Search Engine Marketing Trends in 2020 (Infographic)


While many sectors still believe highly in the relevance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), many is very interested to know just what the future holds for paid search, PPC, paid social and other integral elements of Search Engine Marketing.

2020 is a visionary year particularly for startups and new business. Many are eager to jump right into the digital marketing arena using tried and tested tools and campaigns which include SEM. These businesses should however take into consideration the many changes sweeping the digital marketing field, particularly in the general direction of incorporating the 3V’s – Video, Visuals and Voice – in Search Engine Marketing.

The following is the 2nd part of the Two-Part Overview of SEO and SEM Trends for 2020, with this particular installment focusing on relevant Search Engine Marketing trends that they can harness towards a renewed Digital Marketing optimization effort.

Search Engine Marketing

1) PPC Automation is the Name of the SEM Ballgame

Just like in many sectors of society, automation has always been geared towards making life more efficient and much more convenient, and the same holds through for SEM. The allures of automation in this marketing field, however, goes beyond mere matters of convenience – but to also gain a competitive advantage towards the competition.

Automation in the SEM perspective is geared towards automating many of the more labor-intensive elements associated with PPC advertising. These are geared towards improving and optimizing PPC campaigns to deliver faster and better results using a more cost-effective framework

  • Process automation particularly in the area of PPC advertising is not really new but has grown in popularity in recent years and is expected to go boom this 2020 and will increase in market size by up to 83.2% by the year 2021.
  • PPC automation can be used to set the best bidding strategies, generate better conversions through enhanced CPC, prioritize ads that generate better results, generate data-driven AD copy, perform AD testing, and automatic generation of performance reports.

2) Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) shall optimize SEM Campaigns

 The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across various sectors has grown into a significant element that can generate a huge economic impact, expected to reach figures of up to $15.7 trillion by the year 2030.

In the field of Search Engine Marketing, the use of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Big Data analysis are intended towards optimizing and improving the cost-effectives of SEM campaigns. These include the following aspects:

  • AI will be used to predict the behavior patterns of targeted users as well as in the discovery of new audiences and generate new targeted leads
  • AI and ML in combination with the use of natural language will generate more personalized marketing campaigns
  • PPC automation can be smoother and much more effective with the use of AI and ML particularly in the areas that include optimizing keywords, predict CTRs, analyze bids and make adjustments based on triggers and events

3) Optimizing PPC Campaigns for Voice Search

The last few years saw the rise in the use of voice-activated smart speakers at home or for personal use. As much as 72% of these people who now owns one of these devices are using them on a daily basis. It is expected by the year 2022, up to 55% of homes in the United States will have a smart speaker.

With the use of these smart speakers comes the convenience of using voice assistants and this include making online search queries through voice. This has prompted many digital marketers to start adopting a voice search strategy and optimizing their PPC campaigns for Voice Search.

  • This year, Voice Search is expected to be used in up to 50% of all online searches. This includes consumers who will make use of the voice features in their devices for shopping.
  • Optimizing PPC advertising for Voice Search should take into consideration several factors including a mobile-first strategy, the use of natural or conversational language, and question-oriented search semantics
  • PPC campaigns should also be optimized to make use of specific search terms that people make use of when making a voice search. These include search phrases that begin with: “Alexa”, “Hey Siri”, “Where do I…”, and “Ok Google”
  • The possibility for Paid Voice Search Advertising is still under consideration by major search players like Google and Amazon. One possibility is with the integration of advertisement options in voice-activated devices such as in the case of Amazon Echo and other similar gadgets.


4) Optimizing PPC Campaign for Video Search

The effectiveness of video as a digital marketing tool, compared to purely text-based Ads, has prompted digital marketers to make use of video much more extensively in their SEM campaigns for 2020 and beyond.

5) The Use of Virtual Reality in PPC Advertising

The growing popularity of virtual reality technologies, particularly in the younger Millennials and Gen Z’ers generation, have prompted many businesses to incorporate these technologies into their product mix or in their marketing campaigns.

The use of such technologies is opening new doors for digital marketers, particularly in the possibility of using VR in PPC Advertising and other SEM strategies. These possibilities include:

  • The use of Eye-Tracking Technologies in VR can be used in activating an AD, based on what part of the screen a potential client is gazing or is looking at
  • Interactive video Ads can provide a more immersive advertising experience to online users with the use of VR technologies such as in the case of 360-degree videos. With these technologies, potential customers can interact with the product virtually, enabling them to try them out or look at options, before they can make a purchase.

6) The Evolution of Smart Bidding Comes Full Circle

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are harnessed not only in how SEM advertisements are optimized and generated, it can only optimize and automate the bidding strategies for Google Ads through Smart Bidding.

  • In Smart Bidding, the digital marketer tells Google Ads what their advertising goals are. The Artificial Intelligence will then start churning its machinery to figure out an optimized advertising campaign that will work within your budget while generating the best results
  • The ML-controlled aspects of Smart Bidding multiple options that can help maximize conversion for the advertising campaign. These include Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), Enhanced CPC (Cost Per Click) and Target ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend)
  • Smart Bidding also features certain controls that the digital advertiser can use including campaign level conversions settings, daily budget spend to maximize conversions, and seasonality adjustments

7) Alternative SEM Advertising Platforms Getting a Piece of the Pie

For years, Search Engine Marketers making use of paid advertising campaigns and channels have relied heavily on Google and Facebook as their go-to advertising platform.

There is a growing trend however where online users are moving away from the more established platforms and into a more niche or specialized environment that is more suited for what they preferred or have been looking for.

Naturally, digital marketers should go to where their targeted customers are going, so it would be wise to take into consideration alternative SEM advertising channels available in these platforms. These include but are not limited to:

  • AdRoll – allows digital marketers to harness the power of running Ads on multiple channels through multiple device display Ad campaigns and retargeting
  • Amazon – this platform allows advertisers to market to the more than 197 million people using the site per month through advertisements of products sold within Amazon itself, or online Ads featured on the channel that redirect potential users to an external website or landing page
  • Bing – This search platform provides a viable alternative to Google, offering paid advertising options to market to more than 11.2 billion searches performed each month
  • LinkedIn – With 630 million users, digital marketers targeting B2B customers can have better and highly targeted SEM results by using this platform
  • Quora – make use of contextual targeting to advertise to the more than 300 million monthly active users

The Take Away

Search Engine Marketing has come a long, long way from the text-based PPC advertisements that rely on contextual keyword targeting. The online market has expanded, however, and consumers have now adopted to new technologies and new channels that are opening new doors for digital marketers to take advantage of.

These technologies and trends are revolutionizing the way digital marketers are designing, creating and running their online advertisements, getting higher conversions and better results while minimizing the cost and time consumed.

The Search Engine Marketing Trends featured in this 2nd installment of our SEO and SEM Trends for 2020 present new options that make use of new and innovative options that can be used to generate and execute a better SEM advertising campaign.

This does not mean however that Digital Marketers make use of all that channels and platforms to run their advertisements at. They should test these out first and determine which can give them the best results.

Jomer Gregorio

Jomer B. Gregorio is a well-rounded expert when it comes digital marketing. Jomer is also known as a semantic SEO evangelist and practitioner. Check out our Digital Marketing Services today and let us help you in achieving positive and profitable results for your business.