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This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by Amalia. PPC experts discussed the key trends in PPC and whether they are hot or not for the year 2019.



Here is the screencap of the discussion that took place.


Q1: Keywords! Hot or not in 2019? Do you think we will see continued movement towards context & audience and away from the keyword?


We definitely see a lot more conversation and action around context and audience, but keywords still play a vital role in every campaign. – @ClkContrl

I think we will continue to see the elimination of a lot of what we have come to know about the keyword – so my vote is “not” for keyword, but “hot” for audiences! – @amaliaefowler

Definitely moving towards audiences vs keywords. I think it will still exist but you need to keep the intention of the keyword in mind. – @elevatedmrktng

As long as people are searching, keywords are not going anywhere. Google has work to do on their ML skills. Along with Bing and Facebook. – @duanebrown

100% yes on this one. We’ll still use them in 2019, but the onus will be on audience and contextual bidding. – @jdprater

Keywords are hot in 2019. Every paid network has audiences, but only search engines can layer those audiences with intent. – @JuliaVyse

Hot for sure – @robert_brady

I’m swiping left on Keywords! Sure they will always be important but platform restrictions make it difficult. I can see layering “keyword based” custom intent audiences over search campaigns possibly becoming a thing – @markpgus

Keywords will not go away. They’re what differentiates search from social/media/display – @Mel66

Audiences + intent will take a front seat, but I don’t think the industry will shift enough, letting keywords remain at the wheel. Display & video could be another story! – @nateknox

There is not a single better indicator of user intent than a query – keywords should always matter – @NeptuneMoon

Keywords are where the return is at. Coupled with audience layering is crucial for targeting. – @ValenciaSEM

I think campaign structure is going to have to change drastically due to the Exact match adjustments. Keywords will still be vital but I’m pondering how to adjust my campaigns for unpredictability of targeting. – @PPCHartman

Keywords will still be a thing in 2019, but the push toward audiences and context will be key. – @marccxmedia

they’re going the way of old yeller. We’re within 3 years of going keywordless imo – @JonKagan



Q2 – AI & Machine Learning. Hot or not? Where are we going with this in 2019? Is it coming? Is it here? How do you/your team plan to deal with it? Will this be the year someone finally develops a drinking game?


AI and Machine Learning isn’t going away, it’s not quite where it needs to be in terms of intelligence yet, but it will get there eventually. If you’re not adapting and learning with it you’re falling behind! – @jlash_digital

I think AI is coming but the technology is not there yet. Speaking of automation side note: Anyone getting hit hard with Google doing automatic updates to your accounts like bidding changes? – @elevatedmrktng

Machine learning is hot! Those who do not embrace it will fall behind. It’s here, in engine automation and third party tools. – @Mel66

AI  – the bots just aren’t smart enough yet. ML  – the datalakes are wide and deep, and there’s enough to learn from that the bots can do a lot – with proper rules and instructions. – @JuliaVyse

Nice idea and works some of the time. If SV had less bros and straight white guys making these platforms, they might be better. Right now we get average results that are hit or miss for clients. – @duanebrown

The machines are learning, but they are still pretty dumb in their understanding of nuanced things. As more and more is being controlled by ML, I sure hope it gets better as it takes over more stuff. Google is doing stealth ML stuff too, like the way it “rotates evenly” your ads and such too. It chooses a “winning” ad even when you specifically ask it not to… – @NeptuneMoon

it’s been here for years, we’re just now waking up and giving in to it. – @jdprater

I think there was a period where everyone was anti-machine learning and it’s 100% a dumb buzzword now. BUT it’s for sure hot. The tech has a lot of data under its belt. TRUST THE MACHINE in 2019. Also it’s a buzzword for a reason… That positioning sells. I’ll also add this. I trust ALOT of the machine learning now but get out of the machine made creative game… Stop trying to write ad copy. Sure show a million variations of what I input, love it. But stop being creative machine learning… You’re a robot – @markpgus

Machine learning is HOT and HERE. Whether or not we adjust to work with it or resist it is up to us. gave an awesome presentation on testing within this environment that woke me up to the reality a bit. I say hot for 2019. I also think there is a big difference between ML & AI (HOT!) and Google jumping in to make automatic adjustments to my accounts (NOT) – @amaliaefowler

