expense of the advertisers. I wish they focused that ingenuity into helping advertisers. @yaelconsulting

1: Since there’s not much of a counterweight to automation, I think it’s going to accelerate. We’ve already seen how broad targeting w/ ML automation can be a scalable business model (FB (ish)/Snap/TikTok), so no reason why G + FB won’t lean in to compete. @DigitalSamIAm

Answer C…. something we didn’t see coming will be announced. If you hated 2020. 2021 is saying hold me mocktail ….@duanebrown

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