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What To Look Forward To For SEM in 2017


What To Look Forward To For SEM in 2017

A new year means new trends and more learning opportunities to increase your business’s reach and effectiveness.  Let's be honest, 2016 was not a slow year in terms of PPC and SEM.  Some shattering changes took place that forced marketers to reconfigure strategies.  Remember Right-Side Text Ads on Google?  Poof!  Gone in a flash.  Time to usher in Expanded Text Ads.  And that was just the beginning!  We also were treated to YouTube 6 Sec Bumpers as a way to better serve the mobile platform.  We also saw many changes and introductions to Bing Ads, Facebook and other social media platforms.  It was an exciting year.  What does this mean for 2017?  What new trends can we expect to see develop over the next several months that will force us to reconsider copy and strategies?  I for one feel that AI and voice search will become much more prominent and will begin to command small amounts of your spend campaigns.  Looking further into the future I believe AI and voice search will grow and soon command a lion’s share of your monthly budget  Let’s take a look at some additional trends we may see as 2017 continues.

In a recent interview with Search Engine Journal friend and user of NinjaCat, Jeffrey Baum, Director of Services, Hanapin Marketing, is quoted saying, “Engaging with customers’ days, weeks, and even months before they’re ready to convert is going to be the new norm.” This leads many experts, including the team here at NinjaCat, to suggest that the sales funnel is going to become even more important in terms of support via paid opportunities like Facebook and AdWords, etc.  Supporting all aspects of your business sales funnel is more a matter of communicating an air of trust.  Conversion is very important but consider the importance of the very top as well.  Adding support throughout a consumers entire experience will help solidify positive sentiment and trust.  This should also be paired with paid support across multiple channels and social assets and further supported by organic means.

Another noteworthy strategy to consider in 2017 would be full optimization of the space offered by Google AdWords to help push your ads to the top and stay in good standing with consideration to the many changes Google makes to the SERPs.  SEM experts will need to take full advantage of character limits and extensions to help their ads monopolize the available space.

Now let’s circle back to one of my earlier predictions, AI and Voice search.  “The rise of the machines” is all too real, AI and voice related functions are getting better with every “OK Google”  In fact Siri told me that Alexa was talking to Google and not only do they know what I want to do this weekend but they have already bought the tickets for me to Disney on Ice.


Being that voice activated devices such as phones and home assistants are becoming commonplace you should expect the technology to go through leaps and bounces in the next 3-5 years.  The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) concluded that about 37 percent of global marketing specialists believe AI and big data will be the technologies expected to have the deepest impact on marketing agencies and companies by the year 2020.  We have already seen the arrival of Facebook Bots and even AdWords messaging and there is no sign of this slowing down.  Even other non-ad related businesses are moving towards AI. (LYFT).  

The marketing world is always changing and it is our job as marketing experts to stay up-to-date with these changes.  AI IS the future of search, the good news is that it will come in steps, and that allows us to have and take time to develop proper marketing strategies.  Companies who fall behind in the times will fall behind in search.  Remember when it was a ‘thing’ to fight against Facebook and online e-commerce?

Scott Guttenberger - Director of Marketing at NinjaCat

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