Definitely hot. Machine Learning relies on training data – I think as the technology evolves marketers will get better at feeding the right data to get the results we want – @JasonStinnett

AI & Machine Learning are evolving, so we need to continue to test to see what works best for our clients. – @ValenciaSEM

Machine learning is hot if you’ve got enough data. If you’re a small advertiser I’m still very pessimistic. – @robert_brady

it will be hot if we let it be. I’ve spoke with several people who are uncomfortable with letting go of some of the controls. The good ol’ “Can’t trust Google to grade their own homework” thing is still real – @nateknox

Machine learning is full fledged and we’re embracing it (mostly.) The clients on the other hand… they need convincing. – @PPCHartman

AI and Machine Learning isn’t going away, it’s not quite where it needs to be in terms of intelligence yet, but it will get there eventually. If you’re not adapting and learning with it you’re falling behind! – @jlash_digital

AI is here. Putting the right strategies in place to utilize it, that’s hot.  – @levi_bloom

Like everyone is saying, AI just isn’t smart enough yet but one day it will be! – @adwordsgirl

AI and Machine Learning will pick up in 2019. We haven’t dealt with it too much (apart from setting bid strategies and the like). – @marccxmedia

they are fun buzzwords but I’m skeptical on their growth – @JonKagan



Q3: Amazon, Quora, and other alternatives to Google Ads & Facebook. Hot or not?


HOT HOT HOT. And not just cause is here but because I truly believe in diversifying your ad accounts, and that Quora provides another way to look at intent – @amaliaefowler

Y’all remember when reddit ads were the new hotness? Hard pass. Amazon is legit though – (obviously) people use the site, but it’s really limited to retail, which doesn’t help most businesses. – @ferkungamaboobo

Hot for some advertisers but overall, not. – @Mel66

I think this year is going to see continued exploration into platforms other than Google & FB. That being said, it is a lot easier for some industries than others to move into these spaces. – @NeptuneMoon

diversifying budgets is going to be hot for 2019. We know Google/FB/Bing can are reliable, but we need to make sure we’re testing new channels for additional expansion. – @jdprater

Platforms outside of the 3 big (Google, Facebook, Amazon) and even Bing will always be hot. They have not gone anyway. The smart marketers are always looking beyond the one channel mind set. – @duanebrown

I’m still leading with LinkedIn as first line attack for B2B. All that other stuff =not hot – @jstatad

Diversification has always been hot. But the concentration of power in the online ad industry makes it hard. – @robert_brady

Definitely need to test for the next big thing. For some clients it’ll work others not so much. So I give it a small that you need to feed. – @ValenciaSEM

We’ve had a lot more clients turning to Amazon for their eCommerce needs, and we’ve always seen success for certain accounts and demographic targeting on Bing. Others have said it, but it really depends on the specific account and its audience. – @ClkContrl

These aren’t always intuitive to me coming from a search background, but my 2019 focus is to really focus on audience over keywords. If my audience is there I want to be there too .– @JasonStinnett

Hot FOR SURE. Would love more volume in Bing and Quora. Amazon is a no brainer for most ecomm. I really think Bing is about to break through with their new LinkedIn targeting. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google matched that feature in some way in 2019 B2B can pray – @markpgus

Amazon ads too I get better returns for eccomerce there than google. It’s half the cost per sale. Display and Youtube ads also needs some love, the audience targeting is getting awesome! – @elevatedmrktng

General consensus is that what is hot is DIVERSIFYING ad spend across platforms. What platforms varies on what you need/what industry you’re in ppcchat – @amaliaefowler

super hot, still very hot, continue to heat up. – @coryhenke

All the clients want Amazon ads. It’s been a massive shift. As a B2B person, I’m more interested in ABM. Gimmie your lists. Maybe this will be the year LinkedIn’s dashboard becomes easy to use? – @PPCHartman

I think it’s important to diversify our spend. Our target doesn’t just go to Google for answers. – @adwordsgirl

We haven’t done much in the online ad space outside of Google & Facebook, but Amazon Ads would definitely benefit ecomm clients with products listed on Amazon. – @marccxmedia

Yes on Amazon but still restricted to just Ecomm – @JonKagan



Q4: Attribution modeling. Are we going to see continued movement away from last-click?


