I’ve never really been one for New Year’s resolutions, they’ve just never really appealed to me. If I’m going to make a change in my life that needs willpower and motivation, the worst time to start is surely after New Year’s Eve, at which point I barely have the motivation to get out of bed or cook a proper meal.
But, my personal laziness aside, now that I’m back in work and almost fully recovered from NYE, I realise the importance to look ahead to the coming year and make some changes. You see, in digital marketing nothing stays the same. It would be naïve of us to believe that we can continue doing what we’re doing and the results will just keep flowing.
This said, I have put together a few changes which are important for digital marketers – especially those working on AdWords – to ensure we’re ready for what 2017 has to offer. And, in traditional New Year’s format, I’ve put them in a countdown.
10) Review 2016. It sounds so obvious, but have you? Despite the admission that in digital marketing everything is constantly changing, there is still so much to learn from past results. Identifying what has worked, as well as what hasn’t, should be a huge influencer on how you chose to move forward.
9) Expand Text Ads. Since Google removed the right sided ads on their search engine they introduced Expanded Search Ads, which look more like organic results and, maybe most importantly, take up more room. This ad format has generally received a warm welcome, and with increased CTR’s and improved mobile results being a regular occurrence it’s easy to see why. And yet we’re still seeing that many users have still not made the change. After the 30th Jan 2017 Google will no longer allow users to edit Standard Text Ads, so there is now more urgency than ever to make this improvement to your account. To find out how we do this, read here.
8) Keep Learning. As the digital world continues to grow, so must our knowledge. Make it your resolution to read one article every day and you will soon have a much vaster understanding which will enable you to make better decisions.
7) Small Data. Now, everyone in digital knows that big data is the bee’s knees. But, how effectively does your company use it? Many businesses collect vast amounts of data but do nothing with it, or use it in very primitive forms to gain top level insights which you could do without all that data. So, many smaller companies are now starting to analyse their big data in small, concise chunks. This is a much easier way to analyse data which can otherwise be daunting, and each insight can be pieced together to form deep insights using all the data available. In doing so, businesses can flip the all too familiar example of studying big data and getting small insights to analysing small data and gathering big insights, thus using their data to its full potential.
6) Use Industry Updates. Now, when you’re reading your daily article/blog, etc. you will undoubtedly stumble across new updates on AdWords. An official site for new features can be found here. When you find these updates don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘Oh, that’s cool’, and then moving on to the next thing. Look at your account(s) and think of how you could use these updates, and then test them.
5) Clear Goals. As with every year, a clear plan is needed. Make sure you look at the bigger picture and integrate your digital marketing plan with the businesses overall plan/strategy. Set reasonable goals which will help your company grow this year.
4) Test. When approaching new territory, be it a new feature, a new channel, new ad copy, etc. have a plan in place to test. This will allow you to see how effectively they work before investing larger sums of money/time into rolling out the changes across your account. Test everything!
3) Mobile Optimised Landing Pages. Gone are the days where mobile is ‘on the rise’. No, mobile has risen and is now used as much as desktops for internet searches and is set to continue to grow. As such, it’s vital that your website and landing pages are optimised for traffic from either device, and provide a good UX and customer journey to users.
2) Track Accurately. This is fundamental to everything you do. Tracking allows you to understand how users use your site which allows for improvements in the back end, as well as attributing conversions to your marketing efforts to allow for improvements on this front too. Without accurate tracking you’re effectively playing blind.
1) Be Prepared for Change. This is key. Set yourself up in a position prepared for change, and you have the resources to do so. Two big trends which look set to effect PPC in the coming year(s) is Voice Search and The Internet of Things. Are you in an environment ready to react to/or plan for these changes?
Ok, not quite as dramatic as the London NYE countdown by Big Ben, but hopefully it’s more helpful. Happy 2017 PPC’ers!