PPC: A Review of 2010 & Our Expectations for 2011

As we near the end of the year, our team reflected on the changes seen in PPC, and put together the following recap of those with the biggest impact so far:


Twitter has begun to reach out to companies who want to advertise on their social media platform via what are being called “promoted tweets.” Basically, a company or advertising agency can pay (based on a cost per impression model) to have their Tweets appear at the top of the Twitter search page. And, based on the “resonance” of the Tweet, can have it stay in this top spot as long as it is still considered relevant and interesting by Twitter. This “resonance” variable sounds somewhat like quality score for Google. And speaking of Google, in these Tweets appear at the top of Google Realtime searches, which makes this advertising option seem promising to advertisers.

Facebook Ads

Since it’s inception, people have been wondering how Facebook makes money. I remember pondering this question when I created my first account, which I want to say was way back in 2005. While people pondered the question, the definitive answer wasn’t known. Most assumed it was through advertising but Facebook didn’t actually own it’s own advertising platform. Well that changed in 2010. We can now give our advertising dollars directly to Facebook through the use of Facebook Ads. The coolest part about Facebook Ads is the targeting. You can dig into interest level targeting that is defined by the actual user. How cool is that? Sure CTR on Facebook is a little lower but you still only pay when you receive clicks and you can serve image ads to people who you know are interested in your topic of choice. My guess is Facebook’s revenue stream is growing, and in a more public manner.

eCommerce Ad Enhancements
If you are an eCommerce company, we hope that you have been able to integrate some of the new ad extensions in Google to help you reach even more targeted customers. Product extensions and Product Listing Ads have recently been released, which allow you to link your Google Merchant Center data feed, and show images, prices, and product names along with, or in addition to your ads. Sitelink extensions allow you to show up to ten links along with your ads, so you can help consumers easily find certain categories without having to navigate through your site, which helps improve your conversion rate.

Yahoo/Bing Merger

Of course we couldn’t leave out the Bing/Yahoo matrimony, arguably one of the biggest events in search engine history.  With thousands of accounts in attendance, on October 27, 2010, “the big three” became “the big two”.  Since then, all Yahoo paid traffic has been delivered through Bing’s interface.  Now that Bing is generating considerably more traffic, you may want to take a second glance at a few of our articles regarding Adcenter optimizations and tools, such as: how to effectively manage the Bing content network, use Microsoft Advertising Intelligence for Keyword expansion, and utilize Bing’s dynamic insertion for a higher CTR.

As well as some of our expectations for PPC in 2011:

Mobile Marketing

What are you doing to cater to a mobile or non-PC audience? If you’re thinking “Well, nothing…” then you’re probably missing a huge opportunity to reach a larger audience and increase brand recognition, build reputation, and improve ROI. With the continued exponential expansion of mobile search volume and mobile device and tablet sales (Google’s mobile searches are up fivefold over the past 2 years, and smartphone/tablet sales are expected to eclipse PC sales within 18 months), it will be important to develop a strategy to both leverage and measure the value of mobile searchers, as their capabilities, behavioral patterns, and lead generation paths become more divergent from those of traditional computer-based search.

Social Media Marketing Comes of Age

The Time Person of the Year, another social giant turning down Google, and an ever-present social graph … 2010 was the year social media came of age.  2011 is the year social media marketing will follow.

While search engine marketing business will continue to grow and increase revenue, 2011 is the year social media marketing is included in small businesses’ online marketing strategies. Watch for social network mobile advertising to improve and for your Facebook keywords to rise in price.

What were some of your favorite changes in 2010? How do you think PPC will continue to evolve in the coming year, and what are you doing now to prepare for it? We’d love to hear your thoughts!