The PPC Show

4 Predictions for PPC in 2018 [Podcast]

Welcome to the #69 episode of the PPC Show, where we interview the best and brightest in paid search and social media advertising. This week we're kicking off 2018 with our guest Matt Macchia, CEO at AdFury.

In this episode, Matt breaks down the latest PPC trends with a few predictions of what paid marketers should keep an eye on in 2018. Stay tuned as we discuss:

  • Google AdWords creates a lead fen form ad similar to Facebook and LinkedIn
  • AI & NLP used in chatbots
  • Voice search makes an appearance in the search query report or network report
  • Year of Mobile strategy with new ad types

Listen to the Episode

Matt Macchia, CEO at AdFury

AdFury is focused on simplifying the dazzlingly complex world of Pay-Per-Click Marketing. The small business world continues to struggle to compete in an arena where the cards are stacked against them. AdFury is a way to level the playing field and give your business a competitive advantage in your online marketing.

Where we kick ass:

  • Align landing pages with AdWords
  • Easily build complex campaigns
  • Audit account performance

Try AdFury free for 30 days, and then enjoy preview pricing for the remainder of the beta period and for six months after regular pricing begins.

Show Notes and Podcast Transcript

JD Prater:                                Matt, welcome to the show man.

Matt Macchia:                      Hey JD. How yah doing?

JD Prater:                                Doing pretty good. Pretty good. It's January, it's 2018. You're our first guest back from the holiday break. Pretty excited to be talking about some trends that we should all be thinking about for 2018. Before we do, you got to tell us all who is Matt Macchia, what you got going on as we ... It's been a little bit since we've talked.

Matt Macchia:                      Absolutely. My name is Matt Macchia. I'm the CEO and founder of AdFury. We're an AdWords automation platform focused on landing pages and structure, as well as, optimizations for ad-based campaigns.

I'll say, JD, thank you for inviting me here. I'm excited to do this today.

JD Prater:                                Yeah. Definitely. Matt and I met back in Denver. It's funny because Matt used to live out here in the Bay. Then we were both in Denver. Then I moved out here. We just switched roles there.

Matt Macchia:                      Absolutely. I actually am born and bred and in the Bay area. That's my home.

JD Prater:                                There's just not too many people out here that can say that.

Matt Macchia:                      I actually grew up in Silicon Valley and it's just so expensive now. It's just a different world.

JD Prater:                                Oh man, yeah. I can't even go down there. All right.

Well, let's jump into it. Let's have some fun with some 2018 trends. Matt's got a few here that he thinks that we should all be paying attention to. Let's start with the very first one. You were talking to me about some Lead Gen Forms. What are you thinking?

Matt Macchia:                      Facebook and LinkedIn have launched their version of Lead Gen Forms. It's very, frankly, kind of obvious. For both of them, they're both really good at Lead Gen platforms. They wanted to make it easier for generating leads and so they created their own Lead Gen Forms. It kind of saves a lot of folks from having to even have their own website, where you can just basically generate that lead on your own.

I think it's a really interesting play because there really is no bigger player on lead gen than AdWords, right? It's really the king of the hill and they don't offer this functionality. I'm kind of curious to see what's going to happen within the next year and if AdWords is going to respond in time. I really think they will because it's kind of a no-brainer.

What do you think JD?

JD Prater:                                I really like that one. I haven't really thought about AdWords offering a lead gen form. This is one that I thought, oh man, that one's actually pretty clever. It would be an ad unit that they don't have. It does make sense.

My question back to you is, so within AdWords, do you see this being on just mobile? Maybe like how LinkedIn does it or do you think it might be mobile and desktop, kind of how Facebook has it?

Matt Macchia:                      I would imagine that they would do it both because there really isn't a reason not to. It's like anything that Google can do to increase ad revenue is really what they're most concerned about. To have the best experience for the consumers. Frankly, anytime someone's leaving AdWords to go somewhere else, they leave Google, they click on a link and they go to somebody's website, the quality is obviously across the board. Anything they can do to mitigate that, I think benefits them.

I really foresee them doing this, really exploring that idea. They've been losing a lot of market share around B2B specifically because it's just so difficult to do in AdWords. I think that they'll probably look for anything they can do to improve that. I think that this is one of those no-brainers.

