The year’s breakout PPC trends include voice search, Bing-LinkedIn audience targeting, AI, and fully automated Google campaigns.

Top 8 PPC trends for 2024

    1. Google marches toward fully automated campaigns
    2. Bing usage is at an all-time high
    3. Bing pinpoints ad reach by harnessing LinkedIn’s audience targeting
    4. More YouTube features make video ads more accessible to businesses
    5. Voice search optimization can capture more audiences
    6. Website optimization for mobile devices remains vital 
    7. Generative AI can influence paid search results
    8. AI is an internal tool for landing pages and keyword research

Are competitors overshadowing your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns? 

You might have a meticulous bidding strategy and laser-sharp audience targeting, but have you kept up with the ever-evolving paid search landscape? This includes shifts in searcher behavior and search engine algorithms. 

The latest PPC trends for 2024 can give your campaigns the boost they need to convert your audience and stand out from the competition.  

Below, HawkSEM Lead Strategist Ian Dawson shares his strategies and tactics to meet the shifting tides of PPC advertising. We’ll cover his top 2024 PPC trend predictions and how they can help you crush your marketing goals this year. 

ppc trends on phone

 1. Google marches toward fully automated campaigns

Google’s machine learning (ML) algorithms help you automate (and save time) with its automated campaigns, including smart bidding and Performance Max campaigns

Smart bidding is crucial for brands who want to optimize PPC campaigns based on their unique budgets and business goals. We love using the Target CPA bidding strategy to keep lead or conversion value consistent with the cost our clients pay per acquisition. 

But to truly leverage Google’s PPC automation for success in 2024, you’ll need to have a hawk’s eye on your data. After all, you want to give Google the best possible chance to give you the right output based on performance and audience criteria. 

This means aligning your campaigns with data from audience research and customer data from your customer relationship management (CRM) platform. 

You can also collect valuable data from Conversion Value smart campaigns, which gives you real-time data on how much revenue each conversion gets you. Dawson loves automated bidding strategies specifically for their data collection potential:

“There’s always a benefit to exploring fully automated campaigns to help uncover new data; an answer for an unasked question,” says Dawson. 

But can you get the same benefits with a manual campaign? Not quite. Dawson highlights the difference:

“With a manual strategy, almost every aspect of your plan is a known and intentional effort. With fully automated strategies, you might learn something about your marketing efforts that you did not know to ask about.”

But enough about Google. Let’s make way for a runner-up that deserves your attention this year.

 2. Bing usage is at an all-time high (a plus for B2B businesses)

It’s no secret that Google is the world’s most popular search engine. But Bing doesn’t fall far behind, boasting an increase of an additional 100 million unique visitors from November 2022 to April 2023. 

That’s definitely worth a second look, which is why marketers have contributed to a consistent annual increase in Bing’s search advertising revenue (which reached over $12 billion last year, by the way). 

On top of Bing’s trends of increasing performance, brands still benefit from cheaper cost per click (CPC) due to the decreased competition compared to Google. 

Microsoft (which owns Bing) also lets you use multimedia search ads, giving you serious real estate on your audience’s search results sidebar — a feature not available on Google.

Finally, SaaS and B2B businesses shouldn’t ignore Bing for its prominent audience of desktop searchers. While more people in general use mobile, Bing’s audience tends to see more search queries from people using desktop computers

Why should B2B businesses pay close attention here? Because desktop devices are the tool of choice for those who make larger purchases (and purchases in general). People tend to browse at the top of the sales funnel on mobile but convert on desktop.  

B2B leads still lacking? Give your marketing campaigns a boost with expert insights from a specialist B2B marketing agency

Another PPC trend for Bing that should catch your attention?

 3. Bing pinpoints ad reach by harnessing LinkedIn’s audience targeting

Imagine you have a ton of customer data like purchase history, location, conversation keywords, and more. Bing’s custom audiences let you leverage your own data to target similar audiences on its search engine

But let’s say you knew about a specific audience with a handful of job titles or career niches you wanted to target. You might think LinkedIn Ads is your go-to option, right? 

