2021 Paid Search Trends to Keep On Your Radar

2020 was an unpredictable year. It pushed us to think differently how we communicate and interact with one another. Typical marketing trends were thrown out the window! Creative thinking was more important than ever, and adapting quickly was often the key to success. The same can be said for paid search trends.

Campaign managers saw it all – data points changed dramatically, seasonal shifts came at new times, and certain benchmarks no longer applied, to name just a few. What does this mean for paid search trends in 2021? We see a continuing shift away from the keyword and more automation.

Death of the Keyword

You have heard it before. It is discussed every year, and now we are joining the conversation. So, are keywords dead? The answer is still the same: not yet. Keywords are not going away anytime soon. However, as Google focuses more on automation and privacy, the effectiveness of keywords will change more than ever this year

2021 Paid Search Trends

Image Source: Google

Google Shopping Takeover

2020 changed the way we think about digital strategies, and this was never more true than for e-commerce. Logistical challenges and low consumer confidence impacted conversion rates across many campaigns. Still, retailers continue to invest in and prioritize high performing ad formats such as Google Shopping. In recent years, Google Shopping ad spend generated close to 80% of retail search ad spend. Even with uncertainty around consumer spending, this keyword-less strategy will continue to be prioritized in the retail space. Spending on traditional, keyword-focused text ads will continue to decline.

Good-Bye Search Terms

In another push to change the use of keywords, Google started limiting the search query data in the Search Terms report. Campaign managers have less visibility into new keyword opportunities and irrelevant cost-driving queries. In fact, Google is removing search terms for close to 30% of account budgets. As Google continues to take control away from campaign managers, there could be cost implications that will deter the use of traditional keyword strategies.

Not So Exact Match

Expansion of close variant matches can be expected to continue. One of our larger volume accounts generated 1,324 unique close variant matches last year. We have also witnessed Google completely change the intent. The exact match keyword ‘rent my garage’ was triggered by a query for ‘garage for rent.’ The user intent is completely changed. What does this mean? Negative keyword management is now more important than ever. But with limited search term data, negative keyword sweeps are now more complicated than before.

2021 Paid Search Trends

Image Source: Practical Ecommerce

Why, Google, Why?

In this New Year, we can expect the effectiveness of the keyword to change more than ever, as Google continues to change campaign managers’ control over their accounts. We can expect less data, which is hard to write since that is the foundation of any paid search campaign. But why?

First is privacy. A lot of the changes we discussed are moves to protect user privacy. As third party cookie restrictions increase, it will be more important than ever to evolve how we use data strategies.

Next is automation. The eroding value of the keyword is a result of Google’s push for automation and Smart technology. We can expect even more automation in 2021. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google moves to Smart Shopping only this year, and there is not much we can do about it.

Planning ahead and increasing the use of automation could result in stability and cost savings. Last year was unpredictable and as digital marketers we are expected to continuously evolve. Understanding the changing landscape of paid search ensures we are set up for success.

5 Tips on How to Create a Profitable Google Ads Campaign

Google Ads is a great tool to have in your marketing toolbox if you’re looking for profitability in your business. The tools, techniques, and strategies available allow businesses to grow exponentially in a very short period of time. There’s a reason why companies worldwide collectively spend billions of dollars on Google Ads– if done right, it’s profitable. Here are five tips on how to create a profitable Google Ads campaign.

Understand ROI and ROAS

Having a profitable Google Ads campaign requires you to think mathematically. In a nutshell, it all comes down to how much traffic you generate, how much of that traffic converts, and how much it costs you to make that happen. The name of the game in Google Ads is ROI (Return on Investment) and ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). 

ROI = Revenue-Cost / Cost of Ads

*You must know your profit margins to calculate your true ROI. This means keeping in mind things like associated costs with onboarding new leads or making a sale.

ROAS = Total Revenue / Cost of Ads

It’s important to recognize which model you should use for your campaigns and how they can affect your perception of their performance. If you have associated costs with your marketing, you may want to consider the ROI model.

Calculate Your Break-Even Point

The understanding of ROI and ROAS is crucial in effectively tracking your profitability in Google Ads and can be the difference between good vs. great. Calculating your break-even point gives you an excellent benchmark and goal to aim towards for your Google Ads campaigns. So how do you know what your ROI should be to break even? The answer is fairly simple. Divide your profit margin by one. So for the above example, our break-even point would be calculated by the following formula:

Break-Even Point: 1/.4 = 2.5 or 250%

What this means is that in order to be break-even, you need to make $2.50 on every dollar spent on advertising. Why? It’s because, for every $2.50 in revenue, you’re only generating a dollar (40%). Thus, you net zero dollars.


Verify Search Volume and Gain Keyword Insight

Before you start advertising on Google, it’s essential to research the space you are entering. Take a look at key metrics like how much the historic average CPC has been for your target keywords and much search volume there is. One way to do this is by using Google’s keyword planner. This tool even gives you some more insight into how much you can spend to expect specific results. It also allows you to see how your max CPC bid and conversion rate will affect the performance of your campaigns. Doing this research also will enable you to understand whether your budget is optimal for a profitable campaign or not. Sometimes as little as an extra $5 a day can be the difference between a profitable campaign and one that is not.

Google keyword planner

One thing to note though, Google’s predictions are not always accurate and will not ensure any such performance for your campaigns. It’s merely Google’s best insight based on the data that they have on hand. Use these insights as a general guide and helping hand during your planning. Don’t let it influence too much of your expectations and judgment. It’s best to start slow and a bit cautious while carefully monitoring your data as it comes in instead of relying on the keyword plan’s overview. 


Another resource for Google ads insight is Wordstream’s Google ads benchmarks, which are updated annually. These reports provide information on many industry’s average cost per click, conversion rate, and cost per action.

Image Source:
Wordstream

Utilize Conversion Rate Optimization

Increasing your conversion rate is another key component in how to create a profitable Google Ads campaign. This can include a variety of different things, including your ad copy, having the right CTA’S, and optimizing your landing pages. This aspect of Google Ads is where you should spend considerable time on and continue to improve. It’s also where you can get very creative and utilize A/B testing and data to increase your conversion rates further.

Maximize Extensions To Gain SERP Real Estate and Increase Relevancy

You can also increase your conversion rate in Google Ads by simply aiming to be helpful to the user. This means that you should give them everything they need to solve their issue and provide as much value as possible. 

A way to be more helpful is to maximize your extensions. The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) has four limited spots for text ads at the top of the page. Once you get there, use that space wisely and take advantage of it. You also want your ad to take up as much space on that page as possible. 

Lake One ad extensions

Utilize ad extensions of all types. Here’s a brief overview of what they are and what they’re best used for:

Read more about Google Ads extensions here.


Many businesses struggle with focusing on what they know works for them. Don’t make things too complicated. If you know something has worked well for your business in the past, continue to promote and refine it. If you know that targeting a certain persona leads to a larger order value, then put more advertising dollars towards that persona. Think about what conversion actions are most important and will have the most impact. Working within your budget means that you need to make the most out of it. So treat every last dollar with care, purpose, and a vision.

Interested in learning more about how to create a profitable Google Ads campaign? Talk with one of our experts today.

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