JD Prater:                                Yeah. I think to that too, I was reading one of these VCs, as you kind of do here out in the Valley, he had some predictions. He was actually saying he likes to just do these outrageous predictions, but he thinks that Google may buy Salesforce.

Matt Macchia:                      What?

JD Prater:                                Yeah. That's how big of a prediction it was.

Matt Macchia:                      Wow. Really?

JD Prater:                                You know, if that happens, now think about that. Being able to take an ad right into Salesforce with a lead gen form. That would be pretty amazing.

Matt Macchia:                      It would be. Although a little scary, right? How much information does Google really need? Do they need the entire customer journey. That's what they would be getting with Salesforce. Not only the click information, what the person's been doing, but then follow up and sales information, and everything about them. That's really scary. That's a loss of privacy.

I also think that would be an interesting antitrust issue.

JD Prater:                                I know.

Matt Macchia:                      Huge. Yeah, I had not heard that. That is a very interesting prediction.

JD Prater:                                I thought it was an interesting prediction. Then you were kind of talking about Google and lead gen forms. I was like, I could totally see the lead gen form. I could potentially see them buying a CRM or creating a CRM or something like that. We'll see what happens.

I think one of the things too within these trends that I really like is, you were kind of talking about not having to go to your website. I think one of the things that I really like about these lead gen forms and what I think we'll see, maybe some adoption as you were talking about, just not having to leave that native experience.

Matt Macchia:                      Absolutely.

JD Prater:                                I think it's a much better user experience. Hands down. Not having to ... I mean we've all been there. You're on your mobile phone, you're on Facebook or LinkedIn and you push to go to the website and you're just waiting. Why do I want to wait five seconds, 10 seconds and then go to a form that I have to then go fill out.

Matt Macchia:                      It drives you crazy when it's some old school website too. You're going to an auto shop and they haven't updated their sites since 1999. It's just some horrific giant horrible mess.

That brings us to some of the other predictions about 2018. I think that there's always this idea of a focus on mobile. It's like we were just talking earlier and it's the eighth year something that's out. You're mobile right? I think that this is going to be a trend that we see a lot.

Right now, Google has a big focus on AMP. I know that you know what AMP is, but for the audience it's a way to be able to structure your landing pages to be able to be more mobile friendly, really is the idea behind AMP. It actually stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google has a focus on this. They're doing a lot to try to improve quality score for landing pages and really trying to address this.

What I see happening in the future with AdWords is that they'll start offering some sort of landing page out of the box. That would be my prediction. That may not be for 2018, it might be for 2019 or 2020. I absolutely can see them going down that path where they want to keep people as close as they can to their own environment. It's just something that Google has been doing for a long time. Even to the point of showing them a better version of your landing page.

If you see them, they often time will use great landing pages to show what's there a head of time. You see that a lot when you do a search. You'll do a search for anything, and they'll just give you a summary before you even get to an organic result. I can see them doing that for landing pages. Saying, here's the summary of what it is and then here's the action that you're taking.

JD Prater:                                Nice. Yeah, I think that one's gonna be really interesting. I think for the year mobile, kind of for me too, it's also we were talking around the customer journey. What stage is this person in and how much are you willing to pay for a mobile click? I know that different platforms cost different prices. We know that when you're using specifically these social media platforms, you're probably on your phone and how much are you willing to pay.

I think anytime that they can mitigate and help me reduce that friction and maybe even lower that cost, I'm more than happy to pay for that mobile click. I have to realize they're probably in the education mode or they're wanting to learn more about my product, but that are probably not ready to convert.

Matt Macchia:                      Well, I also think it helps people from shooting themselves in the foot. A lot of businesses want to have a form that is just ridiculously long. With all sorts of information that's great. I'm sure it helps qualify that lead a little better. The problem is you're having a drop-off at conversion.

If you can really make people think about what's important and then really generate that lead and then try to further refine it. That's after they get into the funnel. That's the key. I think that will be a huge benefit. It obviously benefits AdWords and Facebook and LinkedIn to be able to generate those leads to begin with. It'll be interesting.

JD Prater:                                Yeah. Let's combine one and two. Let's talk about chatbots. Now you can basically have these chatbots ask questions that are like a lead gen form. People feel like it's this mobile messenger type of an experience. Where do you see that going in 2018?

