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Greetings PPC readers! Here is the screencap of this week’s PPCChat session which was hosted by Julie F Bacchini. The topic of the discussion was “The future of search & PPC”.

Q1: Have you spent any time thinking about or pondering the future of search and/or PPC? Or are you too busy dealing with the today & right now?

I am always thinking about where things are headed in both search in general and in PPC specifically. Especially lately with all of the AI hype talk! @NeptuneMoon

OOh urmm definitely. And shameless plug – Google even interviewed me about my thoughts on it and how AI affects it. Check it out here.… @TheMarketingAnu

Definitely thinking about how AI will affect PPC in the future. @beyondthepaid

When changes are made in current day, I try to think about the bigger picture of where the platforms want to take us. Ex: PMax replacing various campaign types; will they come for Display next? What about Search? But overall, mainly busy w/ changes in the present. @adclarke10

Whilst I always keep an eye on announcements, talking points and developments, and I am really interested in the future landscape of PPC and search, I try to make sure that I am putting more effort into the now. @marketingsoph

Always thinking about it in terms of “what’s our goal with ______ / what if the ability to do this went away tomorrow? then considering: what’s controllable? what should we be trying to control? where can we gain an advantage? what’s inevitable? @PPCGreg

I think about it all the time but have to snap myself back to the present to get my work done. @williamhboggs

I think the critical question surrounds whether or not demand *capture* disappears in time. With Meta’s ASC & Google’s PMax, we’re seeing a push for blending “full-funnel” advertising. We may lose the ability to bifurcate demand gen vs. capture, favouring ML. @teabeeshell

I think about it. Also can not predict it. A shopping feed world is one thing that is 90% a sure thing. Who makes the feed is another story. Also trying to deal with the here, now and the tomorrow for 2023: GA4. @duanebrown

To clarify, demand gen & demand capture will always exist as psychological concepts. Our ability to distinguish/control advertising between them may fade from our toolset. @teabeeshell

Why have we had GA4 and Pmax for nearly 2 years, and still have nearly the exact same questions and concerns on them today as we did then. @JonKagan

Today and right now. I play Checkers, not Chess. Do what works until it does not. @ppcClickShark

I am busy today, but regarding the future, it crosses my mind, but I know I can’t control it, so I just need to adapt as and when. I feel we will always be needed in some capacity, as we always find a way to manipulate the machine to do what we want. @MetthewWalters8

Q2: Where do you think search is headed? There has been so much talk about AI and search (with more to come with Google’s I/O happening tomorrow) – what are your thoughts or predictions?

Strategists will have the most to do (bad ones will be weeded out quickly). Everything else will be automated. Clients will also put a lot more pressure on us to make a platform work for them. They will want platform to meet ROAS targets a lot more immediately. @TheMarketingAnu

I think we will lose control over a lot of aspects (keywords, ad copy, targeting) and this will mean that we will have to get better at the strategy side of things. The good specialists will always adapt! @marketingsoph

AI is going to invade every aspect of search. The question is how much and which parts will have staying power. We don’t know the answer to that yet. @NeptuneMoon

Search algorithms need improvement for sure, but I don’t trust @Google to build an “AI-Powered” search engine when they can’t even get their existing platform straight. @williamhboggs

I don’t see keyword-targeted-based search sticking around much longer – for local service companies. I think Google continues to drive those businesses to Local Service Ads for lead gen. @PPCGreg

Odds are what we think of or see people do with AI is not the final “product” in a few more years. Lots of bad or lazy products out there. Also, ChatGPT is a simple search engine and not advanced in any way. It just scraps content off the internet. @duanebrown

I think that AI is here to stay, but we don’t yet know just how much it will change Search (b/c generative is prob just the start). I think advertisers will also continue to lose control with broader match types (or no KWs at all), less visibility & attribution, etc. @adclarke10

I think SEO & PPC are going to have to work together closely in the future. I think video/social search engines are going to be important and understanding how to rank on them – both organically & via paid, will start to outpace other search engines like Google. @timmhalloran

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again…say goodbye to keywords. @JonKagan

Q3: Where do you think PPC in general is headed? What is contributing to your opinions on this topic currently?

I think “AI” is going to invade PPC too. Again, what has staying power remains to be seen, but I’m expecting lots of automation, machine learning and “AI” to be on the agenda at Google I/O and GML. @NeptuneMoon

Mentioned this in A2, but I think we’ll keep losing control, visibility, etc moving forward. Privacy regulations & platform updates (like switching to GA4) will only continue, so we have to think about how to handle those changes & futureproof as much as we can. @adclarke10

Ex: a client added a cookie consent pop-up to one of their LPs, which strips our conversion tracking if the user “Rejects” certain ones. This is probably the future, so we don’t recommend they remove it; just have to deal with & communicate w/ them about the implications. @adclarke10

Really hard to say right now. I think getting users to switch to @bing from @Google is like getting them to switch from @Apple to @Android. There are too many great features in Google & with better UI. Even with AI, I’m not leaning towards Bing just yet. @williamhboggs

