Last year saw some big changes in paid search advertising and while previous years have been all about mobile, in 2017 we saw AI becoming a major part of paid search. We all know how much work Google has been doing on artificial intelligence and machine learning so it came as no surprise when this technical know-how started to infiltrate all things paid search. So let’s take a look at some of the biggest paid search trends of 2017.

Advert split testing

Gone are the days of having to manually split test adverts and come up with new ad copy text variations because Google is now pushing advertisers towards the optimise ad rotation option that lets the machines decide on the best advert to show to the person searching. It’s recommended to have at least 3 text adverts in each ad group and the system will even automatically create additional text adverts for approval where they feel performance could be improved.

Audience targeting

While keywords remain at the heart of the AdWords and paid search ecosystem there has been a rise in audience targeting being used to make marketing more personalised and targeted. This comes from growing competition by platforms such as Facebook which offer a lot more options when it comes to audience-based targeting. This means that campaign types such as Dynamic Search Ads and Display campaigns are seeing much more audience targeting options to help bring them on a par with Facebook.

Local searches

Thanks to mobile devices, voice and digital assistants, local searches continued to grow in 2017. Local searches now account for approximately one-third of mobile searches according to figures by Google. We expect this trend to continue in the year ahead as more and more customers look to connect with businesses that are local to them and visit a shop to satisfy the here and now need.

Google shopping

Retailers continue to use Google Shopping as a way to market their products on the search engines but there is competition. Amazon is perhaps one of the biggest and best known retail platforms in the world and it is now offering a whole host of ad offerings for merchants on its own website. There are also possibilities for future ad serving to customers using voice searches powered by Amazon Alexa.  This should lead to some interesting developments in the year ahead as we see shopping adverts continue to evolve.