Matt Macchia:                      Well, I think that we're gonna see a proliferation of chatbots. I think that they're super fun, they're entertaining. The reality is they're still forms. You're still filling out this information, it doesn't change. You're still having to input data. At least it's a little more interactive. There's a few benefits of that. It obviously makes it easier language-wise. It's easy to change it out so it's gonna speak a different language.

I also see a lot of companies ... Only the big companies are gonna be able to really engage with chatbots a whole lot because it's expensive. The ability to build that kind of functionality becomes difficult. I do see a lot more chatbots coming for both interaction, like for applications in general. You guys have your thing for Slack App where you can type in and interact with it. That is ridiculously cool.

JD Prater:                                Thanks.

Matt Macchia:                      I see that really starting to takeoff in 2018. Basically, Slack is gonna become this huge way to engage with applications. In terms of SEM, where I see it really is a little bit on the forms and mostly for onboarding; huge amount for onboarding customers into applications besides products. What do you think?

JD Prater:                                Yeah, I think that's pretty cool. We've been experimenting with a chatbot now for just over about six months now. It's been eyeopening. The types of questions people ask or the things that people think we can do. You're like, man, I have never run an ad that said that. Or I have never written a blog that says that we do this, but that's just what happens.

Matt Macchia:                      Do you have an example?

JD Prater:                                Let me see. I think one of the ones that I thought was really funny, just came in from this last week. I'm trying to ... Oh wait, hold on. Speaking of Slack, we have our chatbot connected to Slack so I can actually check out all of the-

Matt Macchia:                      All the

JD Prater:                                All the queries in Slack. That's how I figure out a lot of our conversion testing, is with questions that people are asking. It's kind of cool. I think some of the bigger ones are the ones that we get the most, are really around these features that are so small. You're like, if you don't have this, we can't use you. You're like, what? That doesn't even make sense.

Okay, let's see here. Let me scroll through one. Here we go. Maybe this is a good one without giving it away too much. Yeah, here we go. "I need to find the top performing Facebook ads for dentists. Can you guys help us with this?"

Matt Macchia:                      Wow. Well, but that's interesting because what they're really saying is, they're trying to sort their information. It's like if we could sort top campaigns by dentist or sort ad units. That's interesting. It becomes very clear for reporting. That's really kind of cool. That brings us to our next topic, which is AI. Really, what's going to happen with artificial intelligence over the next year. This is really, really huge.

For example, the natural language processing, which is the component of understanding what people are entering when they're typing into chatbots or whatever. That becomes really, really ridiculously useful. At AdFury, where we're building some tools to be able to start looking at people's keywords and really identify the components within those keywords, and then helping create new ad groups based on that. Not only to find new key word structures that you'd want to be able to identify, here's my new keyword that I can start exploiting, but then how to break up a big ad group into smaller, more functional ad groups that are more coherent and more relevant. It becomes ridiculously useful to be able to identify location. It becomes ridiculously useful to be able to identify categories. It's really fascinating stuff.

I see for natural language processing, within AdWords specifically, will become huge. I see that there will be a proliferation of scripts that start focusing on it. Now, there's no tool to be able to generate scripts that can utilize it. I'm curious to see that happen for it. I really think that will be the next big change. Then artificial intelligence around bid strategies, around actual ad copy, it's gonna get super interesting. What do you think?

JD Prater:                                I think for the natural language processing, and I think we see Google Analytics already trying this. You can now query. You can say, "What was my balance rate for the last 30 days?" That's that natural language thing where it's taking that information and trying to decipher what you're wanting and getting you to that point. It's the same thing that we're using in our Slack bot. Whenever you say, "What was my ad spend for the last 30 days?" Or "What was my CTR for Facebook?" It's parsing and figuring it out. The more you put it in, the more it learns. I think we'll see Google implement this more without their products.

The Analytics one is still not quite there yet. Every time I type in a query it's like, "We don't understand." I'm like well then why? Come on. Make it understand. I see that getting more popular. Then I think you're right with AI 100%. I think AI, in a subtopic of machine learning, I think they're definitely different, but I think we'll definitely start to see this more and more to where you don't really need to do this manual bidding anymore. You can allow Google, if you will ... We already trust Facebook to do all of our bidding. Budget optimization, I think that'll carry over into AdWords maybe a little bit.

Matt Macchia:                      I don't know. It's interesting. I find that PPC managers are a very wary lot.

JD Prater:                                They are.