At #AdWorld some speakers implied a move back to more display advertising. @williamhboggs

Normally you have Google dominance followed by BING following suit in features/direction. But now varied “chat engines” will eat into Google’s search pie. Let’s Hope competition brings more transparency… but I’m not holding my breath. @Galliguez

A Google profit tool to get rid of human intervention. @JonKagan

Where I think PPC is headed: Not that original but: more AI, more ML, more audience persona targets, less KW, less demo, less given data, but potentially more powerful targeting (if its not watered down to enhance the auction’s co’s profitability). @timmhalloran

I think “PPC” is already redefined. Platforms have come full circle to where TV + radio have always been (CPM, fka CPP). “Clicks” will be phased out as the billable action. Paying for “outcomes” will be the norm w/ ML guiding ad serving, not consumer click inputs. @teabeeshell

Q4: What are you most excited or intrigued about when you think about or read about the future of search and/or PPC?

So far, just brand exclusions for pmax. @JonKagan

As someone who has been in marketing since before the internet, it is really interesting to see the many of things that historically have made digital advertising so attractive (great targeting & a lot more attribution) fade away. @NeptuneMoon

Using AI to offload time-consuming PPC tasks. Even w/ software, a lot of PPC is getting the data to make the decision. Love the idea of having a dashboard that alerts me before a trend becomes problematic and using scripts/functions/and-or recipes to take action. @timmhalloran

And, in some ways, digital marketing is going to be a lot more like the marketing of yore, when we had much more general targeting options and much fuzzier attribution. @NeptuneMoon

The changes in ad format options interest me, as a user and an advertiser it’s good to see the range broadening. @marketingsoph

I still love seeing how brands are adapting creatively. The 10min TikTok ad by @Hilton was awesome. One thing remains constant since the start of advertising: creativity wins. Paid Search doesn’t build brands, just shows offerings to potential buyers. @williamhboggs

We already see in social media how well we’re served products + services we never knew we needed/wanted. If predictive search can improve, build upon that intent-focused targeting, I think we’re in for a very exciting future. Less advertiser work, more accuracy.  @teabeeshell

Ad platforms want us all out of a job. I don’t think we will see an iRobot world for a while. @duanebrown

Automate away tedious jobs. Jobs that are simple when Y happens, do X and Z. Still need humans to understand the context. @duanebrown

I think big changes are coming to Bing/Google search & I’m interested to see which direction they go. The 2 routes that stand out to me are – will search be more of a TikTok experience, or will it rely more heavily on AI & ChatGPT-like features? Or a combo of the 2? @adclarke10

Somewhat related & this might be a hot take, but I think TikTok could have more of an impact on Search in the immediate future. We’ve already seen a number of platforms try to lean more into short-form video & provide a more visual experience the past few years. @adclarke10

That said, AI will continue to advance at a rapid pace (regardless of whether we think it should or not…). We haven’t seen what’s fully possible with AI yet, which is equal parts intriguing, exciting, and intimidating. @adclarke10

Q5: What are your biggest concerns about where search and/or PPC might be headed? And do you think there is anything that we could do about those concerns?

People unnecessarily complaint as to how you can’t do things the way things were done before instead of actually trying to adapt. Also, clients who won’t understand the more lack of control we have. @TheMarketingAnu

Lack of transparency. Unfortunately, that theme is growing. @JonKagan

It is and will continue to be harder to verify data from platforms as attribution gets even murkier. It’s a big leap for advertisers to make from the “see exactly where your digital ad dollars are going & what’s working” that we have sold for the last 20 years. @NeptuneMoon

And there isn’t really much we can do about this, as far as how the platforms will keep making data less available or transparent. We will have to reeducate our clients & stakeholders about how things are now and how they are evolving. It’s a huge change. @NeptuneMoon

Prove-ability (read: attribution) remains a huge blindspot. If we’re relegated to holdout tests to prove X vs. Y platform spend works, brands hold the bag & platforms get paid. We may be at an inevitable, pessimistic stalemate. Pay to play & get what you get. @teabeeshell

The concept of losing control is difficult for me, but it just takes time to change and adapt. A big concern is clients not understanding changes, or accepting that things are going to be different than they once were. @marketingsoph

Ad platforms and some people think the tech is better than it is. People, who do what we do, saying that you don’t need to do anything with PMax has me shaking my head. Sure, there is no work on shopping feeds at all. @duanebrown

@GoogleAds has gotten complacent, leaving gaps in the market. b. Privacy laws & loss of customer data may shift focus back to broader display ads (billboards, commercials, etc) which I’m not mad about – I enjoy that side of advertising. c. Loss of control. @williamhboggs

If advertising platforms don’t listen to advertisers’ concerns, no. But it’s our job to adapt and overcome – keeps us on our toes! @williamhboggs

My hope is that “privacy” regulations don’t get stricter still. It’s a two-way street. If we want free internet “services” our attention to ads is the currency we use to pay. Advertisers should have access to reliable data to bring products to market.  @teabeeshell

PPCChat Participants

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