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5 SEM Predictions For 2019

5 MINUTE READ | January 4, 2019

5 SEM Predictions For 2019

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Blake Lucas

Blake Lucas has written this article. More details coming soon.

2018 was a year of remarkable change for the SEM landscape. GDPR rocked EMEA strategies and practices, Responsive Search Ads more than doubled the amount of content that you could be put into a single ad, Bing launched LinkedIn targeting capabilities, AdWords became Google Ads, and SO much more. But more than anything else, 2018 seemed to be a transition year, a staging period for the undeniably massive amounts of change that 2019 will bring.

We bounced around a few of our favorite 2019 prediction articles and combined with the insights from some of the brains here at PMG, we landed on these predictions that we found especially prudent for the coming year.

This nickname for the Amazon jungle could likely also be used as a goal for the Bezos-founded company — make Amazon essential to every aspect of life (including search marketing).

Maybe Amazon’s marketing growth has been so “under-the-radar” (if anything Amazon does can be described as such) because they still report on marketing earnings in the ultra-ambiguous “Other” category of their reports, but regardless, the cat’s out of the bag — Amazon is in the SEM game.

Amazon is the third-largest digital ad seller in the US (fun fact: it only takes a 4% market share to achieve this thanks to the Google and Facebook dominated field) and analysts say that Amazon’s advertising business will more than triple over the next couple of years. Agencies across the globe are beefing up their Amazon advertising practices through new training and the acquisition of other smaller, heavily-Amazon-focused agencies.

The company has proven itself to be sneaky-good at eliminating the search engine portion of millions of people’s online shopping routines and this growth — along with the inevitable counter-strategy of Google — may just shape the entirety of 2019 for search engine marketers.

The robots are coming and they only want one thing — to make your job easier!

Gone are the days of worrying about the army of evil, Will Smith-detested robots coming to ruin your life and steal your job. Successful marketers will look (and already have been looking) for the best ways to leverage all of the new automation from both Google and third-parties to attain the perfect fit for each unique client. With the tedious tasks taken care of, even the most reporting-weary intern may very well see their days cleared up, with more time to devote to strategy, big picture ideas, and figuring out the nuances of the next automation tool (and the next one, and the next one, and the next one…).

For a company built around them, Google is trying very hard to eliminate the keyword in the long-term, and it just might be for the best.

You’ll find that many marketers are not quite on the same page in terms of when the keyword will officially die, but 2019 is a popular response. Regardless of whether they disappear or not, the center of the SEM universe has undoubtedly shifted from keywords alone as audiences have been eyeing the spotlight for some time.

By utilizing the very same machine learning and AI strategies mentioned above, marketers can begin to effectively remove the keyword from their direct day-to-day and focus on using their human touch to effectively match ads to other groups of humans.

The European Union’s GDPR and Apple’s ITP 2.0 threw nearly every advertiser for a loop in 2018, and with privacy concerns from companies like Facebook still fresh in the minds of marketers and consumers alike, there’s no doubt that 2019 will bring more tangible, legal, and impactful privacy protection measures into play, the effects of which will trickle down (quite literally in the same way that a waterfall trickles) to every aspect of ad targeting.

Agencies and tech companies will adapt, that much is certain, but we can expect more tumult than resolution in 2019 (especially since we likely still have a while before Congress is cleared of lawmakers who seem to have the same grasp of Facebook and Google that I have of nuclear physics).

New ways to search for what you’re looking for made some of the biggest leaps in 2018, but could this be the year that typing starts to fade?

Voice search is very much here, this isn’t news to anyone in the industry (or even to those out of the industry: ComScore says that 50% of homes will have voice search assistants by 2020). While many of us have been verbally asking Google about the weather and football scores for some time now, SEM’s role in voice search is still hazy and Amazon seems to lead the pack here (“the pack” being mostly just Amazon and Google) with the “Amazon’s Choice” badge and subsequent Alexa recommendation in a product’s category.

Suggested Reading: Why Voice Matters

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2019 just might see the SEM role develop more directly, so don’t be surprised if you see a “Voice Assistant Bid Adjustment” feature pop up in your Google Ads UI before the next ball drop in Times Square.

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