Matt Macchia:                      They are, aren't they? They do not trust AdWords bidding for them, but they'll trust Acquisio or some other company doing their automated bidding.

JD Prater:                                I know.

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah, it's very funny. It's very interesting.

JD Prater:                                They'll pay $20,000 a month for Acquisio or Kenshoo or Marin.

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah exactly. It's very interesting. When Google has all the data, and it's in their best interest to try to do a good job. It still is an interesting place that there will be benefits to it. Bid strategies are ridiculously hard to implement.

JD Prater:                                Right.

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah. In my last business, we did it for a year and it was a lot of work. Anything we can do to improve that, and artificial intelligence is certainly a way to do it. It'll be super cool with ad copy. When you can have suggested ads, like "Oh, here's an ad." Then AdWords has all this data. I predict, at least within the next two years, that they'll start just writing your ad copy for you, which they can do, but like actually suggesting like, "Here is an ad that we think you should run based on experience. We've seen this worked in the past."

JD Prater:                                Yeah. They have that right now, right? I'm getting the notification, your suggested ads are gonna be put in. Google is writing those ads, but they're not necessarily predicting that they're gonna be better. That's what I ultimately want out of the AI. It's fantastic, you've figured out what we do, you looked at our other ads, you looked at our homepage maybe. I want you to tell me it's gonna be better.

We had a hack-a-thon here. We actually had a guy, he wrote out in machine learning and basically he analyzed thousands upon thousands because you have to have so much data and information. He could actually predict and write ads for you. I was like, we should release this. This needs to be an AdStage product. This is so cool.

Matt Macchia:                      That is ridiculously cool.

JD Prater:                                You need a lot of information. A lot of information for that algorithm to learn.

Matt Macchia:                      They're looking at everybody's ads. All they have to do is look at what's a similar business. All of your competitive keywords and what is the ad cop y. Of course, then people will get upset.

JD Prater:                                Yeah. That's the part where it gets a little bit trickier. It's like, well which one do you serve up? Do you serve Matt's or you serve JD's? We're both paying and we're both bidding on the same keyword, but if you're writing.

I think ultimately we're gonna see within the AI and machine learning of just making our jobs easier and really automating the stuff that we don't really need to be doing and focusing a lot of our time on. I think that's what they'll start with the low hanging fruit, and then get up comfortable with it, and then maybe go after more.

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah. It'll start to get interesting. Then also, what I would love to start seeing from AdWords, but the same idea is for them to start using machine learning to understand user lists; really start building out an audience for you. That would be ridiculously cool. We've identified these three different segments of people that you really want to focus on. That would be cool.

JD Prater:                                Every time I use their audiences that they create, they're similar audiences, they're just garbage. They're just not great, where Facebook's lookalike audiences are spot on.

Matt Macchia:                      Absolutely, right?

JD Prater:                                Oh man.

Matt Macchia:                      I completely agree with you. Completely agree with you. Also, being able to identify folks with different intent at different parts of your funnel. That's where I think machine learning can start to get really interesting too. Obviously based on query, we'll be able to know where they are within the funnel.

If we're able to take data from analytics and we know that, that person has been through our website. They came in once a week ago and then they came in now; they came in from a Facebook ad like a month ago and now they're poking around and looking ... The intent becomes very clear that they're actually there to make a purchase. That will be getting interesting. I bet you that Google will much better.

JD Prater:                                Yeah, I remember when they launched ... What was it? Smartlist, what did they call that? Smartlist, like a thing Google Analytics ... I remember having some success. Again, I think I needed a high volume amount of people coming to the website in order for those to really pick up. I had trouble with those scaling because it seemed like they really picked off ... Kind of like with the lookalike. It starts off super hot and you basically pick off all of the people that are most likely to convert for a cheaper cost. Then as you move forward it gets more expensive and you're like, "Well, I can't scale this." I want to go back to that $15 CPA.

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah, right.

JD Prater:                                I don't want to pay $30 now.

Matt Macchia:                      It gets expensive. It's the name of the game.

JD Prater:                                It's true, it's true. All right. We got one more for you. Voice search. This one's been teased out, right? We've heard a lot about voice search. Where do you see it going for 2018? What's something that markets and advertisers can take advantage of?

