The 10 Biggest PPC Stories of ’21 (& What to Do in ’22)

Then, in September, just as the dust was beginning to settle, Google announced more changes to keyword matching behavior that stirred the pot again. In short, exact match logic will now be used for all match types, and if you have multiple eligible keywords that aren’t identical to the query, Google will look not just at Ad Rank but at relevance, too. That second part had many advertisers, like PPC Chat host Julie Bacchini, quite unsettled. Isn’t that what you’ve been doing all along, Google?
This can be a great solution for accounts that are tight on budget in 2022. However, there will need to be a level of restraint when using this feature since setting your limit too low can also ultimately limit your results.
Now, Facebook and industry experts alike are rushing to find targeting strategy alternatives. Some exciting progress has come of it!

the sunset of our beloved modified broad match in February. Google’s reasoning was that broad match is more effective now, and that modified broad and phrase match often serve the same use case.

The report still does not show low volume terms that don’t meet the privacy threshold, but it now shows impression data for terms that didn’t get clicks, moving forward and prior to September 2020. In exchange, though, Google mentioned that in February of 2022 it will be removing any search terms prior to September 2020 that don’t meet the privacy volume thresholds.
They’re calling this new collaboration the “Shopping Graph,” as it provides shoppers with more information than ever before about the products they’re viewing and where else they can find them.
To put it mildly, that’s how running Google ads felt like in 2021. The platform threw a ton of unexpected changes at us this year—not to mention everything we faced with the Facebook and iOS 14 saga.
Facebook is looking for high-value ads with attractive visuals and compelling copy. You’ll want to avoid what Facebook Ads calls “low-quality attributes,” like too much text in an image, sensationalized language, or click-bait.

What to do in ’22

  • With the loss of modified broad match, I encourage you to pair broad match with audience targeting as a workaround.
  • Multiple match types or not, Google is right on one thing: less is more! Using plurals or slight variations is a personal pet peeve of mine. Downsize your list to just the core terms you need and stop wasting time on the rest!. Only key core terms are necessary in your keyword lists.
  • Keep keywords grouped together in cohesive, thematically consistent ad groups.
  • Above all else, let’s also not forget about negative keywords, as they can be your lifeline if you’re stuck using match types that aren’t the most ideal.

Google is really just slowly peeling off the bandaid here for us.

2. Facebook advertising falls victim to Apple’s iOS 14 update

What to do in ’22

What went down in ’21

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Saying this ruffled advertisers’ feathers is putting it lightly. Many people used modified broad since it acted as a “happy medium” match type. Between the pressures of the pandemic combined with the ever-rising challenges of PPC advertising, many felt these keyword changes from Google were insensitive, unnecessary, and untimely.
If you’re thinking “Isn’t this already a thing?” you probably aren’t paying for Google via credit card. For card payments, this is a new feature!
2021-ppc-stories - data-collection-comic
What went down in ’21
What went down in ’21

8. Facebook goes out for 6 hours

What went down in ’21

10. Facebook reveals its secrets

What went down in ’21

Your 2021 recap & 2022 action plan

While there won’t be a test to go along with today’s lessons, here’s a quick study guide of what we covered to help you prepare for 2022:
As for third-party cookies, you’ve heard this time and time again, but keep finding ways to collect more first-party data and get familiar with new solutions available like enhanced conversions, which we cover in this update roundup.

  1. Google changed keyword match types and behaviors. Keep your keywords cleaned up.
  2. Facebook was impacted by the Apple iOS14 update. Be nimble and adapt with new strategies.
  3. Expanded Text Ads will be a thing of the past. Test your ETAs like crazy and get comfortable with responsive search ads.
  4. Third-party cookies. Stay alert for first-party data targeting solutions in 2022.
  5. Google’s search terms report got a facelift. Start using it more frequently and collect the data you need before February.
  6. Google Marketing Live didn’t live up to the hype. Better luck next year. (But also check out the Insights page!).
  7. Shopify and Google join forces. Use Shopify’s Google channel to capture more leads across your funnel.
  8. Facebook had a six hour long “whoopsie.” Always have a backup plan!
  9. Google Ads monthly spend limits make an appearance. Use it to make budgeting easier.
  10. Facebook puts out an ad ranking tell-all. Stay focused on creating high-quality ads that users want to see and engage with.

With all these updates, a little bit of confidence in automation, a touch of preparation, and a lot of content quality love can go a long way. Use these lessons as a pathway to results that will make your upcoming year the best one yet.

Posted by Contributor