As a paid search account manager, you try to stay as ahead of the curve as much as possible. For full-time account managers, the fast-paced environment of paid search can be exciting, but for many people it can be exhausting trying to keep up. That being said, I wanted to share with you what I believe are five big upcoming changes in paid search in the upcoming year.
Google Shopping, originally known as Froogle, has taken on many updates since its inception in 2002, when Google began allowing e-commerce advertisers to link their database of inventory in an online marketplace alongside other advertisers. Froogle’s rise was swift as it was the first major comparison shopping network to offer placement for free. Froogle’s growth continued alongside Google AdWords until 2007, when it became Google Product Search.
Fast-forward to May 31, 2012, and Google made one of its most surprising and sudden changes to date. Google announced that Google Product Search would change its name to Google Shopping – however, the far bigger news was that, beginning in the fall, ads would have to be paid for through Google AdWords, sending many online advertisers into a panic. Since then, many have been struggling to keep up, as they now have to master two platforms (AdWords and Google Shopping) at once.
Seemingly unrivaled for many years, this major transition has opened the door to many companies running off a more traditional model of paid comparison shopping. While Google Shopping drew many advertisers away from companies like Amazon and eBay, we now have many of the big guys competing in the same ring. We also see new faces in the crowd such as Bing Shopping, which launched an aggressive anti-Google campaign , causing a back and forth between the two giants .
Just like everything with any company, Google Shopping will take on many changes as it adjusts to the new marketplace.
For many industry professionals, the phrase “logging into AdCenter” can cause hair to stand on end. Despite getting started late in the game, Microsoft has been determined to spar with one of the most dominant companies in a particular industry since US Steel. For those who remember Overture, the AdCenter platform was not much better. Up until recently, the slow response time and painfully slow online platform caused many to flee from account management.
In September, Microsoft announced they would rebrand themselves as Bing Ads . With the rebranding, we have seen an accelerated level of improvement, making account management bearable. With advances such as Bing Ads Editor, new bidding features, Google account import, and Agency Management, the phrase “logging into Bing” does not prompt so much anxiety in account managers.
Google Analytics Finally Talking to AdWords/Bing
I always imagined the AdWords and Analytics buildings on the Google Campus were built as far away from each other as possible and by entirely different architects. Since Google’s inception, both platforms continued on in entirely different courses, yet they could not need each other more. While link tagging and tracking allowed sophisticated users to track their paid search accounts in Analytics, most advertisers were left wondering, what happens after the click?
Now AdWords and Analytics allow you to see each other’s data. You can bring Analytics goals into AdWords and use them to measure conversions. Likewise, you can see AdWords campaigns in Analytics and dive deeper by looking at things like average time on site and cost-per-click in the same view. It basically allows people to see what happens after they clicked on a paid ad. Did they leave right away? How much time did they spend on the site? You can then equate that back to cost. This is a great advance for both e-commerce advertisers and service-based clients.
Amazon and Google Converge
Like owners and their dogs, Google and Amazon are looking more and more alike these days. Amazon now offers an advertising platform  similar to Google’s, with options like product ads and tailored local promotions.
At the same time, Google’s Merchant Center offering, which competes with Amazon, is getting better. And now Google is trying to move into the next-day or same-day shipping space, with the launch of Google Shopping Express , which will be cheaper than Amazon Prime by $10 to $15 and offer same-day delivery from stores like Target, Walmart, and Safeway.
Both companies have been historically good at one thing (remember when Amazon was a bookstore and Google was just a search engine?), and are now creeping into each other’s spaces.
CRM/Paid Search Integration Support
As we move into 2013, I’m seeing more and more people integrating AdWords with Salesforce/Marketo/Magento or their CRM platform of choice. It’s getting easier to add tracking codes so that lead gen clients can track from click to lead to close.
Firms like Boomi  offer software solutions that make this kind of integration smoother and easier. Expect to see more of this type of support in the next year.
What other trends are you keeping an eye out for in PPC and search marketing?