Matt Macchia:                      Well, I really think that the key takeaway for voice search is that people will be searching differently than they would just by typing. You're gonna get a lot of different kinds of queries. You're gonna get a lot longer-tail keywords and chatty phrases. Things like, "Where can I, insert the blank," and, "I need, insert the blank," and "When is," those kinds of things. I absolutely see all of those becoming really important to add to your campaigns moving forward as you work.

I think that Google might actually encompass them later on and start just removing those and still triggering those keywords. Currently, I think that you needn't take it into account when you're building your campaigns. You need to think about adding these as keywords that are going to produce queries.

JD Prater:                                Yeah. I think it would be nice if ... I know that we can somewhat tell by looking at the query, but it'd be nice if they broke it out for us too. To say, this actually came from a voice search or this came from a Google Home. I don't know somehow, whether that's a placement or it's a device, how they separate that out. I think for us to optimize for that, it would be really nice to know where it came from in order to optimize towards.

Matt Macchia:                      Yes. That's an interesting idea. For certain, I bet you that Google has that information when they're coming from an Android device, but I'm not sure if they would have that information all the time. That's the real question is, do they know. It's gonna be really interesting though to see what comes into search query reports over the next year based on voice. They'll be certain times where it's obvious, this person is talking into the phone. Especially when it's weird omniscient stuff in the background that gets picked up.

It'll become ridiculously important to start focusing on voice search. I don't think it's quite there yet where we need to break it out. You don't have to break into a different campaign, but certainly being conscious of how people will search by voice for whatever it is your product or service is, is something that needs to be really kept at the forefront.

What do you think? Is there any other tips that you have for voice search?

JD Prater:                                I think one of the things, is kind of what you're saying, what is the device that the people are searching on. I think that would be cool. Again, it's a voice search and you tie it back into what you were talking about with those lead gen forms. If Google knew that you were searching on your OK Google, if I'm looking for a plumber ... I see a huge for local search and really concentrated, "I have a need and so I need the answer now." Imagine, Google serves up your plumber results. You know that they're just gonna squash organic, but they're gonna hopefully, "Here's an ad from Joe the Plumber. Do you want to fill out the lead form?" Or whatever it is. Or do you want him to contact you?

Matt Macchia:                      That becomes an interest use-case for the chatbot as well. Where if you can have an interactive ad that basically starts querying you right away, it's like, "Oh, this is Joe the Plumber. What's your name?"

JD Prater:                                That'd be cool.

Matt Macchia:                      Or you don't even need to because they already know your name, right? It's like, "How can I help you?" It's just an immediate. That becomes a really, really great experience for the consumer. It's valuable. That's really interesting. I actually hadn't even thought about that until we just been talking.

JD Prater:                                Yeah, same here. Or even being able to call or connect. "Do you want us to connect you with Joe the Plumber?" It calls a ... You have your Google AdWords number or whatever that you're tracking and you get a phone call immediately. I think that could be huge for Google search. I think most of the questions ... I don't do a lot of voice search. I'm still old school where I go in and I query.

Matt Macchia:                      Old man.

JD Prater:                                I know. Whenever I do use voice search or I see friends using voice search, it really is for some obscure facts usually.

Matt Macchia:                      Always.

JD Prater:                                You know?

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah. Who won the Oscars in 1978?

JD Prater:                                Exactly. Right. It's something like that or either something like, "I have a need right now." Well, cool.

Matt Macchia:                      I end up doing that too. I always look for stupid taxidermy photos with my phone.

JD Prater:                                Got yah.

Matt Macchia:                      I do see that voice will become really, really important over 2018. It will start to get ... When we start to see the lines blurred with chatbots as well, it's gonna get super cool. God, I love this stuff.

JD Prater:                                Yeah, it's good stuff. It's gonna be good. I'm ready for 2018.

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah, me too. It's gonna be fun man.

JD Prater:                                All right. Well, predictions and trends for 2018, they've all been summarized right here, right now. Matt remind everyone again where they can follow up with you or they can reach out to you based off of this podcast episode.

Matt Macchia:                      Yeah, so everybody you can find me at AdFury is an AdWords automation platform. We're focused on landing pages and campaign structure and optimizations. Pretty great tool, come and check us out. JD, I want to thank you for having me on today. I really appreciate it.

JD Prater:                                All right. We'll see you later.

Matt Macchia:                      Bye.

JD Prater:                                Bye.


AdStage Team