That would’ve been the case until Microsoft collaborated with LinkedIn, integrating their profile targeting as an audience targeting function.

Dawson highlights career-focused targeting as a strong plus for Bing campaigns:

“LinkedIn audiences give Bing Ads a unique advantage over other search networks due to its ability to specifically target companies instead of general industries (but you can target general industries too!),” says Dawson. 

But the best benefit is the job function targeting. Why? Because you can target the person in charge of decisions: the person with the power to convert and buy your product. 

But wouldn’t it be nice to leverage LinkedIn’s audience data in a Google Ads campaign, too? Dawson shares a trick to get a taste of LinkedIn’s robust targeting in your Google Ads campaign, too:

“You can use a similar channel collaboration with Google Ads if you leverage proper tracking,” says Dawson. “If you use HubSpot, for example, you can create a list of inbound leads in certain companies that are not yet customers and create advertising messaging to help convert these leads.”

Another PPC trend for lead conversion? More video advertising. 

 4. More YouTube features make video ads more accessible to businesses

Outside of just marketing trends, today’s digital audience loves video content. HubSpot says they’re more likely to learn about brand products through videos, and more likely to share video content. But Dawson notes that despite a growing affinity for video formats, businesses haven’t always been able to take advantage of it as a medium:

“In the past, a company would need a hefty advertising budget to simply create the video assets required to run a video campaign in Google Ads,” says Dawson. 

This made video PPC ads too costly a strategy for many businesses, especially newer ones. A videographer, studio space, and valuable time in your marketing schedule weren’t so easily dispensable. 

But Dawson highlights that YouTube has introduced new tools and features to make video advertising easier than ever. Notably, YouTube’s bumper machine tool lets you create bumper ads out of videos shorter than 90 seconds: 

“Now, companies have rich editing tools and the ability to create video ads from existing media content, right in the YouTube interface,” says Dawson. “In addition to these features, most advertisers have high-quality video recording abilities using smartphones.”

Need some inspo for your video content? Learn about remarketing, masthead ads, and personalization in our expert YouTube ads guide

 5. Voice search optimization can capture more audiences

If 2023 was the year for visual search trends, 2024 is the year for voice search. Think about it: do you notice more voice note options in your iMessage or WhatsApp chats? 

They’re pretty convenient, especially for people on the go. Plus, if your first language isn’t English, they make it easier to communicate with English-speaking friends and colleagues. 

Now picture this: someone wants to find a product fast, but they dislike typing or texting. Just like voice notes are increasingly common in social chats, voice searches have become more prominent on PPC channels.

Both Google and Bing have AI-powered voice search functions. That said, we’ve noticed something interesting across target audiences in various niches: people don’t always type how they talk. Meaning? Voice search optimization will require you to:

  • Keep ad copy conversational: Write how people would speak by using more long-tail keywords.
  • Listen to your audience: Study their social media activity and any source of casual conversation
  • Boost your local SEO: One of the most popular voice search queries? “[product or service] near me.” So naturally, Google Assistant generates much of its voice results with top organic content, as well as Google My Business listings

Final tip for voice search optimization? Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.

 6. Website optimization for mobile devices remains vital 

Mobile devices have dominated search for the last few years, and they continue to be your audience’s device of choice into 2024. Your website and digital advertising efforts should reflect that preference. 

Those video ads and voice search queries we discussed earlier? All that content intake happens on smartphones. Without a mobile-friendly website, or a site speed time that’s one second too long, you’ll miss out on:

  • Longer session times: Your audience will bounce if your site doesn’t load fast enough on their phone.
  • Voice queries: A website that isn’t mobile-optimized might not even appear on the SERP.
  • Bottom-funnel customers: The Pew Research Center found that more than three-fourths of Americans use their smartphones for online purchases.

While your ads and website might be mobile-friendly, we now have to ask: are they AI-friendly? 

