Now is a great time to prepare for changes 2022 is likely to bring in. Times are changing, and so is the future of PPC. Running a digital advertising campaign amid Google’s ever-evolving policies can be a daunting task.

Navigating Google’s updates, like the emergence of the privacy-led digital advertising world, the removal of expanded text ads (ETAs), and the explosion of alternative advertising platforms like TikTok can be extremely challenging without preparation.

To help you prepare better for the upcoming year, we are rounding up the five most important PPC trends of 2022 to keep an eye on in the upcoming year. We'll also provide a few tips on how to use these in future PPC campaigns. 

Trend #1: The Rise of First-Party Data

Third-Party Cookies Are Dead

One of the most significant trends – not just in paid search – of 2022 is the removal of third-party cookies. Google is planning to ban all third-party cookies by 2023. Third-party cookies have been around for the past 25 years.

And a world without third-party cookies will be challenging for the digital advertising ecosystem that has been heavily reliant on the easy and widespread availability of data.

Advertising without third-party cookies may get intimidating; however, it presents a huge opportunity for brands that have been looking forward to embracing privacy as a part of their customer relationship strategy.

Increased Importance of First-Party Data

As the era of third-party cookies comes to an end, the key digital advertising trend of 2022 would be first-party data. The success of digital advertising will depend on your own ecosystem of first-party data.

With first-party data, you can use it as a seed of algorithms for partners like Google, Facebook, and other large eCommerce platforms.

These "walled gardens" will not be affected by doing away with third-party cookies; however, it's good to start using these platforms effectively.

Trend #2: AI + Automation Trending Strongly

Keep Pace With the Industry

Google is increasingly working on and promoting industry use of its AI. It's important to stay on top of these changes to make the most of its updates.

As an example, you won't be able to edit expanded text ads, or ETAs, from June 2022.

This is because Google wants its AI to put together the headlines and descriptions based on what will get the best results using Responsive Search Ads (RSAs).

Make sure you are using this time ahead of the deadline to understand what works and what doesn't in your current ad copy, try out RSAs if you haven't already, and to get ready for the switch.

AI & Automation More Important Than Ever

AI and automation in marketing are relatively newer concepts. These concepts will be the most prominent ones in PPC in the coming year. Advertising professionals will use them extensively to save time on manual tasks. 

AI combined with automation will assist in creating effective advertising campaigns by improving conversion rates, dynamically creating ads based on user intent and website content, automating the bidding process, and automating ad success reports.

Ignore these developments at your peril!

Trend #3: Test & Learn

ETAs and RSAs

Come June 2022, PPC advertising will see a major change. You will no longer be able to create or edit ETAs in the Google Ads interface. Google is paving the way for responsive search ads (RSAs) and dynamic search ads (DSAs) by making it the default search ad type.

Google’s strategy to promote automation and machine learning is the reason behind this change. This is where RSAs and DSAs come in. Both these ad types prefer automation.

Let Google work on selecting the best combination of headlines and assets from those supplied by the advertiser. The selection will be based on vast amounts of data collected from advertisers by Google. 

With RSAs and DSAs leading the way in 2022, learning to use them efficiently will be the goal of advertisers. 

Allow Google to do the heavy lifting while you focus on crafting more ad campaigns and let automation and AI do their work. 

Test What’s Good for You, Not for Google

Trusting RSAs means giving more power to Google. This can be daunting for advertisers if the power is given without any testing or trial runs. Now is the right time to start testing what is working for your brand.

You want your ads to display content that resonates with your campaign and your brand. You don’t want to trust Google automation blindly. So, this is the right time to experiment with assets and content and figure out what will work best for you.

Giving Google the right kinds of assets and content to choose from will give you the desired results. Test, learn, and unlearn from the data available to you to create an effective campaign.

Trend #4: Diversification & TikTok

TikTok: The Breakthrough of 2022

TikTok is the fastest growing social media network with more than 1 billion active users per month. TikTok’s reach is massive and is increasing rapidly.

Advertisers need to diversify to be seen. And TikTok is offering the diversification opportunity advertisers are looking for.

Explore Beyond Paid Ads

The advertising world is growing. To make the most of every penny spent on ads, you need to explore beyond the status quo of paid ads. Influencer marketing is the "in thing." TikTok has created a platform that brings together influencers and businesses.

Organic content posted by influencers is more likely to yield successful results. This is because video content is easy to consume, and people are more likely to trust accounts they follow. 

Organic marketing isn’t limited to influencer marketing. Search Engine Optimisation, Digital PR, content marketing, blogging, and promoting user-generated content are some of the avenues to explore for organic marketing.

Trend #5: Attribution & Conversion Tracking

Google Analytics 4: Attribution Modelling

Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of the world’s most ubiquitous analytics tool. And while uptake hasn’t been overnight, GA4 is better equipped for the future than its predecessor, Universal Analytics.

GA4 offers more advanced tools and reporting that include expanded predictive insights, cross-device measurement capabilities, deeper integration with Google Ads, and more granular data controls.

As already mentioned, Google is phasing out third-party cookies. This will make tracking consumer activity across devices difficult. To improve conversion tracking, Google is offering "Enhanced Conversions."

In Google’s words:

"Enhanced Conversions is a feature that can improve the accuracy of your conversion measurement. It supplements your existing conversion tags by sending hashed first-party conversion data from your website to Google in a privacy-safe way."

This is the future of analytics. For now, at least.

Offline Conversion Tracking

It's time to start focusing on offline conversion tracking. Today, brands are present both online and offline. Consumers may gather information about a product or service online; however, they may end up making the purchase offline.

The problem with traditional conversion tracking is there is no way this purchase would be attributed to the online ad campaign. This puts marketers at a disadvantage, as they can't measure the actual effectiveness of their campaigns. 

The solution to this dilemma is to implement robust offline conversion tracking.

Cleverer Tracking and Modelling

Google offline conversion tracking is a powerful tool that allows advertisers to track offline sales generated through Google Ads and other important mid-funnel conversions, such as phone calls, form submissions, and downloads.

In the absence of third-party cookies, advertisers will have to make the most of this tool to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Final Thoughts

The coming year is going to bring in tons of changes for marketers. Now is the time to start preparing for them if you want to reap the rewards in 2022 and beyond.

The growing audience of engaged users will offer you opportunities to innovate and experiment. And the new tools and techniques at your disposal will help make these experiments effective throughout the year.