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Greetings Happy Readers! As the year 2021 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on how the PPC industry performed this year. Host Julie F Bacchini and other PPCers shared their thoughts on the previous year in PPC, including the most important takeaways, tactics for 2022, and more. Here is the screencap of this week’s PPCChat session.

Q1: How would you sum up your thoughts on this past year in PPC?

Same as 2020 with tons of changes but some things getting pushed into 2022. It was never a full moment. @duanebrown

Volatile, fluctuating industry. Resilient, creative professionals. @TheCopyTrail

Change coming left right and centre and just convincing myself that embracing it is the best way to move forward. @TheMarketingAnu

Shifting. Not only because of industry changes (ML, privacy, etc.), but going from agency to in-house is a shift as well. @SEMFlem

This year feels like it had a lot of change? Definitely felt like Google Ads released all the stuff they had held back in 2020! Automation marches on… Also trying to figure out how to work effectively with an ongoing background of uncertainty. @NeptuneMoon

A lot of change. Not sure how anyone who develops either classwork or online courses even keeps up with the changes for their courses. On top of that ecom was extremely unpredictable with supply chain issues, containers going up in price by 10x or more, etc… @lchasse

It feels like every year we get slightly less info to make decisions with and I’m over it @hamboy_PPC

Volatile @jord_stark

Lots of change and paradigm shifts. I like learning new things – so while it’s challenging, it’s also exciting. @MenachemAni

It has been a year of shifts and uncertainty (much like the… actual year?) I still think Google’s practices are unfair to small businesses / borderline predatory, and that the customer & first party data come first. @AmaliaEFowler

Summing up 2021 in digital marketing: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous We call it VUCA @soanders

Q2: What has been your biggest takeaway (what have you learned) from this past year of working in PPC?

I feel like I’ve learned how to be a better pilot when it comes to machine learning on the different ad platforms. @SEMFlem

Biggest thing I’ve learned this year is that no matter how good a ppc tactic is it won’t work without support from the rest of the business. @hamboy_PPC

More now than ever it has been evident automation is going to be very big. Platforms are not investing in support, because they don’t want to have support w/automation. Data outside of our own data is slowly going away. Our jobs will be changing. @lchasse

My biggest takeaway is still centered on our community, this community. How helpful and welcoming it is (and considerably less volatile than the changes or our sister community @AmaliaEFowler

My big takeaway from 2021 is that digital advertising as we have known it is about to really change, from multiple directions and pressures. Still sorting out what that means on a more micro level. But at macro level: automation + data loss will be huge. @NeptuneMoon

That clients still need to be taught when to/NOT to blindly listen to Google recommendations. The amount of clients that are still in the mindset of “well, Google said this so…” annoys me! It needs to just be part of my strategy now. @TheMarketingAnu

What got someone A to B… won’t get them to C. This year has been about reinvention and new paths. 2022 won’t look the same. @duanebrown

My takeaway is that the role of the PPC marketer has changed, so 3 of the most important things to do better in 2022: 1. Manage the machines using automation layering 2. Educate and collaborate with clients 3. Think about the creative component as much as media/ads @TheCopyTrail

The one biggest takeaway in PPC in 2021 is Amazon being firlly present on the radar for me and many others @soanders

With more and more automation, creative is going to be the best way to stand out. Constantly testing and innovating more dynamic and effective ads is going to be what gives you an edge @jord_stark

Trust the fungus. ML works, and if you’re not precious about things, just do it the way Google wants you to. @ferkungamaboobo

Q3: What do you think the biggest change was that we experienced in PPC in 2021 or the one that impacted you and your accounts the most? How did it impact you and your accounts?

The iOS update for FB probably. @jord_stark

The iOS update in all forms and also the push for GA4. Lots of new learning on reading results @AmaliaEFowler

Definitely has to be the iOS update essentially breaking FB advertising @hamboy_PPC

The first thing that comes to mind for me is using broad match keywords with a maximize conversions bid strategy. It actually worked for me in most situations, which is something I never thought I’d say. It worked so well in some cases…(cont.) @alexnicoll93

Match types. Having to restructure nearly every account b/c Google decided to give advertisers even less control of their accounts/money. @selley2134

The 2 biggest changes in 2021 were Google full court press on automation and iOS 14.5/Apple ATT. My accounts were more impacted on the Google side. It’s been really bad for low conversion volume accounts, which I work on a lot. Hard to get momentum going now. @NeptuneMoon

Support Reps was the biggest change. Just had a FB support rep say, they would call back after an issue is resolved, because they could not help with it. Google has been the exact same way. Reps can help with nothing now, they just have their sales script. @lchasse

For a while now, the most important underlying trend in PPC has been the increased proportion of AI, machine-learning and all.sorts of supposedly “smart” solutions available to marketers. @soanders

All of these changes have compounded and really changed how I approach business with new clients. I cannot, in good conscience, even predict potential of an account. We have to do what we can and go from there. A lot of learning as we go. @AmaliaEFowler

Biggest impact (change in perf. + workload) for us was definitely the match type change. @Optmyzr did help my understand why BMM going away wasn’t a bad things – but it just added more workload and it’s so easy fo volume to get volatile when switch match types @TheMarketingAnu

When I was agency, I had quite a few B2B clients that were impacted positively by the progress of the LinkedIn platform @SEMFlem

Q4: What is on the horizon for you in PPC for 2022? Plans to try anything new? Staying the course?