I believe we will see no movement. Attribution is tough and IMO impossible. User behavior is forever changing. Less attribution talk. More discussion on customer journey, content consumption, and engagement (time spent, pages per visit, % of video viewed, shares, etc) – @coryhenke

clients still can’t handle it  – @jstatad

Everyone should already be there or at least developing something a lot more intuitive than last click. – @ValenciaSEM

Of course we will see movement. However, some people still want a silver bullet to solve attribution, which isn’t how this works. We find position or liner models working well for ecom clients – @duanebrown

We are going to see a continued push away from last click, which, in theory is a good thing. But, the tech behind “knowing the entire journey that happened” is still (and I think will remain) very weak. Some things will always be unknowable. My wish for 2019 is for everyone to calm the hell down on the attribution train. It is still advertising and marketing – even digitally, it will never be even close to 100% trackable. Get over it. You still need to do it. Look at the bottom line instead. – @NeptuneMoon

Instead of movement away from last-click, I think more platforms are going to try releasing their own “attribution” solution. (ie. FB, Amazon, etc) – @nateknox

All of this! I also think clients have a really difficult time wrapping their heads around it. For me, its about looking at where I can use attribution modeling differently. My current clients are happy, don’t want to understand and I don’t want ot rock the boat. But a lot of my longer funnel clients benefit from the attribution conversation. I’m lukewarm. – @amaliaefowler

Absolutely. If you’ve got the data, you should be modeling WAY past last-click. But here’s the thing – it’s all gonna be hard to explain “yes, you got 15.28 leads from Facebook Ads, 125.21 leads from Google Search Ads” etc. I mean, most SMBs have only JUST realized you can’t attribute to one source, fewer have realized the value of core marketing principles like differentiation that have a much bigger effect – @ferkungamaboobo

In my world, last click was dead a while ago. Attribution modeling in Google Analytics is ok but most of my larger clients are pairing Salesforce/Pardot/Bizible/Marketo/HubSpot with their digital channels for lead quality management. Yay, lead gen. That said, Google’s Attribution 360 gets a lot of eyerolls. I haven’t used it myself but my clients loathe the mere idea of it. They want sales numbers, not another Google opinion.  – @PPCHartman

Please say yes! Perfect attribution is a myth (right now). Think of it more as directional data. – @jdprater

I see attribution staying where it is unless some company comes and sweeps us off our feet. But platforms would need to play nice which won’t happen. A big 2018 learning was trusting traditional methods and invest in TOFU. 019/2020 prophecy here. We will start running digital OOH billboards through self serve platforms and will start appreciating brand lift/ branded search increases. In 5 years WE will run every “Traditional” medium through self serve platforms – @markpgus

I’ve been moving g away from Last Click attribution for about a year now and feel that helps. It does suck that we can’t get the full picture quite yet. – @adwordsgirl

Seeing as Google is looking to sunset Last Click in favor of Time Decay or Position, the continued movement from Last Click is clear. – @marccxmedia

god I hope so, but I’m skeptical – @JonKagan



Q5: Video! The topic of last weeks – hot or not? Do you use it now? Do you intend to use it more next year?


video = hot for all kinds of reasons, and not just because the lying liars at FB convinced everyone to ‘pivot to video’ – @JuliaVyse

Video, for me is hot. Getting clients to invest in video and getting the right assets to work is more complicated. I’ve also seen amazing results with video on insta stories as a placement! – @amaliaefowler

Video is HOT and more advertisers are taking advantage of it. – @Mel66

SOOO HOT!!! We are loving YouTube ads, Facebook ads with video for cold audiences…..DO IT! 🙂 . Anyone using the video sequencing in YouTube ads? Or seen the display ads with video added?  – @elevatedmrktng

1) Video will lose in a last-click world. 2) If TV becomes self-serve, digital marketers will stop talking about it like the pre-Cambrian era – @ferkungamaboobo

Will do LinkedIn Video if clients can make the creative. Will experiment with Video ads outside of YouTube – @jstatad

Three words -> Video conquesting campaigns. – @ValenciaSEM

Video is definitely a hot topic. Still barriers to getting clients to be ready to produce and/or use it though… Slowly moving forward. Small biz could really benefit, but have the most fear about doing it too. – @NeptuneMoon

Definitely HOT. Video does really well for us on FB/IG. Its a big part of our strategy, for driving installs, educating customers, and selling product. – @PPCJedi

