PPC trends to watch out for in 2023

9 min read by Poppy Court 7 Dec 2022

From (finally) saying goodbye to Universal Analytics to rising CPC levels: PPC in 2023 won’t be without its challenges. But with new ad opportunities with Amazon and TikTok, plus AI-infused bidding strategies, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2023.

Poppy Court, Paid Media Manager, takes a forward look at the top 7 PPC trends we can expect in the next twelve months – and provides her top tips for getting your accounts in order.

Well, we’re nearly at the end of another year – and what a year 2022 was! From European unrest and the sad farewell of Her Majesty to the recent rise of a certain politician in the Australian jungle: it’s safe to say that 2022 has been pretty eventful. The same of which can be said for the PPC industry. We’ve had to battle multiple roadblocks over the last 12 months, such as saying goodbye to expanded text ads and getting savvier with how we handle Google’s constant desire to take control of our accounts.

But if you thought 2022 was busy enough, 2023 is set to throw even more turmoil for us PPC’ers.

Here are my top 7 predictions as to what we can expect in the next twelve months – and how you can prepare your accounts in advance:

1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

This has been a topic on the rise across multiple paid platforms in the last few years and this is expected to grow further in the foreseeable future. Google and platforms alike will continue to identify new ways to optimise your campaigns and enrich their bidding strategy capabilities.

But AI won’t just stop with the technicalities of a campaign’s settings. Creative will be the next victim on its hit list as already shown with Meta’s Advantage+ creative feature which allows it to tweak your brand’s creatives based on what it thinks individual users will be most receptive to.

While functionality like this may actually help to improve the performance of your ads it is one to watch out for as the suggested enhancements that it provides could end up going against your brand’s guidelines.

2. Getting used to GA4

Yes, 2023 will be the year that most of us will need to say goodbye to Universal Analytics and get used to GA4.

If you’re yet to move to GA4, it’s one that should be at the top of your priority list to ensure that your account has a healthy amount of viable data in order to optimise activity across all paid platforms going forwards.

The move will also mean that you will need to re-configure your Google Ads conversions if these are currently being imported from your Google Analytics account.

3. More aggressive auto-recommendation tactics

Google’s auto-applied recommendations are one of my biggest bugbears but unfortunately, I believe they will continue to push over the coming months.

This is another way in which Google is trying to take the reins in how it manages activity in the hope that you will spend more money with them. In recent weeks, we have seen some pretty aggressive tactics for getting users to opt-in to automated recommendations such as free ad credits for certain accounts.

Google will say that it’s helping you out with this incentive while we’re pretty adamant it’s a way of making up for its falling share price.

4. Rising CPC levels

Just like everything else at the moment, we are likely to see significant CPC levels rise as inflation rates grow. This is even more reason to make sure your campaigns are watertight for the year ahead.

Make sure that you’re not paying over the odds for keywords that aren’t converting by checking quality scores, serving the best possible ad copy and making sure you’re sending traffic to pages that are fully optimised from a conversion rate perspective.

5. More visual SERPs

We’ve already seen it over the years where search results pages have become more visually appealing for users with things such as Google Business Profile, map packs, Google Shopping and more recently image extensions within search ads. However, I believe over the next twelve months, we’re going to continue seeing this grow.

There have been rumours over the last couple of years that Microsoft Ads were going to start experimenting with videos in search results. While we’re yet to see this come to fruition, I believe that Google is on the cusp of trialling it all in an effort to make ad placements more attractive and continue bumping organic listings down (sorry SEO team!).

6. First-party data reliance

This year we have continued to battle the implications of the demise of website cookies and this will continue to still be a challenge in 2023. If you haven’t managed to get around to it yet, get your customer database in order! This is your most powerful marketing asset – not just within email marketing, but with paid activity as well. Use it not only to re-target previous customers, but also build out lookalikes while you still can. Yes, from May 2023, you will no longer be able to build new similar audiences – and by August 2023, all similar audiences in use will be removed from campaigns and ad groups (cheers Google!).

7. Alternative platform development

My hope for 2023 is that newer ad platforms will introduce more sophisticated targeting techniques to provide a greater breadth of advertising opportunities for businesses.

For TikTok we’re in desperate need of more granular location targeting to help support companies where location is key. It’s starting to happen for some areas, but not to the extent we have available in more established platforms.

It will also be interesting to see where Amazon goes with its advertising efforts in 2023. In recent weeks, it has been announced that it is investing heavily in its in-house advertising software in order to more effectively serve ads – not just on its own Amazon-owned platforms, but third-party sites too.

Plus, let’s not forget that Netflix dived into the advertising world this year. While it is still in its infancy and uptake has been slow, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft develops its platform over the coming year.

The message is – be organised, be prepared, and be agile!

While these are just a few of my PPC predictions for the year ahead, anyone that works in paid media will know that new curveballs can be thrown at us at any moment! For now, all we can do is make sure we work with the data we have, retain as much control as possible and maximise the quality of our accounts to futureproof our activity.

Looking ahead at how you will manage your paid media activity in 2023? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with us today to talk through your paid media strategy with a member of our Paid Media team.

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