In 2022 my goal is to solidify my new account structure approach (working pretty well so far) and really dig in to GA4 @AmaliaEFowler

I’m gonna spend 2022 trying to adapt to whatever google and facebook throw at me @hamboy_PPC

Learn more about GA4 for sure. Continue to test and learn with the new functionality. Testing other new platforms for brands if they look like a good fit (audience & their market). SOPs for account setup have shifted, so I will probably update my process as well. @lchasse

Lots of newness for me. Now in-house promoting free content, which is certainly a shift from ecomm & B2B. This will require diving more deeply into strategies and platforms I’ll need to know more about. @SEMFlem

We are essentially doubling down on our creative bet. We hired a “Performance Designer” this year who’s job is just to create and test ads and LPs for our top clients. We are going to continue developing in that vein to hopefully set us apart amid all the automation. @jord_stark

I will be forcing myself to learn a lot more about GA4. Also thinking hard about what types of accounts I want to work on. Those I traditionally have worked on (largely low conversion volume) are getting harder and harder to produce results on… @NeptuneMoon

I kind of want to try performance max campaigns and see how they do. Am I being brainwashed? @alexnicoll93

I would like to test out new platforms but it is tricky when you have small clients that are budget-strapped and unable to get good creative to you. On my list to test would be Nextdoor & tik tok. Been hearing decent things about spotify as well. @selley2134

Moving to GA360 – so interested in seeing how that may impact my reporting. Also onboarding new team members – so a lot of PPC training ahead. @Galliguez

I sort of want to try out performance max campaigns to see how they perform. Am I being brainwashed??? I also very much want to learn more about GA4 because I’m still waaaay more comfy with universal analytics. @alexnicoll93

We’ve got a big product release coming up @Optmyzr and I’ll be using it as an opportunity to test out P-Max. Also playing around with social ads for content distribution & lead gen which I’ve not done in a long time. @TheCopyTrail

Strategy, Strategy, Strategy! The era of automations keeps geering up. I refuse to become obsolete to widening my skillset to ensure i can give amazing strategy paths for my clients is key. @TheMarketingAnu

Q5: What is your biggest PPC wish for 2022? This is a wish, so feel free to say things that have little chance of happening, but you sure wish would!

I wish I could see search terms again @hamboy_PPC

Getting data insights and functional Google support @AmaliaEFowler

I would wish for automation that is actually designed to help get clients results instead of spend money and obscure data. @jord_stark

I will just retweet this since it is my wish as well and Amalia says it better. @lchasse

My biggest wish is for keywords to have some kind of actual understandable and functioning logic again and also being able to see all the queries. @NeptuneMoon

Return of data, Return of “support”, No more automation in policy reviews  @selley2134

I wish for using YouTube audiences in Google Ads again. @SEMFlem

I never want to see the excuse of COVID for why there cannot be actual, timely support. We are almost 2 years into this, platforms have TREMENDOUS resources available to address this if they in any way thought it was important. (They don’t.) @NeptuneMoon

What Amalia said!! @TheMarketingAnu

Q6: What are your current favorite resources, tools, etc. that help you be your best in your PPC efforts?

PPCchat! This community. Also rely a lot on @sejournal and @MarketingOClock @AmaliaEFowler

#ppcchat of course. @Optmyzr has had some great town halls this year and hopefully they continue that. @MarketingOClock has been great as well at sharing marketing information. I also support course creators if possible on Udemy, Skillshare or other venues. @lchasse

This one has been my favorite for a while  @hamboy_PPC

All of you are a top source of information for me, but also:

I read a lot of non industry things too when it relates to digital, privacy, data, earnings reports, etc. @NeptuneMoon

I actually have well-thought-out and detailed personas from which to build strategy and messaging. Most clients I worked with never had that to share. @SEMFlem

This community! @sengineland @MarketingOClock and @PPCKirk is definitely giving us a lot of great things to think about on the Ponderings of a PPC Professional podcast!… @TheMarketingAnu

I just signed up for Adalysis and that has been super nice for optimizations/keeping me on my game. I’m usually a lurker here but I do appreciate this community. I also put a bunch of resources into a digital marketing news feed using feedly that keeps me up to date. @alexnicoll93

@PPCKirk‘s podcast, articles from @Tinuiti, and #ppcchat! Plus the research @siliconvallaeys does with our own database. Seen a mention or two for @Optmyzr PPC Town Hall, we’re open to topic suggestions so let us know what you want to learn about! @TheCopyTrail

Q7: What do you need or wish was available somewhere to help you in your PPC efforts? This could be a tool, resource, etc.

Besides more budget?! Haha. @SEMFlem

Honestly a one-stop shop newsletter that put all the pieces together from the resources we have all mentioned focusing on the most important pieces once a month. @AmaliaEFowler

Echoing others earlier sentiments…better ad platform support! @SEMFlem

Tough question for the last one. Besides a crystal ball that shows me what works, what is coming out, etc… Probably a resource that really goes over the new platforms, audiences, and options with “important” changes that have happened and no fluff. @lchasse

PPCChat Participants

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