YES ON VIDEO. But don’t be dumb about it. Measure costs. Take chances on raw video. Build those top funnel audiences… ANDDDD strong brands should test a 100% video completion mid-funnel replacing a LP view… Might keep costs down too if we keep them in platform – @markpgus

Video is hot. For B2B: Testimonial-type vids | Talking head vids | “catch a glimpse of insights” content offer promo vids. I’m excited to test them all. – @PPCHartman

The hottest topic, media placement, and distribution channel. remains the most powerful platform and “the most valuable impression on the web” Performance, User Behavior, but more importantly, emotional reaction and time spent where attention is the goal  – @coryhenke

Who doesn’t like video… at the right time? – @duanebrown

We use Video sparingly (depending on what the client has the resources for, etc.), but it’s definitely a hot commodity in 2019. – @marccxmedia

Video all the way! – @adwordsgirl

video is hot, and we’re getting it, but still under utilized – @JonKagan



Q6: Changing gears. What was something that surprised you in 2018 that you didn’t expect?


The new Google Ads Dashboard. One of the biggest shifts we’ve helped clients adapt to is the growing saturation of Facebook Ads, paralleled by the fact that FB removed great 3rd party targeting options this year. This means custom audience data is more valuable than ever! – @esperinbound

For me in 2018 it was much like mentioned earlier, the emphasis on TOFU. That shift caught me off guard and became really important! – @amaliaefowler

extended expanded text ads – @davisbaker

The power of Instagram. The advancement of instagram for e-commerce advertisers and their battle against amazon on that front while also their story placement which has been impactful or a variety of reasons, thus also winning the vertical video duopoly vs. snap – @coryhenke

first year with some click fraud software. The biggest surprise is how many ad clicks are being detected with VPN software. – @jstatad

The push in Google Ads to use what I’ve dubbed as their “Mad Libs” style responsive ads. All the while not being able to see any meaningful information about which pieces were shown together and converted. This push into responsive ads also seems to clash with the desire to have 100% attribution. If you go with it, you’re really accepting that “some ads did this” without gaining info you could translate elsewhere easily. – @NeptuneMoon

TOFU FOR SURE. Becoming platform agnostic and really designing a proper funnel and letting users progress through it in almost ANY platform… I’d say that last one is creeping into 2019 with not everyone there currently – @markpgus

Search responsive ads have been surprisingly good. – @elevatedmrktng

Overly personal, but I really didn’t think my personal aversion to 99.99% of marketing strategy would crop up again. SO much of digital strategy is utterly misaligned with what businesses need & so few are standing up and saying it – @ferkungamaboobo

Suddenly all my clients wanted to do ABM and I had to hustle a LOT to keep up. It’s just gonna grow in 2019 on social channels. – @PPCHartman

Expanded Ads are great. RSAs not so much. Detailed Demographics are good. and some other alphas and betas in the works but have NDAs on – @ValenciaSEM

Google getting really aggressive about turning on features en masse (smart bidding, location extensions, etc) that it thinks will produce a lift. I think this will continue, and Google will evolve even more quickly using data from mass adoption – @JasonStinnett

We were pretty surprised with how well Call Only ads did for one of our hospitality clients. – @marccxmedia

the new UI and Exact March changes. Hating it all. – @JonKagan



Q7: We have time for one more quick one. Make your own 2019 predictions!


Amazon is going to overpower so much of what we do, much faster than we think. Get ready. – @JuliaVyse

I think we will see more emphasis on quality content and more impatience from users. People will demand what they want even quicker than before, and want access to quality or they’ll be out. I also predict social proof becoming more and more important. Often the purchase differentiator for me is high review ratings combined with high numbers of reviews – @amaliaefowler

Social media marketing has a fundamental shakeup – @ferkungamaboobo

Do I dare wish for advertising solutions that are not about commerce first? So many years of being disappointed on this front. I could also see regulation of tech happening. The appetite for it seems to be growing. It probably won’t be what is actually needed, but it could make for headaches for advertisers? – @NeptuneMoon

Quora becomes a go-to channel for B2B advertisers – @jdprater

With a shift to TOFU we will get access to more traditional self serve platforms and people will flock to us and unfortunately traditional media buyers will be out of work… but fortunate for us we will be in high demand – @markpgus

an obscure prediction; / Gemini will finally be dead – @JonKagan


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