Today’s consumers start their quest for a solution to their problems online. Whether they’re looking for a service business (like a new hair salon) or a retailer (like a shoe store) or even a B2B (like a business phone provider), their search begins on the internet.

Establishing an effective search marketing campaign, then, is critical to your digital marketing success. But as with all forms of digital marketing, search marketing trends shift from year to year, and what worked in 2019 might not be as effective today.

Let’s walk through what you need to know about search marketing in the here and now. These are the search marketing trends you need to know about in 2020.

Programmatic Ad Buying Takes Over

AI is causing seismic shifts across all areas of business. It’s changing the way organizations manage product development, logistics, customer service, and everything in between. Marketing is being transformed by AI, too, and it’s having a particularly profound effect on the process of ad buying and bidding.

More and more marketers are using AI and machine learning to automate the process of buying ads on search engines. This technology can calculate the most effective placement and bidding strategy for each campaign, and it’s helping marketers get the greatest ROI on their ads.

LOCALiQ Search Marketing uses AI to allocate your budget based on what’s driving leads, not just clicks, from your ads. By using this approach, we’re able to optimize your campaign faster and more effectively ““ all thanks to AI.

Compared to this AI-based approach, manual bidding is left in the dust. AI takes the heavy lifting off your team and makes smart decisions within milliseconds to optimize your ad spend for you.

Video Marketing Dominates

If I could identify one marketing trend that’s totally dominated over the past two years, it’s video. Consumers are demanding video content, and more and more marketers and business owners are responding with video content everywhere ““ from websites to social and even advertising.

While video ads are not run directly on Google, they are closely associated with search marketing. As Google diversifies the type of content it serves up in SERPs, it displays more video results to consumers. Those video results are more often than not from YouTube, the largest video platform in the world and (incidentally) a company owned by Google.

When you create video ads and host them on YouTube, your ads are likely to be played before video content that appears in search results. And with over a billion hours of video watched on YouTube each and every day, creating video ads to run before that content is an effective way to reach a huge audience.

Amazon Moves Into the Space

When you hear the term “search marketing,” you likely think of Google. And so do most people! But for those who are staying up on marketing trends, we’ve noticed a big shift in search marketing of late.

While Google and Bing remain the two biggest search engines, Amazon advertising is gaining traction with smart search marketers. Amazon snatched up 49% of all e-commerce sales in the US in 2018. For consumers looking to purchase any sort of retail good, many beeline right to Amazon, bypassing Google and Bing altogether.

Marketers have caught onto this trend and are shifting their advertising dollars towards Amazon. Amazon’s ad revenue in Q3 of 2019 was $3.5 billion, and they continue to close the gap with the ad spend on Google and Facebook. If your brand is in the retail space, 2020 might be the time for you to think about shifting some of your search marketing budget towards Amazon, before your competitors do.

Responsive Search Ads Boost ROI

In an effort to continue to add value for their advertisers, Google created responsive search ads. These types of ads allow marketers to add more content to their campaigns. They can enter several variations of headlines and body text, and Google automatically tests various combinations to find the one that garners the highest clickthrough rate.

While tracking consumer responses to ads used to require manual A/B testing, responsive search ads handle that for you automatically. They also test different combinations with different audiences, so your ad content has a greater shot at appearing in auctions for various search terms. Embracing responsive search ads in 2020 can help you reduce manual work and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns ““ a win-win!

Voice Search Shapes SEO

When it comes to organic search marketing strategies, voice search continues to exert its influence. There are now 21 million smart speakers in use in the U.S., and the prevalence of voice search is only expected to rise as more people adopt the technology.

This means that smart brands are optimizing for voice search. Because voice results are presented aloud by the voice assistant one at a time, it’s important to position your content to be the one result they list off. Optimizing for voice starts with building a mobile-friendly site written in plain language and also requires claiming your business on local listings sites like Yelp.

Featured Snippets Steal the Spotlight

More than 60% of all Google searches today do not result in a click through to a website. That’s because Google has introduced featured snippets, blocks of content that are pulled verbatim from relevant websites and presented directly on the results page.

A critical search marketing strategy for 2020, then, is ensuring that your website is the place that Google goes to pull content for the featured snippet. Start by identifying content that’s already performing well (i.e., ranking on the first page of SERPs). Then, structure the content in a way that signals to Google that it directly answers the query that’s been asked by consumers.

Search marketing remains a critical way to get discovered by new consumers looking for the type of solution you offer. But search marketing itself has changed a lot over the years. If you need to refresh your search marketing tactics, we’re here to help.

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