PPC Survey: AI top priority but concerning, Google Ads trust down


PPCsurvey.com has just released a new State of PPC Global Report for 2024. It includes input from more than 1,100. PPC specialists from around the globe.

The findings cover search marketers’ largest concerns, top priorities, spend data, automation insight and a wealth of information about the most pressing trends in paid search.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the largest findings.

Top priorities. AI and automation was named as the biggest priorities for search marketers this year. This trend has been building in Google Ads for a while now. It started with using broad match keywords, then moved to automated bidding, and now we’re even automating creatives and where they’re placed.”

Top goals. In 2024, 72% of search marketers have prioritized achieving efficient growth as their main goal. This indicates that they aim to increase spending as long as they maintain efficiency targets like ROAS or CPA. Key priorities for PPC practitioners will likely include:

  • Reducing wasted spend.
  • Building safeguards through layers of automation.
  • Optimizing performance from outside the ad accounts (e.g. landing pages).

For the nearly one in five marketers who need to enhance efficiency, it implies that there’s no leeway for increasing the ad budget. Therefore, they must seek ways to generate more volume from the existing budget.

Ad budgets. Advertising budgets are mostly increasing, with 12 out of 23 campaign types expecting rises, notably on Google Ads and Meta platforms. Particularly, there’s a focus on campaigns targeting ‘ready to buy’ prospects at the bottom of the funnel. Google’s product feed-based Performance Max campaign is the top choice for increased budget allocation, selected by 63% of experts. Across various company models, over half of respondents plan to amplify spending on feed-based Performance Max campaigns in 2024, highlighting the profitability of investing in automated campaigns with high-quality product data feeds.

PMax adoption. Although PMax campaigns are widely adopted, their application varies greatly, often diverging from their intended use. Surprisingly, less than half of respondents utilize a dedicated full-funnel approach, which entails including assets necessary for placements like YouTube and other platforms. Motivations for this deviation can differ; for instance, some advertisers might face challenges in providing the required assets. To address this issue, Google is working to alleviate the burden by leveraging generative AI and other tools to automatically create assets.

Automated bidding trends. Automated bid strategies have become the go-to for most advertisers, with options like tROAS and tCPA leading the pack. Manual bidding is still around but takes a backseat. Target impression share bidding is mainly used for brand protection, but isn’t commonly used for other strategies.

Targeting options and campaign types. Exact match remains popular, while the new Demand Gen feature hasn’t caught on. This is because most advertisers benefit from exact match, whereas a much smaller portion of advertisers require expansion beyond Google Search. Performance Max (with feed) is now used more than Standard shopping, but Standard shopping still has its fans and uses.

PPC challenges. Nearly half of PPC specialists believe managing campaigns has become harder over the past two years. The main reason, cited by 49% of practitioners, is the loss of insights and data due to automated campaigns like Performance Max. This includes the frustration of not having access to complete search term data. Increased competition and rising CPCs are also significant challenges, as advertisers feel they’re spending more without seeing proportional results. Additionally, changes in tracking, privacy, and attribution further complicate measuring campaign success.

Ad platform concerns. Trust in ad platforms has declined over the past year, with only LinkedIn showing a net positive sentiment. Google (54%), Twitter (51%), and Meta (42%) experienced the most significant declines in trust. These platforms have faced challenges such as prioritizing platform-side automation over user control, reputation damage, unwanted content, and overall unreliability.

Ad platform popularity. Global advertising is expected to grow by 8.2% in 2024, and more than 50% of that global advertising spend will go to these five major tech firms:

  • Alphabet (Google, YouTube).
  • Meta (Facebook, Instagram).
  • Amazon.
  • Alibaba.
  • Bytedance (TikTok, Douyin).

Why we care. Staying updated on trends within the PPC industry is crucial for making informed decisions about various aspects such as ad placement, ad spend, campaign types, and bid strategies. This ensures that your decisions are driven by data and are more likely to lead to successful outcomes.

What PPC experts are saying. Frederick Vallaeys, co-founder & CEO at Optmyzr, commented on the findings of the report. He said:

  • “The most successful digital marketers will be those who successfully merge machine capabilities with human oversight.”
  • “One without the other will fall short of the full potential. When software helps with time-intensive, repetitive tasks, we can focus on what we enjoy. Instead of constantly monitoring campaign performance, we can make more meaningful contributions to the brands we service.”” Frederick Vallaeys, co-founder & CEO at Optmyzr.”

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Deep dive. Read The State of PPC Global Report 2024 in full by downloading the PDF for more information.


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