How to be a competitive paid search marketer in 2022

These past few years have been quite turbulent for digital marketers – to put it mildly. As the customer changed, so too did SEO; gradually but steadily it still becomes increasingly customer-focused and distinctly local. Paid marketing saw similar changes, as remarketing and retargeting become increasingly necessary to entice unconvinced audiences. These and an array of other developments left many marketers understandably concerned about what the future holds. We at Digital Dot, as the digital marketing agency NYC businesses turn to for professional advice, are here to help alleviate these concerns. In this article, we’ll explore just how to be a competitive paid search marketer in 2022, despite its rapid pace.

The future of paid search marketing

Initially, let’s briefly explore what the future seems to hold for paid search marketing. In such rocky times, fortune favors the prepared.

Paid search marketing ROI

First and foremost, paid search marketing is most certainly not going anywhere. Some research does suggest that its value will diminish in specific contexts, and such fluctuations are only natural. But overtly pessimistic, definitive predictions that it will in any way fade out we must object to. As long as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) remains relevant, its crucial component of paid search marketing will remain equally relevant.

To prove this we may simply note paid search marketing’s consistently promising Return on Investment (ROI). Research by Hook, as well as others among our peers, confidently asserts this:

A pie chart on the ROI of different marketing methods.

Now yes, its ROI is still rather challenging to measure accurately. It will also vary significantly among industries and even among individual marketers and campaigns. But it’s still notably positive, and no marketing trends hint at this change anytime soon.

Paid search marketing trends

On that subject, trends do seem to change – as the introduction hinted. For one, as the above article’s cited research shows, “the old meets the new” in 2022 trendsetters:

  • Automation
  • First-Party Data
  • Audience Targeting & Segmentation
  • Testing
  • Diversification

Google’s own course only solidifies this direction, at that. Jerry Dischler, Google’s vice president and CEO of ad writing, announced the following new and renewed features for 2022:

  • Responsive search ads (RSAs)
  • Broad match keywords
  • Target CPA bidding
  • More privacy-safe advertising
  • New measurement and audience strategies
  • Expanding automation

Needless to say, one will need to navigate these new waters to be a competitive paid search marketer in 2022.

Paid search marketing challenges

Of course, that does not come without challenges. As a PPC agency New York trends we’ve observed do outline a handful.

Most notably, paid search ad performance strongly hinges on relevance. In SEO terms this would be matching the user’s search intent – and Clutch research does confirm it:

A chart on the reasons why people click on paid search ads.

This is what Google’s Linah Maigurira beautifully summarizes as follows:

“To stand out in 2022, brands should be more intentional about communicating their value and authentic purpose. You have to create messages and experiences that are true to your brand and relevant to people, reflecting their needs. In this context, relevance is as important as reach.”

But relevance has already been a challenge, even before such new hurdles for marketers as:

  • GDPR compliance limiting data collection.
  • The gradual removal of third-party cookies, spanning across Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
  • An increasingly competitive post-pandemic landscape.

Combined, these do not offer an easy road ahead – especially not for multichannel strategies, which 2022 calls for.

How to be a competitive paid search marketer in 2022

Still, being successful in this field has always hinged on rising up to the challenge. As audiences, circumstances, and times change, so too must marketers.

To help you do so and excel in 2022, here are our 5 suggestions you may consider.

#1 Monitor your share of search

The first asset of any marketer is, arguably, a clear overview of their market position. In this regard, the relatively new metric of “share of search” should be invaluable.

In an oft-cited webinar, Adthena’s Ashley Fletcher explains:

“Search is the channel where the conversion happens[.] As spend rises in Google Ads, this is the part of the funnel that’s critical for brands[.]

You want your reaction time to increase[, you] want the data coming through to be faster, and you want channel confidence to grow[.]If you plug in your top three brands terms, you can start to build a picture [that] gives you that maximum, whole market view.”

This metric, as the name suggests, gauges a brand’s share of all searches. It does rely on brand awareness, of course, but it remains an excellent insights tool. To calculate it, Fletcher offers the following formula:

A formula to determine one's share of searches.

#2 Embrace local markets

Next, as we outlined above, you will undoubtedly need to embrace local markets to be a competitive paid search marketer. We phrase this strongly because we’re not alone in this suggestion; Fletcher, LinkedIn’s Isaac Diaz, and Google themselves all agree. Even social media marketing services NYC agencies offer reflect it and cement the need for a cross-channel focus on locality.

There are ample third-party tools you may use to do so, but here we may outline Google’s:

Such tools you’ve likely used in other contexts before, but here you will need a strictly local focus. If you can fortify your local SEO efforts in the process, all the better.

#3 Shift toward audiences over keywords

Perhaps surprisingly to some, many experts predict that the choice of keywords will begin to lose significance. This too we have to agree with; Google’s promotion of broad match keywords requires only “loose matching”. Just as local SEO increasingly minds search intent more than exact match, paid search marketing will organically follow suit.

Lynn Fowler, Booyah’s director of search, echoes this sentiment as well:

A quote by Lynn Fowler on paid search keyword trends.

In action, this will mean you should focus on who is searching. Never mind keywords; how do you meet their queries’ needs? How do you remarket to them if they’re not convinced at first? What do your competitors offer them that you can match?

It’s this SEO-minded user-first philosophy that will gradually inform paid search marketing’s course.

#4 Leverage automation and diversify

Next, since they go hand in hand, we may consolidate two developments into one. Namely, to be a competitive paid search marketer you will need to both leverage automation and diversify – combining the two.

As regards the former, you may begin with Google’s aforementioned automation features. PPC marketing does immensely benefit from automation, especially if one’s scope requires it. Consider automatic bids, data reports, and any other forms of automation your tools of choice offer.

As regards the latter, you may consider such means of diversification as:

  • Channel diversification; Facebook Ads, LinkedIn paid marketing, etc.
  • Format diversification; image and video ads, etc.
  • Organic and paid; the golden balance between two halves of a whole.

Then, depending on your chosen diversification and channels, you may consider additional means of automation. For social media activities, for example, you may consider social listening and schedulers. If email marketing best augments your campaigns instead, event-triggered email tools will serve you well.

#5 Remember SEO

On that note, we may conclude with a plain marketing truism, which nonetheless bears repeating. Always remember that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) hinges on both organic and paid search – arguably equally. After all, statistics show that “nearly 60% of users can’t tell the difference between a paid and an organic result.”

Two circles that illustrate search engine marketing's organic and paid components.

To address this, simply treat the two as the fitting partners that they are. Use your organic insights to inform your paid bids, pay for keywords you can’t organically rank for, and so forth. Treat one as complementary to the other, and maintain a proper balance that your audiences need.

And of course, as we’ve highlighted manifold throughout this article, remember to maintain a local focus with both. In these post-pandemic times, you very likely need to.

Conclusion

In summary, it takes research, effort, and dedication to be a competitive paid search marketer in 2022. As customer behaviors continue to change, local markets matter more than ever before. Keywords themselves begin to lose value, as relevance and audiences take center stage. Automation has entered the mainstream too and continues to offer invaluable conveniences. In this context, diversification, innovation, and a constant eye on performance will likely carry paid search forward for years to come.

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