A new year is beginning, and that means that now is the best time to review pay-per-click (PPC) best practices and implement new ideas into your program. Looking to the future of PPC, 2019 will bring on some very important trends that will help define the space.

Audience targeting

Google has made it easier for marketers to target users beyond keywords, device type, and location. Marketers who harness audience data and optimize based on segmented audience types and lists will lead the market and have a huge advantage over their competition.

Marketers who haven’t already should research familiarize themselves with the various audience types in Google Ads, Bing Ads, DoubleClick, and other platforms that they can target (with positive and negative bid types). Start testing bidding on audiences that are “Non-customers” or target an in-market audience that is visiting sites that align with your vertical.


Most businesses still rely on last-click data to attribute credit across their various marketing campaigns, but the most sophisticated ones create and optimize their marketing efforts with the whole marketing funnel in mind – knowing that most customers need multiple touch points before making a buying decision.

No single attribution model is the perfect solution for every business–the onus is on us to ascertain what makes sense for our individual businesses. Marketers can access KPIs like view-through conversions or test using the new “Data-driven” conversion option built into Google Ads to gain additional perspective on conversion performance.

Furthermore, taking advantage of “Multi-Channel Funnels” and the “Attribution” tool within Google Analytics is a great place to start. For the businesses that operate at large scale, they really need to be viewing their campaigns through the lens of a commercial attribution tool (both Adobe and Conversion Logic provide great solutions).


Video is pulling some serious weight in the digital space. According to Blue Corona:

  • More than 50% of videos are watched on mobile
  • Consumers now spend more than five hours a day on their smartphones, and a recent AdWeek survey found 88% growth year over year in time spent watching videos on a smartphone.

This is important since most social media traffic is made up of mobile devices and the most sophisticated marketing strategies utilize a paid social media facet.

Video will dominate content marketing in 2019 and beyond.

Businesses of all sizes need to be producing video content to maintain an engaged audience–especially those that are B2C. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and of course YouTube all empower advertisers to employ video content. Many businesses don’t have the budget for large, professionally produced video content, but that’s okay.

There are many low-cost, effective tools available (Lumen5 is one option) that enable non-video producers the ability to quickly and easily create engaging videos complete with overlays, music, and graphics that can easily be distributed online.

Brand protection

Businesses have always needed to protect their brand online. However, with the rise of competitor bidding across the PPC landscape that need has never been greater.

Businesses that closely monitor how their trademark is being used in the search engine result pages (SERPs) and take action when needed may enjoy lower CPCs, a more focused message to their customers, and a truer representation in the marketplace.

I’m a big believer that successful marketers protect their brand at all costs. When it comes to SEM, typically brand keywords enjoy the lowest CPC, the best quality scores, and the lowest CPA (or best performing ROI). Brand keywords represent the low hanging fruit when it comes to digital acquisition – they represent customers who are actively searching for you in a crowd of many.

Hopefully, you are putting a lot of effort in building brand awareness and brand affinity, it’s something you can’t afford to neglect. It’s common for competitors to bid on other brand’s branded keywords.

However, when competitors infringe on your trademark and use it within the headline or ad copy of their ads it’s paramount that you are aware and act by reporting violations to the search engines. Each major search engine has a trademark complaint form that can be submitted.

Sometimes violators pose as being the company they are bidding on when in fact they are a bastion for search arbitrage, or they are a competitor misrepresenting the value of what you have to offer.


In 2019, let’s ensure we are the ones to make the first impression (or second and third) when it comes to conveying our message of benefits and value to our customers.

For more on how to integrate your advertising efforts across multiple channels such as email marketing and display, check out our What is Multichannel Marketing? How Display Advertising Supports Your Email Program blog post.

Dustin oversees and manages strategy for all of SendGrid's SEM marketing campaigns, and governs SendGrid's brand recognition and brand protection efforts. Dustin has over 14 years of experience in direct response marketing and managing large brands online with six and seven figure monthly spends. Dustin specializes in managing large, complex PPC search and display campaigns to optimize brand recognition, revenue, and retention.