 7. Generative AI can influence paid search results

At HawkSEM, we lean on tried-and-true tactics to help you rank high on Google’s search results. For example, answering common questions with long-tailed keywords will help you show up in Google’s top results. 

Similarly, keyword-focused ad descriptions land you above your competitors in paid search results (along with a strong bidding strategy). 

We also leverage ConversionIQ to keep tabs on what’s working and what isn’t, down to the last keyword, channel, and ad schedule. This proprietary tech, which you get access to when you partner with us, attributes revenue and metrics to all your marketing tactics in one unified dashboard for easy interpretation. 

Our goal is to maintain record-breaking ROI across all our clients. That’s why we constantly evolve our tactics to accommodate changes that PPC campaigns experience with new technology, like generative artificial intelligence (AI). 

Currently, Google is running a few experiments with generative AI known as Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Although it’s only in the beta stage right now, we can expect Google to launch generative AI in paid search sometime in 2024. This will summarize search results to help answer longer-winded search queries, even if top results don’t appear in that AI-generated summary. 

 8. AI is an internal tool for landing pages and keyword research

AI being listed as one of these trends probably isn’t surprising. More than half of marketers use AI in their campaigns, especially to extract and communicate data within brand content. Dawson highlights his favorite AI use cases for paid search: 

“I like to use AI as a way to help create rough outlines and drafts of efforts,” says Dawson. “It can be helpful with ad copy creation, keyword research, and landing page copy.”

We love keyword research tools like Semrush and Ahrefs. These SEO tools are efficient in gathering valuable keyword data like volume, difficulty, competition, and search intent. 

However, the added benefit of AI within the keyword research process is in how quickly it can process that data and turn it into informational insights to give you the best strategic recommendations. 

ConversionIQ harnesses AI to determine the most profitable keywords across your advertising strategy, attributing every last dollar to them. 

AI for keywords? Awesome. But what makes AI useful in the content creation process? 

Personalization is one key aspect, as it can interpret thousands of audience data points to recommend certain copy combinations. This becomes especially valuable for landing pages, where personalization can be the difference between a bounce and a conversion. 

Still, Dawson recommends keeping a close eye on any AI marketing activities:

“It’s important to treat any AI output as a draft and to thoroughly review before use.”

Why it’s important to stay on top of 2024 PPC trends

Nothing in digital advertising stays the same for long. Imagine you didn’t update your PPC strategy from 2016 — you’d miss the boat on entire social media platforms like TikTok, which only launched that year and became a goldmine for digital advertisers with a younger audience base.

Here are a few more reasons to stay on top of PPC trends

  • Enhance user experience: Reflect new audience needs and online behavior in your updated PPC strategy
  • Reduce ad spend: Find more strategic ways to spend your budget with updated bidding strategies to account for new algorithm updates. 
  • Employ new tech: Embrace AI’s new use cases and harness new PPC platform features to better reach and convert your audience. 

Essentially, PPC trends help you maintain a relevant, effective strategy that continues to rank high on the SERP and convert your audience as much as possible.

The takeaway

You can’t expect last year’s PPC strategy and trends to work the same next year. Your potential customers change how they search every year, and in response, search engine algorithms change to meet them with PPC automation and AI.

Now it’s your turn to pivot your strategy accordingly. 

Armed with the knowledge of 2024 PPC marketing trends and how to work with them, you can elevate your business’s search ads to propel higher traffic and conversion rates. But let’s be real, all these technological advancements in the PPC world aren’t easy for even seasoned marketers to keep tabs on.

That’s why brands who want results rely on award-winning digital marketing agencies like HawkSEM to keep their PPC campaigns at peak performance. 

How do we do it? With decades of paid search experience to inform our strategies, a die-hard commitment to master Google’s algorithms, and a robust tech stack to back it all up with the data we need to succeed.

Sure, you still have to pay for each click. But with an average of 4.5X ROI, that cost per click (CPC) quickly becomes a minimal investment. Let’s launch your PPC campaign today

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation