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PPC Trends in 2021

As we move into 2021, one thing is becoming even more abundantly clear: Digital is King. As we transition from one crazy year into another seemingly crazy year, being able to access brands online has never been more important which means that online competition is at an all time high. With that in mind we thought it a good idea to put forward our predictions on where Google will move to in 2021.


As anyone who has been using Google Ads over the last couple of years knows, Google has made strides into automation. In 2021, we are likely to see an even larger jump toward automation, making running campaigns less time-consuming and more effective.

However, the role of the expert will be just as important. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are by no means perfect, and contextual decisions will often be missed. This is where marketers will step in and prove their value.

We have noticed in our campaigns that Google’s suggestions, while often brand relevant, are usually not campaign relevant. Knowing to understand how, where and when to implement Google suggestions will become a key role in an advertiser’s daily job. 

User Intent

Consistency within campaigns has always been important to Google. Having similarly performing keywords within an ad group means that campaigns as a whole will perform better. This did mean that campaigns could get messy and over-complicated with an unhealthy reliance on single keywords ad groups (Or SKAGs). These were hard to manage, hard to optimise, and generally considered a waste of time. With recent updates such as close match variants, updates to match types, etc., running SKAGs has become unnecessary and detrimental. 

Instead, focusing on User Intent has become the priority. By grouping keywords into indicator types: Commercial Intent, Awareness Intent, etc, we can improve ad quality. Knowing exactly what type of action is likely to be completed means we can precisely tailor our ad and campaigns.

For example, if we are running direct response campaigns, we know that “product specification” search queries are unlikely to end with a conversion. We can, therefore, negatively target this and ensure we are not wasting clicks. However, if we want to increase consideration, then we may lead them to product information. By tailoring campaigns in this way we know that the click-through rates and conversion rates may be lower, but they are performing their specific duty.

While this can take a long time to set up initially once it has been set up, not only should it provide better results, but optimisations will become far more effective. 

Reduce Waste

As we previously discussed in How to optimise your Google Ads account on a tight budget, an increase in digital competition will increase the number of smaller budget campaigns. This means campaigns need to be ultra-focused to cut through the traffic and get the performance a brand needs. 

One easy way to do this is to reduce waste. This includes removing campaigns that don’t focus on brand goals, reducing the volume of keywords, and keeping an eye on search queries.

It is important to remember that all marketing goals should be SMART. Knowing how and what counts as a goal achievement will focus campaigns and decide what is waste, far more efficient and effective.  

Alongside reducing wasted spend, you will want to really push towards what is doing well. This can be high valued demographics, keywords, search terms, ad schedules, or Google audiences. Despite Google’s transition towards more automation their platform is still highly customizable. Understanding what is affecting a campaign will be the difference between an ok campaign and a brilliant one. 


As we have previously mentioned the digital landscape has never been more competitive and Google is taking more control of how our campaigns are running. The difference between ineffective and effective campaigns is becoming increasingly difficult to generalise. However, one thing that is becoming clear is that the content you are pushing out as a brand is becoming even more important. 

How you are presenting yourself to your customer is the main way that a customer will differentiate brands. On average a user is exposed to over 6000 ads a day. How many of them do you remember? 

Off the bat, you will not necessarily know what a user will respond to, which is why A/B testing creative is vital. At Ecrubox, we recommend running, at a minimum, three versions of a creative, whether this be a text, display or social. Knowing which version of a creative does best will help optimise the current campaign and help guide content creation. 


As Google becomes more automated and advertisers feel they have less control, one possible course of action will be to diversify. By that we mean reach out and test new products. For example, Amazon has become the 3rd biggest advertiser after Google and Facebook, and we expect the gap to decrease moving into 2021. 

Bing is another advertiser who has seen a big jump in advertising over the last year and one we expect to see grow further in 2021. As of September 2020 Bing had over a 10% market share of all searches performed. While this is considerably less than the 70% Google has, it is growing and ignoring it completely could be detrimental. 

Similarly, diversifying by using alternate media partners who can put ads in more focused and premium inventory will also likely see an increase. Standard display ads may not cut through the static like the dynamic ads available through premium media partners, so incorporating additional partners could be what distinguishes one brand from the others. 

Interested in finding out how we can help you increase your results with PPC? Contact us today.